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What Color Is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2017: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard Nelson Bolles
The best-selling job-hunting book in the world. One of the reasons it's still so popular is that author Richard Bolles faithfully revises the English-language edition, often dramatically, each year.
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Researching Jobs
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Now that you've determined your interests and skills, it's time to do some heavy-duty research. (Don't lose sight of the fact that your ability to do efficient, productive research in your quest for employment is the direct result of the skills you gained in your liberal arts degree!) Figure out what job descriptions match your skills and passions. Determine your long-term and short-term career goals. The Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, as well as many other job search books can be quite helpful. Don't forget to look into jobs in the non-profit sector.

To get you started, here's a sampling of the broad scope of positions liberal arts majors often occupy. Note that for some professions, you'll need to get an advanced degree:

Journalist Manager (in retail, food service, hotels, etc.)
Research Assistant Editor
Social Worker Urban Planner
Investment Banker Translator
Entrepreneur Human Resources Hiring Manager
Teacher Technical Writer
Counselor/Therapist Copy Editor
Paralegal Event Planner
Press Secretary Librarian
Actor Political Campaign Manager 
Lay-out Designer Interior Designer
Publisher Detective
Agent Management Consultant

The next step is reconciling your self-assessment and research with the job market. You may not find a perfect match, but with some creativity you should at least be able to find a job that will put you on the right track or help you gain the skills you will need to achieve your long-term goal.

Since you've targeted some potential employers, it's time to market yourself. When you put together your cover letter and resume, tailor them to the company's mission. Think about how the skills you learned in that Shakespeare class apply to your chosen line of work. For example, in journalism, the fact you crafted an excellent academic research paper on animal imagery in Taming of the Shrew translates to an ability to write and report a story. In management consulting, your class presentation about madness in Hamlet translates to upper-level presentation and organization skills.

Also, in marketing yourself to employers, use language appropriate to the field in which the company works. It's important to come across as someone with a vision for your future as well as specific, immediate ambitions. Convey an understanding of the broad goals of the company as well as specific ideas of how you will contribute and better the company. 

Remember that while your first job probably won't match your long-term career goal, it is a stepping stone, the first step on a path toward your dreams.



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