As a fairly seasoned twenty-something (can I say that?), it has come to my attention that the most horrifying moment in your life thus far is also shared with one of the proudest. No, I’m not talking about your first period; that, ladies, is purely horror. I am talking about graduation. My final semester at the University of Minnesota was one filled with many an emotion. I was excited, scared, elated, scared, curious, and terrified. Everyone kept asking, “what are you going to do after you graduate?” and I wanted to shove a metaphorical pie in each and every inquisitive face before I answered back with a resounding, “NO FUCKING CLUE”.
I began searching for jobs around February thinking I was ahead of the game. Unbeknownst to me, I was beginning a fruitless search wasting countless hours writing cover letters that wouldn’t be read followed by fine-tuning my dumb resumé in an attempt to make it less dumb. It didn’t work. The thing about resumés and cover letters is that they don’t matter UNLESS SOMEONE IS READING THEM. So fast forward four months and 43 applications later and there I was: overwhelmingly underemployed. But then suddenly, in a matter of two weeks I went from zero prospects to having two amazing job offers. And as I depart from the deep, scary, black hole of unemployment, I bring with me a few words of wisdom that I hope can help my foxes who are digging for work.
LINKEDIN IS TERRIFYING
I consider myself moderately participatory in social media. I gots myself a facebook, I’m well versed in twitter, and I loves me some instagram. But no amount of personal, casual, and elective social media use could prepare me for the awful likes of LinkedIn. What the hell is it anyways? It’s like Google+ and MySpace met with Friendster for lunch at some 6Sigma retreat and decided to make a website. NO THANK YOU. It’s confusing, a waste of time, and made me feel really inadequate. I still don’t quite understand it, and to be fair, I didn’t devote much time to using it. However, I do know that it did not help me find a job, 2nd tier friending my dad’s work partners was awkward as shit, and there are some creepy people looking for a whole lot of “sales reps”. I’m sure LinkedIn is useful for some. But not all of us are nerds. NERDS.
MAKE YOUR RESUMÉ STAND OUT
Whoever will be looking over your resumé will be devoting a solid six seconds of skimming to your endless hours of tweaking and editing. Make it pretty. I bought a resumé template on Etsy and it’s one of the greatest $15 I have ever spent. I felt more confident sharing it and the graphics grabbed attention from the people who read it. The little things that set you apart from other candidates are what ultimately will land you a job. We foxes are fluent in originality; it’s okay to reflect that in your resumé. Everything over boring, always.
NETWORKING IS THAT REALREAL
Networking was a scary word as I began my search for employment. As a 24-year-old getting her doctorates in undergrad, I always felt uncomfortable talking to people about my job search. Somehow being a 5th year communications student working part-time in retail didn't quite have the ring I was going for. I didn’t want to burden people with my vicious lack of employ. Now I understand that my desperation just hadn’t kicked in. Talk to people. Tell them you are looking for work. Be specific about your strengths and your interests, but don’t limit yourself. As my job search came to a close, I realized my only leads happened because of my girlfriends in the know (I’m talking to you, Jen and Claire). If it hadn’t been for that word of mouth, I’d be writing a cover letter right now to some company who wasn’t going to read it. Connections are key; you just have to get your name out there.
DON’T GET DISCOURAGED
I’d say around mid to late April, I was getting real depressed. As fun as it is to get turned down for an administrative assistant position, the job hunt was getting hairy. Now this isn’t to say I was above an administrative assistant position- just the opposite- I really wanted that administrative assistant position. Which is why it sucked so hard to get a rejection email saying I wasn’t qualified enough. On the bright side, I got a rejection email saying I wasn’t qualified enough. Rejection becomes a courtesy many businesses aren’t willing to afford you in your search for employment. Don’t let it get you down. You are just as capable and worthy of a career as when you sent out your first resumé. Timing is everything. And it takes. a lot. of time. You will find a job, I promise. Keep the faith because you will need that confidence for when you finally get an interview. And you nail it. Because you’re awesome.
Searching for your first job is incredibly difficult. To me, graduation felt like when you were six and you made the mistake of climbing on the high dive and your sister pushed you off before you were ready (true story). Why there aren’t specific college courses required before entering the workforce is beyond me. But don’t let the unknown bog you down. Be tenacious, be original, and for the love of god, lean in. Go after the jobs you want with full force, but also be realistic. Ask for help. Rely on your girlteam for support. I can’t count the number of women who connected me or helped me in one way or another. And the next time someone asks what you’re doing next, hand them your pretty resumé and ask if they’re hiring.