How do I look for a job?


There are a couple of ways hiring works at your level. Either companies recruit on your campus and hire a bunch of college grads for new analyst or trainee positions. Or you need to get referred to a hiring manager looking for someone to help out with low level stuff.
My recomendation is that you at least get a sense of what sort of work you might want to do - sales, marketing, administrative…I guess that’s it. Finance, accounting and tech would be out since you don’t have a background in any of that.

Your next step should be to see what sort of resources your campus career center has. Usually that would be on-campus interviews (although it’s getting pretty late for that) and alumni databases.

If you call up alumni, you generally want to talk about what you are interested in or what they do for a living. Most people don’t want to talk to someone “just looking for any job”.

In addition to the good points already mentioned, what CAN you do? If fulfillment is not high on the priority list, you need to assess what you can offer. From that list of experience and skills, you should be able to hone it down to a few industries and/or jobs, and go from there. I concur with the comments on networking, and the ineffectiveness of the jobs boards.

BTW, I am in the Sacramento area as well. I have a degree in Geography, incidentally, and currently work in Project Management in Health Insurance. So, echoing some of the other comments, you never know where you will end up. PM me, maybe I can help.

Aside from networking (which you should definitely be doing), you might look at government employers - local and state governments often have preferential hiring policies for veterans, and the feds definitely do. Does the VA have any job placement services you can take advantage of?

Careers for history majors.

Yes, network. Work LinkedIn like a pro. Get recs, link with everyone. Let them know you’re looking for a job. Search for Fed Jobs after this kerfuffle ends. Many require nothing but a BA in anything.

How about the Police or Security?

At the schools where I’ve interviewed we usually contact the career office at the school and agree to a date that we’d be coming to interview on campus. The career office would collect resumes from students who want to interview and we’d screen them and tell them which of those students we wanted to interview while we were there. The career office would then make up a schedule of those students for us.

I absolutely love Davis. And I’m not wedded to the idea of staying in Sacramento, and in theory I’m willing to move for a job, but moving is really friggin expensive. So I’ll probably stay here (I’d really want to live in Solvang, but that’s not happening).

As for my skillz:

History of data entry, office work
Conference presentation
Customer service experience

When I was in the military I was a door gunner on a helicopter. So that gave me experience in stress management, dealing with radios, having to work with a lot of incoming information, blah blah blah.

Medicine and Health Care is going to grow by 22% by the year 2020, so, if you are medically inclined, it’s a field you should look into.

Nursing, for example, has at least 50 different specialties, and multiple levels of training. You can become a RN in 2 years, or a LPN in 1 year. There’s always going to be a demand for Nurses.

Not to mention, the average starting salary for a Nurse in California is $65,000. Not bad for 2 years of school.


Here’s a complete list of your options:

  1. Walk into local restaurants and ask if they are hiring.
  2. Study for the LSAT and research law schools in your area.

ETA: OK, real advice: The best job aggregator web site I’ve seen is No need to bother with the ones you mentioned–indeed gets those plus many many others.

Wouldn’t LSAT just be putting off me being not able to find work for a couple of years?

Thanks for the website. I didn’t know about it. So what do I put as the search term?
I’d love to be a nurse, but I really can’t afford 3 more years of school.

“History” is an annoying search term, as it gets hits like “salary history” that aren’t descriptive of the position itself. You don’t necessarily have to search by job title - think about search terms like “research” or “radio,” if that’s where your skills and experience lie.

Honestly, I can’t imagine myself applying for any old job. I’ve always thought in terms of a career. I think the advice above, to read What Color is Your Parachute and do the exercises, might really help you lock in what what skills you have and how you can apply them to the workforce.

I’m one of those weird people who don’t really have a passion for anything. I don’t wake up and get excited because I get to do __. I’m just looking for any old job because I need to pay rent and put food on the table. Those are my only goals right now. I’ll worry about being “happy” later. Maybe.

Look and apply all over. You don’t need more schooling, you need a job and $$$.

You’re former military and that’s a good thing. You know how to be part of a team. Many snot-nosed graduating kids these days do not get that concept. You get the concept of either leading or following, and anything else is being in the way. You know what “get with the program” means. You’ve learned small unit leadership.

My first career job, it was a few weeks before I learned my boss was an Army Vietnam vet. He told me his experience taught him those things about newhires. He preferred veterans because of that.

I’d focus on your skills. Can you write program code? Can you manage data in a spreadsheet? Can you use a GIS? I would write down everything you can do and that you’re willing to do for a while and then try to come up with a short list of jobs that use those skills.

I would also go to job boards run by professional organizations. For instance, I’ve landed both of my last two jobs by going to the Society of Wetland Scientists webpage. The ads tend to be more detailed than those announcements, and people will post opportunities that, while low paid, build up the resume and act as launching pads.

While you’re looking at ads, look at the commonalities for positions that catch your eye. What skills are they looking for? If you don’t have them, try to figure out how you can get them. Either now or in the long-term.

^ Agreed. A lot of qualifications can be had for less than most people think if you get creative.

It’s not about you being happy. It’s about developing a coherent career narrative, which is essential to getting hired as well as to your personal career development. It doesn’t have to be a joyful passion, it just has to be something you know you can make a solid contribution to and continue to grow in.

Employers can sense a lack of focus and direction, and it’s a turn off for them. If they know your only interest is in a paycheck, they know that your probably only going to give a paycheck’s worth of effort- and that’s not enough in today’s job market. Employers want to hire people who will develop innovations, solve problems, and provide leadership. The days are over when it was enough to go through the routine, collect your paycheck, and call it a day. If that’s all you can offer, they aren’t going to bite. There are too many hungry AND passionate people out there.

Furthermore, if you don’t know where you want to be, how are you going to develop a plan for getting there? Through your career, you’ll want to take on new responsibilities, build networks, and understand fields. But how can you do that if you are just bumbling from paycheck to paycheck doing whatever? Finding some kind of focus can help you narrow down what you need to do to get from here to there.

You don’t have to completely zero in on one thing, but I promise you that things will go much easier if you narrow down a field, a manageable list of potential employers, and a few professional networks.

(FWIW, one of my best friends was a history major. He spent his time teaching, working as a fake pirate on a historic ship, becoming a star professional video game announcer in Korea, and then going back to teaching…)

THIS. Thanks, sven, just what I was thinking.

RandMcnally, seems like everyone is giving you great advice. This forum is full of knowledgeable professional people, and I’m sure, once you come up with a skill-set to focus on, we can help tweak your resume, suggest other options, etc.

I never thought about it that way. Thank you. Like many of you said, I need to figure out what I’m passionate about, or something.

Looking seriously at my skills, to a company I can offer:

Able to communicate:
3.8 major GPA.
Experience doing academic research.
Can put coherent thoughts on paper.
Have presented at multiple conferences based on my own research.

Can handle stress: (I’ve taken a police dispatcher exam a few years ago and scored a 94%
Multiple combat tours.
Experience working with listening to multiple radios at a time.
Can repair a .50 cal with one hand.

Office experience:
Worked for a doctors billing company, so I’ve had to file, work with insurance companies, etc.
Phone experience.
Account collection, etc.

I think that’s all the major stuff.

I think I’d rephrase even the “passion”. Passion is great, and it was in my mid-thirties before I found a job I’m passionate about, and even then there’s a lot about the job I’m not passionate about.

But even more important than that, I think, is knowing what you can do at work that you’re proud of being able to do well. You might not be passionate about putting together kickass presentations, but if you think you’re excellent at it and you take pride in that, you can play that up in your interviews. For myself, while I’m not passionate about writing grants and letters and such, I’m pretty good at doing so, and I got a few different jobs based on the strength of my persuasive writing; I think the pride I take in my writing showed through during the interview.