DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently graduated from a top college with honors, but I do not have a job for the fall yet. I know this should be an exciting and proud time in my life, yet I cannot overcome the anxiousness and frustration I feel about finding a job. I have sent in applications for many positions, but have had little luck hearing back. I don't understand, as I'm a competitive and qualified applicant. How am I supposed to jumpstart my career when I can barely get my foot in the door? Is my difficulty finding a job bad luck, or is there something wrong with me? -- Unemployed and Unhopeful, Boston
DEAR UNEMPLOYED AND UNHOPEFUL: First of all, know that you are not alone. Many recent college grads are looking for work -- all at the same time. This means that it may take longer to find a job, especially considering that the economy is still growing at a slow pace. This does not mean that you should worry.
Now is the time to take a deep breath, buckle down and get strategic. Go back and review your strengths. Then identify where you have experience and expertise. Research which fields are hiring, and look to see where your skills match. As executive recruiter Marlon Cousin of the Marquin Group shared with me, "You have to look in fields where there is a need in order to find a job."
If you are on good terms with your college, go back to your placement office and ask them for support in targeting a search for work. Finally, while you continue to look, volunteer for a business that does what interests you. In this way, you can earn experience that may even convert to a job.