The first semester of my senior year has been an absolute roller coaster ride of stress, planning, and re-planning. I’ve reevaluated my future more times than I can count, and I’m still unsure of myself. Over fall break, I finally admitted to myself that I needed more time to prepare for the G.R.E., specifically, I need time to learn math all over again because—like many humanities people—I haven’t taken a math course since high school! Realizing that I want to take a gap year between my undergrad and graduate school has been simultaneously freeing and stress-inducing. While I am no longer crunched for time, filling out applications and writing admissions essays, I’m now worried about fine-tuning my resume, applying for jobs, and yes, going to interviews.
My friends have been telling me for the past few weeks that I sound like a walking advertisement for Indeed.com. Although I am #notspon, I will be talking a lot about Indeed and how it has helped me navigate my job search for post-graduation. My number one tip is to just start when it comes to finding a job. That sounds easy enough, but we all know how intimidating it can be to start making huge life decisions like finding a job after college. We’re all under a stupid amount of pressure, from our parents, our peers, and ourselves, to prove that our astronomically expensive educations were not for nothing. While this is not the case for me, I know several seniors who feel like they need to find a career right after they graduate. One of my best friends, for example, told me she cannot continue being a server at a restaurant once she graduates because her grandmother would be so disappointed in her.
I want to be clear in saying that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with needing time to figure out a career path after you get a bachelor’s degree; at the same time, I understand why young people would feel pressed to find a higher paying gig, why they might want to put their degree to work for them, etc. Whatever the case may be for you, I recommend starting a job search on Indeed. It’s one of the simplest platforms to tackle this process, especially because you can upload your resume and tailor your search to a specific field or area in just a couple clicks. They even have an app! I find myself “playing” on the app in my free time, applying for jobs here and there whenever I can. In just a few hours, I ended up applying for over forty jobs. Most of the ones I applied for, as a teacher in various childcare facilities or mainstream schools, did not require me to fill out a detailed application or include a cover letter.
During an eighty-minute class the Monday after I applied for all these jobs, I missed nine phone calls asking me to set a time to interview. Quickly, I became overwhelmed with options, and this was a totally amazing problem to have. While I did have a couple phone interviews, the rest were traditional, in-person meetings. Over the last two weeks, I think I’ve filled out approximately twelve paper applications, shaken more than a dozen hands, and smiled so hard my cheeks have begun to hurt. I can’t stress enough how important it is to put yourself out there—to market yourself on paper and in person. I’ve honed my skills so much as an interviewee, and now I know almost automatically the answer to any question that could be thrown my way. As a result, I’m no longer nervous when I head into an interview. Instead, I’m the picture of calm, cool, and collected. Yes, your resume should be polished (for help with this, go to your school’s career center or ask your advisor for help!), but it’s arguably more important to have confidence in yourself and your experience.
I was lucky enough to be offered a job at a school during my first week of interviewing. I had no trouble accepting the opportunity because I had been exposed to so many other places, had met so many other people, and could easily recognize that this work environment was the best of the ones I’d seen. Having said that, I decided to keep my appointments for a handful of other job opportunities, just to make sure that I am making the right decision. I would urge you to do the same. Cast a wide net, keep your options open, make a good impression, and trust your gut. Oh, and make an Indeed profile.
You’ll be ahead of the curve if you start looking for a job now! Just think about how nice it will feel to have a job waiting for you when you graduate.