How does one go about getting an office job?

Well, I graduated college recently and am looking for a job. I want to do everything possible to get a job, but feel very frustrated.

I have a degree in English/History and one in Education.

I haven’t found a teacher job, but am very willing to work an office-type job, which would utilize a general degree. Anyway, what do you recommend as first steps toward finding a job like this?

I know this is a bit IMHO, so if it gets moved, that’s cool. I’m really kinda worried about the whole thing and posting makes me feel like I’m doing something.

First step is looking at the want-ads in your local newspaper.

  1. Whip up a bunch of resumes. Make sure they look decent.

  2. Check the want ads.

  3. Get accounts on,, and and start applying like crazy.

  4. Send out lots and lots of resumes. Apply for a lot of jobs. Don’t be picky about the specific industry.

  5. Go to interviews.

  6. Get hired.


If you are a qualified teacher, I’d be amazed if you couldn’t find a teaching job SOMEWHERE, btw.

The problem is that you’ll hardly ever see advertisements for “general” office jobs. I know, I looked. I’m one of those many wayward English majors who had no clue what to do with the degree. At least you have Education!

Anyway, do what RickJay said. He smart.

Check your state’s job listings for state jobs; many of those include some kick-butt benefits and require only basic spelling, grammar, and math (which you’ve got in spades) and the ability to type.

Don’t forget fun stuff like answering service (pay can be ok, benefits usually lacking, but hours are flexible and allow you to hunt other jobs) or substitute teacher (just check with your local schools, it’ll be day by day work and will get your foot in the door for a full-time job).

How about jobs related to the teaching field-- i.e. any teaching supply stores hiring salesfolk? Library/bookstore? Office supply place? Anywhere that you have a chance of meeting and getting to know other teachers is a plus for your social contacts and that future “dream job.” Heck, what about working for the local newspaper? Can you write a column about education in the area? Copy edit? Don’t forget that whatever you do for a living, you ARE a teacher, and eventually you’ll get paid to use those talents. :slight_smile:


While you’re doing that, try a temp agency. They can hook you up with something fairly quickly. It may not be the greatest gig, but it’s a source of income while you continue to look. Also, since many companies hire their temps after a certain amount of time, it can be a foot in the door.

Good luck!

To toss my two cents in:

Do what Rick Jay says, but take the time to research the jobs you’re appyling for and make a personal case for why you’d like to work for that company. I read lots of form cover letters and they’re very forgettable. The ones that stick out are those where the person has looked into your company and your requirements and talks about why they’re a good fit.

Feel free to try lots of industires, but don’t let the people you’re applying to know that. You want them to feel special.

I have a classics degree. (Try to get more useless than that!) I also work in a law office. Your degree and academic experience is neatly summarized as writing skills, organizational skills, editorial experience and analytical skills. Add in any lame retail work you had to get through college and viola you’ve got people skills! Hey and after crafting a letter explaining all that you can really say you’ve got some marketing experience. Good luck.

Temp, temp, temp. If you’re any good at, well, anything you should be able to land a permanent job very quickly.

I agree with MachV and Ruadh—when I first started out in the job market, I supported myself as a temp, and one out of every few jobs, they’d offer me a fulltime position (I waited till I found a temp job I wanted to work at fulltime!).

Good luck!

I agree with the temping advice. Making sure you know Excel, Word and Powerpoint can help. Temping is how I have gotten several of the jobs I’ve had. The nice thing about it is that if you hate the place you are assigned to you can easily switch, but if you love it you can find ways to make yourself indespensable.


…but don’t worry if you don’t know Excel or Powerpoint, you should still be able to get plenty of work. Any decent temp agency should offer training in them in any case.

To echo Ruadh, MachV, and Twiddle, temping is a great way to try out different jobs at different companies. You might want to apply to several temp agencies as possible;that way you have more of a chance of staying constantly employed.

Hey! I was a wayward English Major (minor in History) myself!

I got my job as a Marketing Analyst through a job fair at my college.

I didn’t notice anyone saying this yet, so: work all of your friends and acquaintance. I’ve had many jobs, and with the exception of four short-term jobs that occupied less than nine months of my life (and were undoubtably my worst jobs), I’ve always become employed through personal connections.

So, who do you know that has an office job?

Since you’re looking for advice, I’ll move this thread to IMHO.

I would go the temping route. I know some companies may be less likely to hire you for a “general” office job because you may be “over qualified”. I have run into this myself. They feel that you will dump and run as soon as something comes along in your field.

Try temping. I got my last job that way and actually have been offered two since I started temping again. You have to put up with some bs, and many people will underestimate you, but it’s an excellent way to get your foot in the door.

I’ll get flamed for this but…

Does it not strike anyone as slightly worrisome that a ‘college grad’ does not know how to go about finding a job?


MeanJoe, not at all. Maybe a college grad who’s been out for a while, but not a recent college grad.

I think it is pretty normal. I mean I’m sure that a recent college grad knows how to get a summer-job type thing; selling clothing, flipping burgers or whatnot - you walk in, fill out the application form and they never call you, right? But if you have just graduated from college there is a good chance you’ve never had to find a “real” job before. Heck I remember seriously wondering what on earth it meant to network, when I had recently graduated.

Besides I dunno what college you went to but I wasn’t taught a damn thing about finding a job in college - instead I was taught a number of obscure things about Latin American politics, some stuff about Shakespeare, and a little physics on the days I showed up to class…



Fair enough and I appreciate your well stated point. I would then alter my statement somewhat to state:

“Does it not strike anyone as slightly worrisome that today’s colleges turn out graduates who do not have basic skills to begin their employment search?”

Of course, it’s been a long time (IMHO) since colleges actually had much grasp on practical “real world” experiences.

Mercy, it’s awful hot. I wonder if I can remove the asbestos gear yet? :wink:


This is definitely something colleges should remedy. A senior-level class in finding a job would definitely be a good thing. I think I only had a basic understanding of how to go about it, and I fumbled quite a bit. I was lucky in that I was trained in a rarely-taught, dated programming language that’s still often used in the business world, so finding a job in my field was fairly simple (2nd or 3rd interview I had).