Dear J.T. & Dale: In a few months, I will graduate with an MBA in health care. This will be my third college degree. I've never been able to get a job related to my schooling that would sustain me and my family. For the past 20 years, I have been a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Any job offered to me that was related to my schooling paid far less than I could make as a CNA. Advice? - Natalie
J.T.: I hope your school has a good alumni networking program. If so, focus your efforts there. Tell the alumni you contact that you aren't asking for a job, but rather, for insight into how they got where they are. If your university doesn't have a good alum network, you can jump on LinkedIn.com, where most schools now have an alumni group.
Dale: There's a second networking tree that you need to start growing. Meet with as many former nursing colleagues as you possibly can. You might be thinking, But Dale, you numbskull, nurses do NOT hire MBAs. True, but your best leverage will be to go after jobs with companies that market their products or services to nurses. If your old colleagues can connect you to sales reps or other individuals in supplier companies, then you will have a unique and highly appealing background that will separate you from all the other MBAs. What seems as though it's an unrelated and unhelpful background will prove to be what gets you a great job.