Awhile ago, I started a segment called The Beginnings: Job Hunt where I explored some of my experiences in job hunting. Finding a job wasn't an overnight deal and throughout the process, there were so many lessons learned that I wish I had known about prior. Today I explore Part II, follow up suggestions for finding a job and retaining your sanity.
1. Back to basics. I can't speak for all college grads, but I left college a little less sure of the path I wanted to take in life. And frankly, that's a great thing. College opened a lot of doors to prospects I'd never considered and gave me the confidence to feel proficient in many more fields that I had before. Think back to a long time ago, when college counselors didn't dictate what classes you would take and what internship you needed to have. Think all the way back to the sandbox of elementary school and the toys you played with. What genuinely interests you? What do you enjoy doing? Are you a people person or do you prefer to work alone? Do you want to sit at a desk or be constantly on the road? Finding yourself and assessing the things that you enjoy is essential to a successful job search. Even if it isn't useful for life directly following college, your future permanent position should definitely involve something you enjoy. Once you start finding essential parts of who you are, you can better search for a job that will be a good fit.
2. Join the .coms. One of the first things I did when I was searching for a job was create profiles on monster.com and careerbuilder.com. They're websites that give you the capability to type in your interests and produce local job listings. They also give places that are hiring, a place to view your resume. But I have to be honest and say I wasn't entirely fond of .com job listings. Often times the jobs weren't 100% relevant or they required skills outside of my skill set. But I did use it to find the terminology of jobs I was searching for. There's at least 15 different ways to say "office receptionist" and knowing all those different ways makes your search more versatile. There were plenty of jobs in Psychology that I didn't even know existed until I searched them on monster. It's free and completely worth your time to at least browse these websites for positions you didn't know were available.
3. RESUME. I would definitely recommend asking a friend or family member to review your resume. A relevant, concise resume is essential to any job hunt. Without a good resume, you won't get the chance to interview and truly show employers what you have to offer. So ask anyone and everyone, particularly people you know working in the field to take a look. In my experience, I had several different resumes, specific to whether I was looking for a research position, counselor position or administrative assistant position. They listed the specific traits or experience I had that would be most relevant to the position. Also be aware of the layout of your resume, the easier your contact info is to find, the easier employers will be able to contact you. Do away with the bells and whistles, just make a clean record of what you've done thus far. Also don't fear if you don't have work experience, list any internships, volunteer or charity work you've been a part of. If you held any positions of leadership, definitely make a point to emphasize that. Lastly, SPELLCHECK.
Special Skills : Resistant to fungi. Hahaha
4. Adapt. If you find that you're not getting calls back and you've submitted an endless amount of resumes and applications, take the time to reevaluate your approach. Re-look at your resume, spell check the information you submit into an application or re-think the positions you're applying to. Try not to be too discouraged and stay open to change. There's a possibility your experience isn't competitive enough for the field you're looking into, try a different variation of your field. If you're trying to be a teacher and you're not getting hired, look into other programs working with kids or tutoring programs. If you're a English major looking to work in publishing, try your hand at local newspapers. Target one skill that will be beneficial to There's enough variation in so many jobs that you can find experience that will benefit a future job hunt once the job market has recovered a bit.
5. Take care of yourself. The job hunt can be stressful and discouraging. But don't feel embarrassed if it's hard for you to find a job. Reach out to your friends and make sure to keep your spirits up. I remember the months when I was job hunting, I found myself ditching phone calls from friends because I didn't feel like I had much to talk about. I mean all I did back then was search for jobs, watch endless amounts of TV and pick up my sister from school. Answering the "what's new" question with "absolutely nothing" wasn't enjoyable and I felt boring and uninteresting even though my friends never made me feel that way. If I could go back to that time, I would answer a few more of those phone calls to lift my spirits and keep myself from feeling so low. You'll find something, just have faith.
This week, I said goodbye to a friend near and dear to my heart, Charlotte the Camaro.
After following me from high school to college and all the way back to moving home, Charlotte has moved on to a new home. As my sister texted me while waiting in line for the Buzz Lightyear ride, my eyes involuntarily welled up with tears. Charlotte would no longer be in the garage when I came home. I suddenly felt a deep emptiness even though I had bought Ruby (the Prius) over 7 months ago. But there was a certain part of me that had a really hard time letting go of Charlotte, even though she sat in the garage with no one to drive her. We had so many good times together and she was my first.
For practicality sake, I’d parted with Charlotte for Ruby when I started my full time position that required the ability to drive at a moment’s notice. The sheer joy of a new car kept me from regretting the change from a convertible Camaro to the fuel efficient Prius. I also reasoned with myself that becoming an adult meant making good financial decisions and the Prius was the best financial decision I've ever made. But even now as I write this post, there’s a lump in my throat alluding to the sadness in my heart.
I won’t ever forget the party my parents threw me to give me Charlotte on July 24, 2005 with a cake that said "Have a Wheelin Good Time". My favorite moments with her were when I would put the top down on the drive to high school playing "Bossy" by Kelis, wearing a jacket because it was 7:30 in the morning. When I won homecoming royalty my senior year, Charlotte was the car I rode in for our homecoming parade as my Dad and Mom drove it. And when it was time for college, I packed her up and took her with me. In college, I drove her back and forth to the outlets (including the "flasher" incident, remember Jenny?!). One of my favorite memories was when I had my top down and I ran out of gas right on Olive Drive and Richards (which everyone knows is a small incline that dips under the train tracks) and 4 men jumped out of their cars to push me to the nearby gas station. When Rob finally came to meet me at the gas station, he looked at the tank top I was wearing and asked, "How many guys jumped out of their car???" Charlotte was my partner in crime and I loved her with all my heart. Basically over 6 years of memories with her and with a simple phone call, she's gone. I know it sounds silly, but I miss her.
She was a glorious car and I was a lucky girl to have gotten her in the first place. So far,my 20s have been all about closing some chapters of my life to open for new ones and although that transition is hard, somehow you always make it through. Even though I adore Ruby, Charlotte will always be the first car I loved and nothing will ever change that.
The people we sold her to promised to keep the name Charlotte and fix her up real good (which I know they will). And maybe someday, just someday... I'll own a convertible once again.
As the euphoric feelings of graduation faded away, unemployment and the daunting fear of not finding a job hit me like an 18-wheeler. The search for a full time job is what originally brought me to blogging, hoping to connect with other scared college grads like myself. Being officially a year out since my own graduation and hectic job search has put a lot of perspective on the whole process. As I breathe a little easier (as does my bank account) here are some of the things I've learned and would like to share with recent college grads:
1. Feelings are okay. First off, don't feel bad if you're scared/nervous/anxious about what comes next. You will undoubtedly have friends that have it "all figured out" and they've already got admissions to their grad school or have had a full time job lined up since last year. Don't feel bad or guilty for not doing so, everyone sets their own pace. Allow yourself to feel however you feel about the new stage in your life and know that you don't have to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. How did I deal with my post grad unemployment? I forced my parents to get an adorable dog to follow me around 8 hours a day. And now he's my Mom's favorite child.
2. Take time. If you feel a little burnt out from school, take a small break before you start the job search. The summer after college may be your last legitimate summer before adult life and you WILL miss it. Take a graduation vacation or just veg on the couch for a bit, while you keep your eye open for jobs. There has to be a few shows you had been dying to watch in college that you never had the time for. Enjoy some time and pat yourself on the back for the accomplishment that is finishing school. I know a lot of people don't have this luxury but don't be afraid to take some time to yourself if you can.
3. Don't fight the facts, live with them. There's no doubt about it we live in tough times. Here are the facts: 1. Unemployment is high so jobs are relatively scarce. 2.College grads aren't getting the jobs they used to get. 3. The job market will be partial to experience and it may seem to you that you have little to none. All recent college grads can attest to this and stating these facts over and over don't make them any less true. But that doesn't mean you're not capable of getting a job, it means you have to work within your means. If that means working a less-than-glamorous job to gain experience for your next, do it. If the annual salary is going to a basically leave you nothing but food, take it with the hopes of moving upward. I'm not saying settle, I'm saying what everyone else is sayin, times are tough.
4. Use your resources. Before you even start looking for a job, get yourself prepared using the resources you have. If you are a Davis grad, the ICC is a great place to start and edit a resume or look for jobs. I didn't take myself off the Psych listserve at Davis and that's how I found my current job. Even if you don't attend Davis, I'm sure there are resources on campus to help you, it's just a matter of finding and using them. Also, use your connections through your family and friends, it's much easier to swing for a job if you have a personal connection to someone.
5. Narrow your focus. The #1 problem I know people have in job hunting is not having a target job or category. Although college was about picking a major and focusing on that, it doesn't mean we'll be lucky enough to find a job in that field. Even more so, just because you got a degree in a specific field doesn't mean you can't branch out into others. Overall, focus your job search. Searching for jobs in Econ could range from bank teller to IRS intern to any financial department within the state. Pick 3 jobs/titles you would be happy with and first search only for those 3 jobs/titles. That way, you can focus your resume and cover letter towards a specific field and make yourself a better applicant. Widen your focus after you've exhausted all the options in your previous search.
With the official 1 year anniversary since I graduated college, I think it might be time to take it to the next level, starting with my blog. After a helpful discussion with a fellow blogger and traveling friend Mike from The Tall Gringo, my blog may be due for a face lift or two. So heads up to my readers while the dust clears, there may be some miscellaneous changes coming for "Life as I see it"
I started this blog as a place to chronicle the transition from young undergrad to adulthood. What that means is, I was looking for a place to whine about how hard moving home was going to be. And whine I have. However as I took on a job in the real world and learned some adult life lessons, the blog became not only a place for me to gripe and groan but also a place to help me share my adventures in becoming an adult (plus it gives my friends a place to check up on me once in awhile).
What this means for my blog is that I will still write about personal happenings but I will try and keep my focus on the transition into the adult world (which is a majority of what I've written about anyways). I've learned that a public blog is not meant to be a diary thus I'm learning to keep part of my private life, private. This also means some of my entries will become either password protected and maybe to private. If you'd like to read some of my old entries that are password protected, ask me for the password and I'll likely give it to you.
And since I'm horribly indecisive, this is the point at which I ask my readers (there's not many of you so don't be shy) for feedback, starting with my title and perhaps a domain name. "Life as I see it" was the first simple title I could come up with and I realize that it's too broad and not unique enough for the blog I envision.
I've added a poll where you can vote for which names you might like or feel free to add any additional blog title ideas you have. Just so you know, I'm torn between having my name in the blog because on the upside, my name is unique and potentially memorable but downside, there are a small pool of Evanis and there's a likelihood the blog will be tied to me forever. I'm thinking the content of my blog will be something I can confidently tie my name to but I guess you never know. Please vote based on what your opinion is, I'd love to hear it!
Thanks for reading and voting on the poll/commenting!