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 Finding That Critical 2nd Job In Your Career

By Joe Stein

So much is made of finding your first “real” job after graduating from high school or college.  Of course, it is an important moment in your life as you transition from being a “kid” to adulthood.  Probably more important, for your career, however, is your 2nd job.

This 2nd job is a key to determining your career path and how quickly you will be making your progression.  While we will be focusing on your 2nd job being found in the external market (we are, after all, an employment website and paper), this position could also be found internally with your current employer if it is the right role for you.

It does not take too much effort to quickly conclude why the 2nd job is so important.  With your 1st position, you are focused on being gainfully employed and hoping to land with a good company that will develop you.  Once you accomplish landing this first job, you are now in a much better position to actually direct your career where you want it to go. 

One strategic decision to be made is when to go after this 2nd job.  Typically, after 2-3 years of employment is a good time to make this move.  If you are making an internal move, then less time is typically acceptable as you do not have the same concerns of earning a “job hopping” reputation.  At this time period, you have learned enough to transfer this knowledge and skill to a new role without giving the appearance that you are quickly bored or dissatisfied.

There are some tips to consider in order to assist you in finding your 2nd job.

• Update Your Resume – Your last Resume expired once you found your first job.  Now, you have “real” job experience.  You not only need to list your position, but also your key accomplishments and major tasks.  Add any certifications or relevant training obtained during your 1st job tenure.  On the flip side, it is time to delete your high school accomplishments.  You should also take a critical editing view to any information that is college-related.  Strongly consider deleting any college club or activity related information.  It served its Resume purpose in helping you land your 1st position, but now is not really relevant and will not project the professional mature persona you are seeking.

• Build Your Work Network – Your career network, when you landed your 1st position, probably consisted of friends, family members and university professors (or high school teachers).  It is now time to build your network of work colleagues (current and ex) along with any external contacts in which you interact.

• Join Your Alumni Association – If you graduated from college, you probably wondered about the value of joining your Alumni Association.  Beyond just supporting your school, an Alumni Association can be a great way to build your network, as well as an important source for finding out about potential open positions.

• Practice Your Interviewing Skills – The bar goes up considerably now for you in your attempt to land your 2nd job.  You are no longer the “kid” out of college selling your potential and enthusiasm.  You are now a veteran of the work world and you will be expected to be able to articulate your job successes, your opportunities and your career aspirations.  It is critical to have answers for the most frequently asked questions that will be presented to you.

• Know Your Desired Career Path – With your 1st job, your focus was on landing a job and you probably had a vague idea of what you wanted to do, such as Marketing.  At this point of your career, a Recruiter is going to expect you to have a good idea of what you want to do and what you are successful at doing.  The benefit of this knowledge is that this will allow you to perform a more focused job search, which certainly helps when you are balancing finding a new position while working your current one.

• Make Sure It Is The Right One – You are no longer the college graduate jumping at the first employer willing to take a chance on you.  If you are currently employed, you can afford to wait for the right opportunity to come along.  Do your research of any employer you are considering, to make sure they have a positive reputation.  Furthermore, make sure the position is what you are looking for in terms of compensation and job duties.  If you are in doubt, then wait for the next possibility.

You are now an experienced work veteran.  As you continue to grow your career, your 2nd job will be a critical point in your path and progression.  The tips above will not only place you in a better position to land that next position, but also to make sure it is the right one for you.

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As always, best of luck in your job search.