By ALLEN PRELL and SHARON PRELL

It is that time of year for graduation from high school and college, and  now our graduates are looking for part time or full time work to fulfill their dreams. Are these graduates competing for the same jobs as those already unemployed?

Allen Prell
I am working through the same job searching  exercise my daughter is, a McNary High School graduate. I was told through my company I might lose my job  as a pharmaceutical sales representative in the fall. What am I doing to prepare for a job search and what is my daughter, a 2010 McNary graduate doing different in her job search?

I studied for my career goal several years ago and graduated with a degree in speech communications and health science. I left my comfortable job in the emergency room to seek a new career in pharmaceutical sales. It has been a rewarding career meeting healthcare professionals everyday and learning about new advances in healthcare.

I am now  a member on Facebook, Linked-In, and Monster.com, broadcasting my qualifications for all to see. It is called networking. I have joined two new organizations  to remain active in the  community. I have offered my volunteer services to speak at conferences on healthcare related issues close to my heart. I have contacted old friends and neighbors  that I have known for years to reestablish  our relationship and rekindle the one bond we had. I am realistic that continuing in pharmaceuticals is not practical, and have broadened my career search to biotechnology,  marketing, and writing.

Travel is a bad word for a family man, yet important  today to remain a viable candidate for any company. Marketing yourself is important and not to be bashful about your accomplishments.

Today, more than ever, job seekers need to be prepared for a interview. This is why I remained active in Toastmasters International, to maintain my edge on professional speaking and interviewing. I also kept a savings account with plenty of financial padding and maintained a low credit card balance. I hope the day never comes when I get the phone call: “your services are no longer needed.” But I will rest comfortably knowing I have done my homework in advance. Any recommendations on Linked-In are appreciated

Sharon Prell
Being a graduate is a little scary at first. It feels very surreal as you walk with your friends and receive handshakes, congratulations, and a picture of the school. You’re actually not handed your diploma until the following week. No one ever told me that part and I was surprised.

Searching for a job is hard, especially if your resume isn’t going to be very impressive.  I’ve basically volunteered for organizations that aren’t very close to my dream job. I wrote for Salem’s daily paper twice in a month, being paid $25 for each. I didn’t understand how good that was until a few months later when I learned the woman I was working for left and how much I’d actually made, realizing I could’ve taken the opportunity and didn’t.  I was writing for the Keizertimes during my senior year as a volunteer. I hope to pursue more writing with them.

My writing passion has been primarily fiction. I loved how I could make things up and it would flow into my hands onto paper or the computer. In school, the only way I was able to show my writing talent was the school newspaper. I wasn’t sure what it entailed and finally pushed my nerves away to take the leap that turned out to be a lot of fun.

My mom taught me to scan  using crossword puzzles. I found I’m able to scan for words. My dad writes several papers for work or just for general things and has me edit them. My mom has been a major supporter of my writing and they both helped me get through school.

One thing that graduates may find difficult, if they’re like me, is that mom and dad aren’t really there anymore. It’s your time to shine. They might suggest jobs or colleges to you, but it’s up to you to make the move. There are some graduates that have their life figured out: their school is set, jobs are in mind, are hiring or you already have a job. I salute you for having everything  in check, so to speak. You are one of the lucky ones. It’s very difficult to find a job when you know what your passion is, but your options are limited. You can’t wait around forever for that one spot to open, so you might have to choose that job you know you can do, but won’t be as much fun for you.

I’m finding myself in a place where I know I’m good at customer service, but I’m not sure if I want to learn how to work a cash register or find a place where I can greet people at a door while opening it for them and tell them to have a nice day as they leave. I do know I want to be a famous writer some day, because my stories are my creative imagination with a mix of ideas from books, movies, and shows with a twist. I do know I love books and writing. I know I have to put myself out there, so here I am. Is anyone out there?

Allen Prell, and his daughter Sharon, live in Keizer.