I always thought while I was in school, it was okay to not know exactly what I wanted to do with my life and once I graduated, I would just know and opportunities would come to me, but MAN, was I so wrong…
Sure, it’s okay to not know what you want to do while you’re in school, but once you graduate shit gets real and fast. I personally was not in a financial position to dilly dally post graduation, so it was super important that I find a job pretty quickly and preferably in my industry. I looked and looked for months and all the jobs I came across that described the things I wanted to do were looking for someone with 10+ years of experience. THIS, was so frustrating. Like how in the world am I ever going to get 10 years of experience if no one will give me the time of day… Anyway, needless to say, it was a struggle.
Looking back, if I had just done some simple things while in school, I would have felt so much more confident and informed in my job search.
- This one sucks and truthfully is probably one of the hardest, but Get Out In Your Community and Network! The word networking literally makes me cringe, because I am sort of an introverted and anxious person, but just breathe and remember that networking simply means getting to know people who have the same interests as you. People who work in your desired industry can help you more than anyone else out there because they have been there. So get out there and join as many Facebook groups and networking events as you can. It will seriously help!
- Intern, Intern, Intern. Try to find and apply for as many internships as you can. Most of them probably won’t be paid, but that is okay. Internships are for getting some experience in the real world, building relationships, and figuring out if that job is something you could do for the rest of your life. For me, internships were tricky because I wanted to apply and be involved in as many as I could get my hands on, but unfortunately, I had to work basically full-time while I was in school. BUT if I could go back, I would have tried to do something… anything to get into more internships, because I wouldn’t have been so overwhelmed while job hunting post graduation!
- Get A Part-Time Job In Your Industry. This job doesn’t have to be super difficult or exhausting. It actually shouldn’t be either of those things, so that you can still focus on school and not spread yourself too thin. I worked at the retailer Michael Kors for 3 years while I was in school. While I was there I got promoted twice… This looks amazing on a resume, especially if it’s in your field of work. It shows that you can not only stick with something for a long period of time, but you also worked hard while doing it.
- If possible, Build Your Own Personal, Side Projects to use in a visual portfolio! This not only shows that you know what you’re doing within your field, but it also shows that you can think outside of the box. Getting a business degree? Create your own business along with a business plan. Getting a marketing degree? Create a new product and plan a unique marketing campaign for that product. It will take time, dedication, imagination, and mostly importantly patience, but aren’t employers looking for all of things in an employee? Yes! Plus you have additional projects and experience to show in your interview!
- Don’t Work Yourself Too Hard. This is probably the most important thing anyone could have told me while I was in school. I went to school full-time while working full time… At one point, I had 3 jobs. I know… I was crazy, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! If I could go back, I would have had more fun, not stressed so much, and lived a 20 year old’s life because before you know it, the adult world will literally be knocking on your door every morning at 7:30am.
Be young! Enjoy life! And ALWAYS stay hungry for the next opportunity.