How Do I Prioritize My Job Search?

Boy, this job market is an interesting one. I have every faith that the widely publicized economic recovery will happen, but I’m not completely convinced that it is happening just yet. From a job-searcher perspective small evidences exist, such as a growing number of jobs to apply to. However, an astounding number of these jobs have eternal selection processes and repeatedly delayed closing dates. Moral of the story: just because a job is posted doesn’t make it a real job. It will be a long, slow climb out of this recession, I have no doubt. But I have my hiking boots.

A friend recently asked me what type of jobs I’m most interested in applying for. Now, for reasons listed previously, I probably shouldn’t be too picky. But her question forced me to conceptualize a priorities list, which is always a valuable exercise.

While my specialities are communications related, both the internship I completed earlier this year and my current internship are giving me a new-found confidence in my own ability to excel at any task. I have repeatedly and successfully completed various, large projects related to areas in which I had no prior knowledge or experience. Further, I have done so ahead of schedule every time. This experience has helped me to widen my scope, fully believing that I could be highly successful as a project manager, policy analyst, city manager, or any department decision maker. While I love communications, I am no longer just a communications specialist; I’m a full-fledged, public administration generalist.

With that fresh perspective, knowledge and confidence, this is how I tend to prioritize the limited time I have to devote to the job search:

  1. city government close to home
  2. other government close to home
  3. city government nationwide
  4. other government nationwide
  5. communications-related nonprofit close to home
  6. communications-related nonprofit nationwide
  7. communications-related private close to home
  8. communications-related private nationwide

I’m happy with this list: it reflects a public administration interest, a penchant for staying near my hometown, a willingness to go anywhere in the country if necessary, a recognition of the marketability and usefulness of my communications specialties, and a willingness to work in whatever organization is right for me.

The job market is tough. But I feel better about it now than ever before thanks to an understanding of exactly what I’m looking for and a confidence that when I find it, I can do it.

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.
–Teddy Roosevelt

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