Flexibility is key to creating a successful career in 2011

Recently, I sat in on a panel discussion. The topic was how college graduates should prepare for life after college, especially in this economic climate. Jobs appear to be scarce, and a U.S. national unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is daunting to think about.

As the panel discussion proceeded, one word was repeated continuously: flexibility.
Flexibility is the ability to move with the ebbs and flows of any job market. New graduates will be entering a sea of job applicants who are vying for the same career and job satisfaction. Not everyone graduating with a law degree will find a job as a lawyer; not all dental school graduates will find placements as dentists. So then, what are their options? In this climate, the adage “it’s not where you start; it’s where you finish” rings true.

As the panel came to a close, the panelists rendered this advice to the audience:
Tip #1: If you can stay in college over the next year or two, then do so. It is better to be in school during this employment climate then to be looking for a specialized job.
Tip #2: Any job is better than no job. Take what you can find for now and be flexible. The job you find may not be related to what you are trained for.

Tip #3: If you are offered any job with healthcare benefits, take the offer.
Tip #4: Continue to pursue a job in your specialty while working your current job. Remember to prepare for better times. They will come.

Tip #5: With any job, focus on obtaining transferable skills which you can use later.
On this note, I will close with one of my favorite quotes: “All work which lifts up mankind is honorable and should be done with painstaking excellence.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tammy McIntyre is owner of McIntyre Employment Service, an agency providing individuals and small businesses with career development services. She welcomes reader responses to tammy@mcintyre-employment.com.