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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northwestern chapter.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for those of us graduating in December, it’s job application season! If you’re looking at a January 1 start date, no doubt you’re in application power mode – we have the advantage of a smaller applicant pool, but the disadvantage of a lower amount of job postings, which together is a recipe for stress city. The stages of applying for jobs go a little something like this…

Motivation to the Max

The first few jobs you apply for are fueled by motivation, determination, and caffeine-induced frantic LinkedIn trolling in the middle of the night. This first session could last hours, and leave you feeling tired but positive – you’ve applied for so many positions, you’ve basically memorized your cover letter template and you’re sure someone will reach out.

Post-Application Depression

If you’ve applied for jobs or internships in the past, you know this already – and if it’s your first time applying, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that 99% of companies you apply for will ghost you (or respond 6 months later when you’re no longer searching with a “hey, you still looking?” – honestly, they’re no better than boys from Tinder). This has extremely little to do with whether or not you qualify for the job, and honestly should not be taken personally – but it’s still super depressing and may turn you off from the process for a while as you contemplate how many degrees you can acquire to put off getting a real job.

Round 2!

Some way or another, the show must go on. There are many ways one can reach this stage, be it several productive hours with your therapist, a renewed sense of determination as the pain of previous rejections fade, or maybe you’ve unlocked the secret to job hunting which is that if you know someone (literally anyone, you could have walked the dog of the HR Director’s estranged brother’s niece one time in 2007), you’re 100x more likely to get that first interview or at least get someone to read your résumé. Regardless – the search continues!


Your spirits are hopefully a bit higher by the time you get a few companies to agree to interview you – be it phone, Skype, or in person, it’s a huge next step! This is the time for you to really shine and show off the amazing parts of you that don’t translate into a resume or portfolio, and it’s also a chance for you to interview the company to see if it’s really the right fit for you.

More Frustration

There’s a fundamental dilemma built into the process of applying for jobs that’s a little bit like the age old conundrum of “you need to establish credit to get a credit card, but no one will give you a credit card if you don’t have credit.” The issue here is that you’re supposed to start applying for jobs a few months to 6 weeks before graduation – for your own sanity, and because the hiring process usually take a while. But, what they don’t tell you is, a lot of companies don’t post jobs until they need someone right away! So a lot of times you’ll find great companies with mutual interest, but you’re looking for a position that starts in 6 weeks and they’re looking for someone to start on Friday. 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Now, don’t take my word on this one, because I’ve yet to experience it – but the idea is that at the end of this long, gruelling process, you end up with a job offer in a city you like, doing something you’re passionate about, and that maybe even offers a decent salary to help start tackling those student loans. Then it’s time to say goodbye to the past 18+ years of your life as a student, and begin the next phase as you enter the workforce! Professional queen!

Katrina Hicks

Northwestern '19