The list began with my dream jobs, slowly trickled into second choices, and then “I guess I’d work there” options. As my May 2018 graduation approached, I frantically searched for a full-time job that would 1) pay me and 2) work well as a solid response to ‘what are you doing after graduation?” During my job hunt, I had also created a list of all of the jobs I applied to—and by the end—the list totaled 80 jobs. Yes, 8-0. The process was slow and painful as if I had asked my worst enemy to rip off a massive band-aid for me.
Looking back, I think the process was so challenging for me because I just had no idea what to expect. How many jobs did I have to apply for? What kind of resumes stand out? Where do I really want to work? My parents gave me plenty of advice, but I soon realized that applying to jobs 30 years ago was much different than applying for jobs today. Some aspects of the job hunt are just different!
I wish an older, wiser millennial had told me what to expect before I started searching. And so, to give you a heads-up and hopefully make your life easier, I want to share some of the things I learned through my job hunt.
You might have to apply to a ton of jobs. Like, a lot a lot. Even though I networked, worked my ass off, and am a stone-cold fox, it still took me 80 tries until I found an offer. Don’t get discouraged—you will find one—it just might time and a lot of pressing submit!
You might need to use multiple job search sites and forums. LinkedIn, Indeed.com, MediaBistro, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter are all excellent options! This seems like basic information, but I literally did not know where to look when I began. I’d applied to internships numerous times, but those I found either through professors or company specific websites. So, finding jobs in multiple industries, in multiple cities, using multiple sites was new to me!
You might need to take an unpaid Internship to get your foot in the door. In this economy? Yes, and it’s more likely than you think. I figured once I had a degree I would just start making money. Sounds logical, yes? Well, apparently, companies can still ask you to work for free…even as a graduate, with a degree, that I worked toward for four years to get so I could get a paid job (please, please pay me!). For those lucky enough, unpaid internships can be good options for career development after graduation. For me, however, not getting paid was not an option. Expect to see some postings for unpaid post-grad intern positions and try not to scream.
You might need to “know” someone. Networking is an essential part of the job hunt. I wish it weren’t true—because who you know is largely based on things we can’t change like our race, class, socioeconomic background, etc., and I think who you know should not be a factor in your chances of getting a job—but it is. So, don’t be shy about asking around. You never know whose mom has years of experience in your future field, or whose dad was roommates with Lorne Michael’s cousin. Reach out to alumni, professionals in your industry, professors, and friends to learn more about their career path. They might be able to help, either with job opportunities or sage advice!
You might need to personalize it (aka your entire job search), baby! Research the company, find out who will read your resume, and put their name in your cover letter! Bingo. Addressing your cover letter to the human who will be reading it adds a personal touch to your application. It will make you stand out amongst the thousands of ‘whom it may concerns.’ This is just one example of how personalizing your job search can help you stand out from the crowd.
You might realize the job search process is difficult. It is true! However, never give up 🙂
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