For most, job hunting is one of the first steps young adults take towards full-fledged “adulting”. As students get ready to graduate college and move on towards the next step, we polish up our resumes and make sure we have the perfect outfit ready in case we get asked for an interview. Yet, the process is not always perfect and can last longer than we would like. If you are looking for your next job after graduating or just need a change in scenery, these are things it is important to keep in mind during this process.
1. You’re not alone
If you are a college senior and find yourself speechless when someone asks “what are you doing after graduation?”, you are not the only one. Chances are, your friends and peers are going through the job-hunting process. Some people already have their path figured out and some people don’t which is okay. Everyone is on their own journey and will get there eventually. This isn’t just limited to your school, college students across the country are also going through the same thing. While this might seem like a competition, just remember that something out there will be for you.
2. Everyone is on their own path
You could argue that the point of college is to gather people from different backgrounds to learn and grow together. This might sound like a cheesy sentiment, but it’s actually kind of true. With that said, different job markets look for different things in their potential employees. A biology major would be looked different than a broadcasting or theater major. Some careers require students to go on to graduate school and others do not. The harsh truth is that some careers are viewed as more valuable than others. Do not let this discourage you. Whatever your chosen major is, it is one you made for a reason. If it is one you are truly passionate about, don’t let anyone or anything deter you from your future career. Sometimes your peers will get hired sooner than you, but job hunting is where persistence is key.
3. You will get there eventually
Job hunting can include a multitude of actions. You may talk to your professors about your options after graduating. You may attend local job affairs and see what is out there. You might be scrolling through websites and seeing if there is something out there that fits your criteria. Once you graduate, you might lose the semblance of a safety net after moving away from campus which leads you to search for your next job on your own. This process can be frustrating, especially if it is taking longer than you thought. You might be finishing up that cover letter or updating your resume and be eagerly waiting once you click “submit”. This waiting can be terrible, especially if it is met with no answer. Sometimes it takes longer, but eventually, something will pop up. Internships or part-time jobs can be helpful even if it’s not what you expected or part of your post-graduation plan. Even if it is just a foot in the door to gain experience, you are one step closer to realizing your dream job. This process takes time, but in the end, will be worth it.
4. You are qualified
Sometimes job hunting can cause feelings like you aren’t worthy of a certain position. It’s a classic definition of a catch-22 where you need a job to get experience but you need the experience to get a job. When you are just starting out searching for your next job, you may begin questioning your skills if you have not been successful so far. It’s important to keep in mind that you got your diploma for a reason. When you walked across the stage as your name was announced and loved ones cheered, it was because you earned it. It means you did the work and learned the skills necessary in order to get started on building your career. Don’t question your worthiness of a job position. There is bound to be somewhere out there who will value your skillset and overall presence to have as part of their team.
5. It goes beyond your resume
If you think about it, your job is where you will end up spending a lot of your time and energy. Once you get hired, your life will likely become filled with roles, responsibilities and plenty of coffee. When job hunting, it will be worth it to do some research about the company and think if you really can see yourself working there for a long time. How long have they been around? Who’s in charge? Probably the most important, what is the culture like? On paper, you might seem like a perfect match who checks all the boxes of your employer. However, it is not always that simple and goes beyond what you have on your resume. If you are chosen to get interviewed, it would be worth it to ask about company culture. Based on what they say, think if it aligns with what you expect from a company and make your decision based on that. While they may only see your resume, there is always a person behind it.
6. You don’t always have to accept
Let’s face it: job hunting can be stressful. It can be especially stressful if it is taking longer than you expected and if it feels like you keep hitting dead ends in your searches. If someone were to actually offer you a job or interview out of the blue, it can be an extremely tempting offer. You might get lucky and actually end up really liking it and want to accept the offer. However, you should only do so if you truly feel like it will be a good fit. If you don’t feel like you would be successful or thrive professionally or personally, you can turn it down. You always have that power to turn down a job if it doesn’t feel right. Other reasons could be if the commute is too difficult or hours not working with your schedule. They will not take it personally nor give you a bad reputation. If you do end up turning down a job offer, it is always best to call rather than email. It might feel awkward initially, but it will quickly fade once you start talking.