Hello world. I am a recent college graduate from the tiny, perfect, occasionally hell-like, Kutztown University. Forty courses, one internship, experimental all-nighters with Adderal, involvment with two campus organizations, a whole lot of tequila, endless papers, and a ton of memories later, here I am. I hold a diploma – well, will hold a diploma as soon as they decide to mail me mine… – that reads “BA Communication Studies” and a whole bunch of other crap w/a president or a staff member’s copied signature. I still think I should have minored in napping.
Is it just me, or did those four years go by a little too quickly? Don’t get me wrong – I was more than ready to leave. But now what? I’m back at home with my new roomies, mom and dad, applying to numerous jobs a day with a resume that may or may not be correctly formatted (because apparently there’s twenty-six different ways of writing one) and a cover letter that constantly has to be edited to fit this job description which I am probably not viewed as applicable for because you need two years of experience in just gaining experience. Ugh. Remind me again why we always desired to grow up so quickly. If this is adulthood, I’m going to need more margaritas.
I have faith that my experience and hours of work over the past four years will eventually land me with a job. You should, too, so don’t panic. But over the past couple weeks of my new-found “adulthood”, I’ve come to realize a few things…
1. Finish the damn application. Even if it cuts into an hour and a half of your Netflix addiction. Maybe the company just wants to see who is willing to finish the entire application, because they’re probably the candidates worth an interview. No one ever said that applying to job postings was going to be easy – but in the end, it’s (supposed to) be worth it.
2. Networks are important, but never a guarantee. Sure, you’ve spent the last half of a decade making connections. But just because your dad’s, co-worker’s, brother works at some company you’ve never heard of, and maybe even gets your resume to the top of the pile, doesn’t mean you have the job. Keep in mind that if you’re lucky enough to get an interview due to a connection of a connection, you better be prepared because to this interviewer, you’re just another entry-level, college graduate.
3. Keep building your resume. Just because you’re done school does not qualify you as experienced. A company doesn’t want to hire someone who sat on the couch following their graduation date. Take initiative. Start freelancing, blogging, researching – whatever. A diploma is not an excuse to call it quits until an opportunity arises (which also does not happen by magic, go figure.)
4. Do not envy your peers who are seemingly “doing better” than you. Trust me, I know the feeling of seeing “Congratulate so-and-so on their new job” on your LinkedIn timeline. You’re thinking, ‘oh, please, I’m more qualified than her/him!‘ And so you may be. But hey, green was never your color and your professors prepared you that it is a dog eat dog world out here. There is no reason to feel discouraged. If anything, be happy for those surrounding you and know that this, too, means there’s a fighting chance for you! Your time will come; just be patient and keep working your ass off doing what you’re good at.
5. Don’t stress. Don’t panic. Don’t spend too much time treading the water just to forget how much you’ve always loved to swim. Take every job application and every interview with a grain of salt, a slice of lime, and a shot of tequila (afterwards, of course). You are no where near as lost as you think you are. Your opportunity will come. Visit new places, learn a new hobby, dream big. Do all the things you’ve always wanted to do because now is your chance to do so. Twenty-something is not nearly as old as we like to think it is. You were lucky enough to walk away from four years (maybe five) of college with at least some of your sanity still intact, so don’t blow it now – no matter how many people ask you the terrifying question, “What are you going to do, now?” Tell them that you? You are on your way.
Happy job hunting,