Doug Fischer is an out-going Peer Advisor at The Career Center, graduating in a few short days. Today he shares his own experience with the job search, and some advice for you if you’re still searching for the right fit. Thanks Doug!
It’s nearing the end of April. You are a Senior graduating on the 28th. You are jobless and unsure of what lies ahead in your future. You’ve applied to a number of positions, gotten a few interviews, maybe not, but nothing has panned out yet. What do you do now? Whatever you do, don’t freak out! Believe me, I was in your position just a few weeks ago and freaking out seemed like a pretty fair reaction.
After final round interviews for the job I had thought was “perfect” for me did not lead to a position, confidence was lacking and disappointment settled in. But I listened to Winston Churchill’s advice, “If you are going through hell, keep going” and I kept on chugging! I applied to some more jobs, continued attending networking/career events, developed LinkedIn strategies, and grudgingly wrote a few more of those blasted cover letters. Furthermore, I divested my job blinders and took a more open approach to the available opportunities. I am a sports guy, always have been, always will be, but I strayed slightly from the sports path and looked into anything related to my skills and interests. I realized that straight out of college, I probably was not going to land what I close-mindedly dubbed my “dream job” and also discovered that my mind desired one thing (money, cough cough), but my personality matched others (autonomy, responsibilities, creative environment, professional development). This led to many more types of positions, industries, companies, and people that I could potentially work with and ultimately, directed me to the awesome position I landed with a company called Spark Force.
In applying this to your specific situation, I hope to encourage and motivate you to take a few actions, slightly alter your mindset, and resultantly succeed in finding something to do this next year. To start, (and I cannot emphasize this enough) networking and who you know is incredibly pertinent and useful. Every person you meet and every chance you have to meet new people is important and should be taken advantage of. Whether it’s a networking event, reaching out to people through InCircle, your Dad’s friend’s cousin’s dog’s best friends’ owner, somebody sitting next to you at the bar, professors, informational interviewing, or speed dating, talk to them! Get to know what they do, how they succeeded, who they work with and are connected to, what skills/experience is crucial in their industry, and anything else that could help. Connect with them on LinkedIn, send them occasional e-mails to stay in touch, and NEVER burn bridges. Seriously, you never know what ridiculously random connection or coincidence will lead to a job.
Secondly, have an open mind and consider a variety of positions. There are benefits and advantages to different jobs and just because it isn’t in your ideal industry or the company isn’t a fortune 500 giant, doesn’t mean it won’t be a valuable experience. To go one step further, if you do apply to a number of different positions, I guarantee that the right one will find you. Job openings have a natural way of finding and filling themselves with the most suitable and matched person. If you are extremely creative and autonomous, a position that locks you behind a desk in a traditional environment will not choose you. If philanthropy and corporate social responsibility are critical to you, a for-profit, money-scrounging position most likely won’t select you. Words of wisdom from Garrick Ollivander: “The wand chooses the wizard. That much has always been clear to those of us who have studied wandlore…” Just as the wand made of Holly with a phoenix feather selected Harry Potter, you and your job will mutually find each other.
Lastly, always look for ways to improve. When rejected, explore why and what you can do to correct any mistakes. Constantly improve your resume and cover letters. Ask experts and the people you interact with in your industry to find what is most coveted and what will help set you apart from the rest. Remember, there can only be one! Find ways to stand out and be unique. I largely attribute my job acquisition to the fact that I went above and beyond the calling and developed a marketing plan that I sent them as a Powerpoint presentation. They did not ask for this, but I figured it was a great way to showcase my creativity and ambition outside of the interview process and doubted the other applicants would do this. Think outside of the box and find ways to display your talents and skills, sometimes it’s extremely difficult for recruiters to fully understand your capabilities through an interview.
I hope this helps, because I understand your situation and the increasing anxiety that comes with it. But seriously, believe me when I say that everything will work out. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture and try to stay optimistic. When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on (FDR). There is plenty of time to get a job and hey, maybe a month or two break from school and responsibility is really what you need! Maybe you’ll discover an incredible opportunity working/traveling abroad or maybe next week you will get that job offer. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
Remember that The Career Center is open now and throughout the summer, so whether you’re a regular or have never been before, we’re here to help you explore your options and find a job that you’re passionate about. If the concerns Doug mentioned above resonate with you, make an appointment to see us!