How do I look for a job?

I’m about to graduate from a good school with a good GPA with a history degree. How do I go about finding a real job?

I go on career builder, monster, etc and put in my location, but what do I search for under category? I’ve never had to really search for work before. After high school I went into the military then straight to college.

I know I’m not going to be doing anything with my degree. I’m ok with that. I don’t really care what field it’s in as long as it’s decent paying. I’m hoping to stay near Sacramento.

It helps if you have some idea about what you want to do first. What are you interested in? (Aside from history.)

Oh I’m way past the point of trying to figure out what I’m interested in (obviously I wouldn’t say that at a job interview). I’m just trying to find something that’ll help me pay the bills.

Don’t they have a career counselor at your school? Do you have an academic advisor? With a history bachelor’s degree, your options are essentially academia, education, or mcjobs. What are your thoughts on going for an MBA or teaching cert?

Yes, check to see what other history graduates are doing. Check with professors. How well do you write? There are some reasonable jobs writing on-line content, but it will take a while to get ramped up.
Try to figure out how your background would actually help some employer. Maybe a job as an aid to a state legislator or something?

If you can stay around campus for another year, choose a technical or medical job you could at least tolerate and tack an AS onto your BA - you now have a 4 year degree (minimum for anything above “Would you like fries with that?”) and job-specific skills.
Anything medical is good - we boomers are entering the medical-intensive phase of life, and we are going to continue to get what we demand (I now consume 8 pills at bedtime).
Anything dealing with computers or networking.

Look at what people are looking for and try to become one of those.

That’s really not true. If he’s at a Good School, especially a Very Good School, there are still firms that hire liberal arts grads as management trainees right out of college. But I agree that career counseling is the place to start.

That said, depending on the state, teaching can be a pretty good gig. Way better than “unemployed”.

Use your school’s career center, look up what history degreed grads do and what jobs they get. Ideally, this should be done by your sophomore year. It’s a little late for that now, but the information now as you graduate is valid, and valuable for helping you know likely outcomes of your searches. Also, the career center might offer standardized test on our interests (Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory) and your aptitudes. Use this information in your career / job search. Find out what companies are interviewing on campus. Sign up for them, even if you’re only mildly interested, for the interview practice. I did that and it was helpful experience in “selling one’s self”.
ETA: Also, why does a history major have a user name of RandMcnally? You sure you didn’t study geography?

And… Good luck to you!

Network. Ask everyone you know who has a “real job” about what their firm does, what they do, and what sort of opportunities exist in their field for entry level people. If someone describes something that sounds interesting to you, ask about the possibility of setting up an informational interview.

“Everyone you know” should include lots of people over 30.

Also, while it doesn’t hurt to talk to professor/advisor types, I wouldn’t count on them knowing much about the workforce outside of academia.

Yes, network. Good point, BetsQ. Join LinkedIn and start building your professional network. Start adding contacts from schoolmates and any jobs you’ve already had.

This this this this. Blindly applying for jobs on Monster or Craigslist or wherever won’t get you very far. People like to hire someone that they either know already, or that can be vouched for by someone they do know.

Thank you everyone for all the responses!

Sadly, I can’t afford to stay around campus for another year. My wife and I just had a daughter, I’ve already used my GI Bill, etc etc.

See, how do I go about finding those? I’ve done the career counseling thing. I’ve always found them to be completely worthless. I’ve also done those interest tests and they come up as engineer, military aircraft crewmen (which I actually did) and such. There’s no way I can afford to stay in school long enough to get an engineering degree.

The university that gave be the best package didn’t offer geography as a major. I would have done that if they did.

Many of you may be asking, “if you’re so worried about finding a job why are you waiting one month out from when you graduate with a worthless degree?” My goal for the last few years was to go to grad school and become a professor at a community college. I kept my grades up, presented at conferences, worked one-on-one with multiple professors, etc. I’m still getting rejected left and right. In addition, I realized I don’t want to go to grad school. So this puts me in the situation where I’m in right now. I really don’t care what field a job is in. I’m not looking for any type of fulfillment from my job. I just need something to pay the bills and give me little girl health insurance. If I could do it all over again I’d go into accounting or nursing. But I can’t.

I didn’t even think about the networking aspect of it. I’ll have to look into that.

Once you’re connected on LinkedIn, you’ll see the companies your contacts have worked for - assuming they put that in their profiles (very few people do not do this on LinkedIn, IME; that’s the whole point there), so it should be useful info. As the years go by, continue to manage and add to your connections. This will be more valuable over the years.

If you’re wondering what to do (i.e., what job categories you should look under), the What Color is my Parachute books have a number of exercises where you can whittle down a vague interest in something into some distinct job classifications. For example, you might be interested in “finance” but by using the WCIMP exercises you can learn that you’re more interested in personal banking and not at all interested in being an accountant.

And, yes - network.

OP, ignore those saying your degree is worthless. Most of us work in fields not directly linked to our majors. This guy I know was a history major, became a tech writer for a medical software company, and then in that same company moved over to the department dealing with FDA regulations, quality assurance and regulatory affairs. His company’s products are regulated by the FDA and medical device agencies of the countries they sell to. He’s now the director of that department, my boss, and my friend. A very sharp guy. He’s still a fan of history and is well read.

My brother holds Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Philosophy.

He drives trains for a living.

It makes him happy.

So true. My family recently visited a movie trailer production shop and the variety of degrees people had that didn’t match what they were doing was astounding: Economics, modern art, English lit, no college, etc etc etc.

Yep, I know a lot of people in the advertising industry that don’t have marketing degrees. A lot of English majors, and even one guy I know that’s a History major. You just gotta decide what you want to do and then get your foot in the door.

Your first step is going to be to get in a temp job, ASAP. Sometimes, these turn into permanent positions, and you may even be able to do some cool work. That’s how I found my current job, which is actually pretty awesome. Don’t be afraid to tell your firm you are looking for a temp to perm position within a specific field.

Then, you are going to put some serious thought into what you actually want to do. The thing is, nobody wants to hire someone who just wants to get paid for basic office work. Even if you work at a sticker manufacturer, I promise you, you are competing against some guy who lives, eats and breathes stickers. You need passion and focus, because you are competing against people with passion and focus. So you need to figure out your passion and focus. Your career will be a billion times better for it.

Then, develop a list of targeted companies. You may want to look at LinkedIn profiles of people who are doing stuff you want to do, and look at their career path and where they have worked. Then,research the heck out of your target companies. Find ways to know people who work there (alumni networks? networking events? professional orgs?). Keep an eye out each week for new jobs at your target companies, and apply to relevant ones. Then, after you have sent your app, follow up with the person you know on the inside. Often this really is the only way your resume will get read. I cannot emphasize this enough. An inside connection is the absolute best way to get a job.

If you are in Sacramento, obviously the state is a big employer. I have no idea how to be employed by them, but there are people who do know. Talk to some state employees and see if you can get the lowdown.

FTR, I didn’t say a history degree was worthless. But a history degree does not have strong job or income prospects outside of academia/education. In my defense, it would have been helpful to know that the OP had been applying to grad school, because I figured that he had only just started thinking about jobs now. Being WAY late in the game, that made me think he wasn’t a highly-motivated type.