Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Getting a Job Right after University/College: The Struggle

I graduated university a little while ago. It was a strange moment for me. On the one hand, I was excited because the 4 years that I invested actually meant something. On the other hand, financially this is the first time that I've not had any support. The idea of having to put on my big girl panties and get a job before the money ran out was SUPER stressful and kind of killed the whole celebrating graduating thing. I can't give you advice about finding your dream job right out of school but I can tell you what helped me when I felt as if I was in over my head.

1. Celebrate Graduating. You've accomplished something pretty cool that not everyone can. You hit the books so hard you got a bloody nose or two and used that blood as ink to write an essay. OK maybe you didn't work quite that hard but you accomplished something really awesome so take a day or two to celebrate with family or friends. Eat cake, go out to a park, and generally let yourself feel happy.

2. Know that the job market is not what it was when your parents graduated. If you are like me you felt sooo much pressure to prove to your parents that you didn't waste 4 years and tonnes of money on nothing. I wanted so badly to get a great job right away and prove to my parents that my degree was worth it. Unfortunately, the fact that we are just coming out of a recession is still apparent. Now you're thinking but the recession was 6 years ago it shouldn't affect me. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but our parents generation is making it hard. They don't mean to(or at least I don't think they do). The recession just kind of hurt their retirement savings, if they had any, so they are staying in the work force longer. Keep moving forward but know if you can't find "the perfect job" to apply to it might just take some time.

3. People are really bad at getting back to you about your application in a reasonable amount of time. I put an application in at an office where a friend works 2 weeks ago. I asked him after a week of not hearing back if he could check up on it for me and get me the number of someone I could could talk to. He said he would, gave me the number and then told me that he had asked the person responsible for recruitment and that my application was still in the "pending" pile. The moral of the story, people aren't great at hiring people and by the time this guy calls me back I'm going to have potentially been hired by someone else and it will be their loss.

4. Paper the town with resumes even if you have to do it electronically and even if you aren't exactly 'qualified' for the position. The job might not be exactly what you want, however, every job builds up more experience which will allow you to get a better job next time. The second reason that you should apply for everything is that you might be surprised at what people are looking for. For example, I have a strong communications background which when I was in a previous interview at a law firm, the interviewer said was an asset because of the need for clear communication when dealing with the law. 

5. Make sure you are submitting your resume correctly. There is nothing worse that realizing you submitted a resume in the wrong file format or worse didn't read directions for submitting properly and are now not even going to be considered. If you do, smack yourself in the head like they did in the old V8 juice commercials (do they still do that anymore?) and move on. It happens to all of us.

6. It's OK to wear sweatpants for 4 days in a row when waiting for callbacks. Enjoy the time that you aren't working because there will be very little of it after you get a job. By the way, by 'enjoy' I mean tight jeans suck.

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