Finding a job as a recent college graduate is like being in middle school all over again. It’s ugly, undignified, and you spend half your time trying to get people to like you and the other half talking bad about them behind their back.
“I didn’t even want to work there anyway, their office smells like eggs…do you think they’ll give me a second interview?”
While I’ve only been in this Fun House of Rejection for seven months, I’d like to offer some unqualified advice for the young college seniors out there who are about to enter this hell hole as well: start applying now. Take a break from the beer bongs and Senior Scramble and start hitting up those connections that you made at that crappy internship in that area you don’t want to work in anyways. Because if you don’t start looking now, let me break it down for how it will go after you graduate:
- You move in with your parents “for the summer”: Yes, while we all like to think that we will move in with our parents for two months until we find the perfect job, the reality is that you will enter into a downward spiral of depression once you realize that you aren’t qualified for anything and no one actually wants to hire recent college graduates.
- You assume you’ll get a job within a few months: Probably not. Even the most qualified of the graduates will have trouble finding a job that isn’t working part time at a café for minimum wage (what I do now). In fact, assume you won’t get a job – then you’ll be surprised if the miracle of all miracles actually happens.
- You’ll quickly learn that applying for jobs takes so much longer than you think it will: each cover letter, which the devil personally invented to make life on Earth a living hell, takes like an hour. You sit there painstakingly crafting the perfect ode to employment, only to realize, six months later, that no one actually reads cover letters. Many companies have recruiting software that just scans your resume for the right words, and your first child of a cover letter floats off into oblivion, never read by anyone but yourself.
But before I start sounding too depressing, I have advice for you to avoid my mistakes! Again, not that I’m qualified, I still don’t have a job, but these words of wisdom come from my observations of the experiences of my peers that have already found their jobs. In fact, two of my best friends have landed their dream jobs right out of college – and you can too! But how did they do it?
- Start applying now. Did I say this already? MUST BE BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT. It will take longer than you think to find a job. Take whatever number of months you have in your head and triple it. TBH, college career centers generally suck and won’t light the fire under your butt, so you have to do it yourself. Don’t wait until May to start applying – you might convince yourself that you’re too busy and have to wait until after finals to apply, but once finals pass you realize you having nothing but time stretching ahead of you like the elastic of old underwear and you’re living Birthday check to Christmas check like the broke fool that you are.
- Exploit every connection that you have. Ask your weird Aunt about that friend she has that works at a firm in Portland. Email the office manager of that random internship you had and didn’t really like. Really, just contact everyone you ever knew and toe the line between downright begging for a job and threatening to egg their house if they don’t hook it up.
- Go to those awkward alumni events. I’ll be there, in the corner, nervously twitching and sticking free food in my pocket for later (you’re on a budget now, all dignity goes out the window). Make those connections! Be more outgoing than you’ve ever been in your life!
K I’ve spent the last hour writing this bad boy instead of applying to jobs like I should so I’m gonna go cry over my diploma then resume The Hunt. Now’s the time for action, my friends — start emailing your connections now and making that LinkedIn profile you should have made three years ago. And if you don’t know what you want to do in life and you don’t know where to begin, just pick something. You have plenty of time to figure it out later, and it’s a lot better to be an administrative assistant while you figure out your life then doing it from your parents garage on your 23rd birthday.