Each month, ABC News On Campus career columnist Lindsey Pollak will answer questions submitted by readers. We received many e-mails during December and regret that we are not able to respond to each and every one.
Below are Pollak's responses to the first batch of questions.
Have a question of your own? Click here to send Lindsey Pollak an e-mail.
How do you go about job searching in a new city where you don't have any connections? -- Amy
LINDSEY SAYS: Looking for a job in a new city requires some extra effort, a bit of ingenuity and a generous dose of guts. Drink a strong cup of coffee, and then follow these steps:
1. Learn as much as you can about the city in which you're applying for jobs. Who are the big employers? What are the major industries? What are the average salaries for the positions you're seeking? Where are the best places to network? How is the economy right now? You want to speak the same language and have the same reference points as potential employers. When you sound like an insider, people believe you'll fit right in.
2. Network with people in the new city. Make connections by phone and e-mail through your alumni association, professional associations, online networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and use personal referrals from friends and family. Spread the word that you're looking for a job and that you're excited to become part of the community. Often people are excited to learn that you're moving to their city and will keep their ears open for opportunities that fit your criteria. As long as you're friendly, authentic and grateful, most people will be happy to help you. Be brave, and ask for help, and vow to return the favor when you're happily settled in your new city.
3. At every stage, show your eagerness to move. In your cover letters and formal interviews, demonstrate to potential employers that hiring you is just as desirable as hiring someone who already lives in the area. Mention your eagerness to become part of the community, show off your knowledge of the city, offer to travel to the new city for job interviews and offer to pay for your own relocation costs (while some companies may offer relocation packages, it's not likely in the current economy).
Best of luck! Lindsey
I wanted to ask about careers in finance. Would you please provide any advice for all the bright students who are still looking to break into the financial industry or wanting to switch to another financial firm. What do you recommend that these talented students do to increase their chances of landing that dream job in the financial world in this economy? Thank you so much! -- Anju
LINDSEY SAYS: I wish I could offer a magic strategy for students and young professionals seeking jobs in finance, but the reality is that many job seekers are going to have to settle for less than the "perfect" finance job for the next year or two.
While there's no harm in applying to the best financial firms, there simply aren't many jobs available right now. I recommend looking for positions at smaller firms, regional firms, accounting firms and retail banks. If you're not dead-set on finance at this stage of your career, you might consider expanding your search to management consulting firms, general management positions, sales positions and other areas of business.