Job Hunting and Post-Grad Life


As some of you know, I graduated from my Master's program back in June, and finished my internship earlier this month. At first, I was disappointed in myself for not having secured a job to start at right away, but became relieved after realizing a break was what I needed. However, one week turned into two weeks, and before I knew it, it had been nearly three weeks since I last had any type of responsibility... besides looking for jobs.

I've never really had any experience with "serious" job hunting, as the last time I had a real job was pretty much never. I've only ever truly interviewed once for a paid position, and that was back in high school to work at Hollister. Every other "gig" I've had, either consisted of volunteering as an intern, or... wait... yeah. That's about it.

My parents don't have a problem with me being at home, but a part of me dislikes the feeling of not being able to contribute to society. I feel like I'm doing nothing, and as nice as the idea of a break sounds, it's not so fun when you don't know when it will end. Has anyone else felt this way?

In an attempt to be productive, I've been doing a lot of research about job hunting, and turns out, there really is a big difference (more than I initially thought) between looking for internships or jobs that don't require a college degree (e.g., working at Hollister) versus trying to land a career-related position. You would think that it is kind of obvious, but hey... as a person that is new to this whole "I'm-trying-to-land-my-first-position-as-a-professional" thing, I really had no idea, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. 

With the help of family, friends, and the internet, here are some of the most helpful tips I've come across:

-- When emailing an employer your resume and cover letter, you want to make the email brief, yet thoughtful. Include a few skills you can bring to the company that other people might not be able to, and at the end, thank the person for their time, and include your contact information in the signature for quick reference. Also, don't forget to mention the exact name of the position you are applying to.

-- Be aggressive, but in a professional and polite way. If you don't hear from employers after a week or a week and a half of submitting your application, call them to ask if it has been received. If appropriate, emphasize that you really think you would be a good fit for the position, and list some of the qualities that you mentioned in the email.

-- This is an obvious one, but have as many people as you can look over your cover letter and resume, especially people in the field that you are wanting to work in. And remember-- you don't have to take everyone's advice. Always think about what you think will make you stand out and look your best, while simultaneously considering other people's thoughts.

-- For any interviews you attend, take a blank 'thank you' card with you. After the interview, fill the card out in the lobby, or in your car, and deliver it before you leave. Since your card is handwritten, you don't need to make it as formal as a cover letter. Briefly give thanks, mention something you enjoyed talking about, and how you look forward to their decision. If you want to email a thank you letter instead, check out this website for some great ideas. If you email a note, I would suggest making it longer, and more formal.

I would LOVE to hear about any job hunting/applying tips from all of you, and could definitely use the help.


aka Bailey said...

Oyyy, the real world is such a drag isn't it?! ;) Good luck with your job hunting - I am doing a bit of that now too, although I'm doing it because I hate my current job!!


floating thru fields said...

hey good for you for being productive and aggressive in a good way :)
I would say it really depends on who you know people are uneasy to trust newcomers but if someone they know is willing to vouch for you that can go along way. I would say call and make contact over the phone, it's harder for people to say no over the phone vs email. Talk to your college career placement services they have the inside track on the industry and can connect you and do research on companies you are interested in and then figure out who to contact