Reality will be knocking a tad too early for those getting ready to graduate in a few short months (cue the dramatic music). Even though some of us have already found a job (lucky) or have other plans after walking across the stage, the rest of us are facing our computer screens looking for that first real person job. But where do you even start? And how do you do it without breaking down into a puddle of anxiety?
You vs. The Job Market
It can be tough to find a job. So go ahead and have a nice pity/panic party. Have coffee with your friends and talk about how hard it is. Rant about how low the average salary in your career field is. Get it out of your system now because those thoughts can paralyze your job search later and make it even harder. It’s okay to be scared but it’s important to get over that fear and face it.
Knowledge is Power
Ask professors, friends, family, advisors, Career Services, your next-door neighbors and anyone else you can think of about anything you could possibly want or need to know. What are salary requirements? What companies are you interested in? Start by browsing through job sites and listings to see what you need to know, and then hit up Google or your parents for help.
Once you wade through enough research, you’re going to find common things you need such as references, work samples, etc. Before you even start applying, ask professors and employers if they’ll write a reference for you and get their contact info. Have someone glance over your work samples and resume to help you polish them up. Organize all the info (and back it up because we all know how technology likes to mess with us sometimes) so it’s easy for you to find. Then it’ll be easy for you to plug and chug that info right into those online applications or send your materials to recruiters.
Eyes on the Prize
Set daily, weekly or monthly goals to help keep you on track. Whether you want to apply to five jobs a week or 50 in a month, a goal will help you measure your progress. Have a friend hold you accountable to your goals (and return the favor) so you can see the progress you’ve made and stay motivated to keep going. And treating yourself to a job well done is definitely allowed.
Let your hair down
You already had one pity/panic party. But when the search gets tough or frustrating, let out that steam. Find the best friend for the job (the one who lets you complain as much as you want then helps you get yourself together) and just let it out. Keep calm and blog, talk or work it out.
Getting your feet wet in the job market can be intimidating and scary. Don’t beat yourself up for not being the boss of job searching and floundering a little bit on your first tries. If you prepare and ask questions, then you’ll be ready to dive into the wonderful world of cover letters and not drown in the depths of despair.
Photo by Teddy Walker