Q. I got more job help than I needed this Christmas as relatives told me about job openings ranging from pharmaceutical sales to community organizer, none of which meets my goal of landing an PR agency job. When do I throw in the towel and bow to pressure from home and wallet? -BL
A. Job experts, including Crootpad, indicate most job searches average three to six months, although nearly 12% run significantly longer. Entry-level positions in public relations run as high as nine months and longer, although there are signs of improvement as we enter 2010.
If the jobs your relatives mentioned are real, you might want to pursue them even though doing so would be a detour from your original career goal. In this economy, you are better off taking a job from which you can gain experience, and then network towards a position you really want. There’s no shame in brief career detours during this recession. Plus, you’ll undoubtedly gain relevant experience that strengthens your resume.
If you decide to take a momentary detour, find ways to stay engaged in your preferred profession. Part-time jobs, pro-bono PR with local charities or other volunteer activities become important additions to your resume. Recently, I met an impressive Indiana University grad who is working full-time in liquor distribution sales, and he is working part-time as a weekend producer for a radio station. He’s making a good salary and is confident the combination of current jobs will lead to bigger and better opportunities.