1. The job won’t be as important as the location it’s in.
Apply to jobs in places where you can envision yourself living; somewhere you won’t feel completely alone, somewhere you’ll want to get off your couch at night after a long day in the office to go explore, somewhere you can afford the rent without needing to live paycheck to paycheck. It will be important to like the job you’re working, but just as important to live somewhere you can build a life for yourself outside of work.
2. Be picky—but like, not too picky.
Of course you need to think about what kind of job will make you happy. You don’t want to turn into one of those people who hates their life from 9-5. But you’re also new to this. If you want a job with no downsides, where you’ll be earning top wages, and everyone at your office magically loves everyone else, you might as well get used to unemployment. Prioritize the things that you want from your job and only be picky with the most important things on the list. As you work your way up and gain more experience you can afford to get pickier.
3. You’re going to have to be realistic.
If you want a job in the entertainment industry, you are not going to start as a director. If you want a job in New York, you probably won’t be able to afford rent by working as an artist. For me, I’ve realized that I probably will have to move home for a bit to save money because the jobs I’m after don’t pay entry-level employees enough to afford Los Angeles rent. It’s fun to dream about your post-college life before it begins, but you need to be realistic about what it might actually look like so that you don’t fall on your face and lose all the money in your bank account.
4. You have value beyond your resume.
The kind of employee you’ll be and the kind of person you are can’t be captured on a single piece of paper. Don’t be discouraged if you have only a few minor jobs or internships to show on your resume right now. There are other ways to display your full personality to employers, whether that be through cover letters, your website, a blog, or a portfolio of work you’ve done on your own.
5. But still, your resume needs to be as close to perfect as it can.
Employers don’t have a ton of time to look in-depth at each applicant’s portfolios, websites, etc., and whether they do or not will depend 100% on how your resume looks. Don’t have spelling mistakes, don’t allow it to be over two pages long, make it look neat and organized, and pack as much information about how great you are into the space you’re allowed. Don’t let your greatness be undermined by a sloppy resume.
6. Interviews don’t need to be terrifying.
The interviewers wants to like you. Walk in knowing that you need to find out if the company is a good fit for you just as much as the company needs to find out if you’d be a good fit for them. You’ll know when you click with an interviewer, and you’ll know when you don’t. Be open, be respectful, and be confident. If nothing else, every interview is good practice for the one that will land you the job you’ve been waiting for.
7. You have time to figure it out.
If you don’t have a job lined up by the time you graduate, it isn’t the end of the world. You have your whole life ahead of you to work, but in the time you’re hunting for a job relax and enjoy being able to spend weekdays with friends and family, not having to sit in rush-hour traffic, and still having what seems like endless opportunities in front of you. You’ll probably be reminiscing about these days in the future.