Job hunting is stressful. Like, REALLY stressful. Being in the middle of the process myself, I’m not sure I’m at all qualified to give advice since I’m freaking out too – but here are some of the things I try to remind myself of when it all starts to feel too crazy.
- It’s Not Forever
A positive change that has occured between when our parents were seeking out their first jobs and now is expectation of tenure. People used to find a single company and work there for their entire 40-year career, which meant there was quite a bit more pressure to find something you liked and could stand doing for the rest of your life. Nowadays, it’s much more common and acceptable to move around, change companies, and work your way up a non-linear ladder; it depends on the industry, but often times it’s acceptable to leave a company after only a year or two if you happen upon a better opportunity. That said, don’t stress about your first job being your dream job – think of it as a short-term stepping stone to your grander dreams, and don’t worry if you end up somewhere you don’t love. Worst case, you’ll learn something about yourself and your interests and you can move on to something else in 12 months. However, as a side note – it’s more and more common these days for young people to jump ship as soon as something else comes along; make sure you are giving your company ample notice for when you are leaving and be an active participant in the process to either hire your replacement or re-delegate your responsibilities to others. Two weeks is standard, but give more if you can.
- Getting Hired is Not a “Favor”
Know your worth! As you go through the job hunting process, remember that if a company chooses to interview you or offer you a position, it’s not because they’re doing you a favor. Accepting a job is entering into a mutual agreement between both of you; you are offering them a service and they are offering you some sort of compensation in return. You have to choose the company as much as they have to choose you.
- Not Getting Hired Usually Isn’t Personal
Rarely, if ever, does someone look at your resume (if you have a decent and organized one) and go, “wow, we’re definitely not hiring them because of X.” There may be certain experiences or line items they are looking for that you don’t have, or there may just be someone who knows someone that has the upper hand over you. Try not to get discouraged with all the rejection emails (and trust me, there’s lots of them) because odds are they just found the right fit somewhere else and you shouldn’t take it as an automatic, “I’m not qualified for this job.”
- You WILL Get Hired
Keep your eye on the prize – you will find a job. It may not be exactly what, where or when you expected, but if you’re diligent in your search and you understand that the process takes time and dedication, you’ll find something, even if you’re a 7th Century Arabian Prophets major with a minor in Underwater Basketweaving. Also, if you’re worried about finding something right after graduation and it’s not looking like it’s going to happen in that timeline, don’t be afraid to take a part-time or freelance position to help make ends meet while you continue to apply.
- You Don’t Have to Settle, But You May Want to Think Outside the Box
This is an especially tough one for me in my process. Odds are, you aren’t going to land your dream job day one, simply because there are most likely qualifications for it that you can’t get in school. You’ll work lots of different jobs to gain the skills to reach that higher goal, so today you just have to start somewhere. Odds are even higher that you might not even know what your dream job is, so the best thing to do is just apply for lots and lots of different types of jobs, take one that sounds interesting, and give it a try. If you’re remotely interested in something, even if it’s not exactly your major, just apply! Unlike college apps, the only cost of job apps is a little time – so if you’ve applied for 100 and aren’t feeling it yet, apply for 100 more. As a personal example, I’ve spent 15 months in grad school studying the ins and outs and miniscule specific details of digital marketing and am pretty sure of the exact title I hope to have for my first job – yet every few days or so I’ll apply for something random like a copywriting role since I love writing or a PR job for a record label because I love music. Don’t limit yourself – the more opportunities you seek, the more choices you’ll have later on!