Having to find an adult job when you’re about to graduate from university is basically the worst. It’s very intimidating and it can be really time consuming. If you’re like me, you probably find it really easy to get sucked into you’re work and have difficulty taking the necessary time to handle other things (e.g. eating healthy and exercising enough and job hunting) because school can feel pretty all consuming. When other people start securing jobs and you still haven’t, it can make you question your self worth to the upteenth degree; what am I doing wrong? Why won’t anyone hire me? Etc.
I recently got a job at a reputable financial company… And shortly afterwards Starbucks started rejecting me for jobs to be a barista from the last round of job applications. Even though I have a job now, it’s pretty hard to not feel insulted being denied to do a job I have done before (albeit at a different company) and when I have a damn university degree and am over qualified to do the job. Let’s face it, the job market sucks, and the sting of rejection can be pretty hard to brush off, no matter how secure you are.
However, have no fear, I think there are ways around to make it easier and you can get started now without it interrupting your life too much.
Leverage existing social connections, like friends and family.
The fact that my boyfriend knows people is how I got my job; he told the manager I was a decent person and that helped me get an interview, I wowed the manager from there and here I am.
I have put a few of my friends in touch with people who do things in their fields. For example, I have a friend who wants to do things with wildlife, so I put her in touch with someone else who is already established in the field. This can be really good if you’re looking for jobs in communities outside of where you currently live.
Get references; professors are good choices if your references are limited
References can be hard to come by when you are fresh out of school and professors, in my opinion, can make the cut until you get other references. If you can have 2 out of 3 be professional references, then that would be ideal, but do what you can. I have at least 2 professors, as well as supervisors from various volunteer experiences listed, and I have since included 2-3 more people who were colleagues/managers at other jobs since then. I keep a list of people so I can contact as many people as needed as I go.
Volunteering is ok; this is still 90% of my resume
I have a super long resume because I volunteer so much. I have actually had very few “real” paid jobs. I reference my volunteer positions the most when I go to job interviews; it was actually one of my volunteer positions that I talked about the interview that led to my recent job because that position gave me the most relevant experience. It’s also really rewarding, a great way to meet people, and can expose you to things you never thought about before.
Networking sucks… but like, at least try? And do things that are fun.
I’m pretty introverted, so networking is something I like to avoid. Some people love networking, some don’t. It’s definitely easier to network when you have a job though. Just do your best; sign up for some events and talk to people, don’t feel bad if you decide not to go or to dip out early. EventBrite, MeetUp, and local libraries are just a few places that have really good events at times. You can go to movie viewings, comedy events, etc.; doing things you like makes it easier to meet people
Also, join a gym and go to classes and plan to talk to people. Plan to join a running group, play in a charity golf tournament or curling bonspiel, sign up for a soccer team or art class. The list is endless. Getting to know people (e.g. planning to go for coffee with that person from your art class or for drinks with your soccer team) can be a great way to make new friends – especially if a lot of your friends move away – as well as (hopefully) meeting someone who knows someone at some point.
Have a plan
Try to research jobs (Indeed, Charity Village, college job boards, and company job boards are great places to check) and apply to them. If all you can spare is an hour a week, then work with it and accept that, while you’re in school, then that’s the best you can do.
Plan interview questions
What are your strengths? Weaknesses? What is your 5 year plan? Why do you want to work at the company? Interviews suuuuuck! Like so much. The only interviews I have been remotely successful at are the ones where they weren’t rigidly formal. But you should be prepared; practice and plan for the worst and most awkward case scenario and you should be good to go.
All in all…
I feel like there is only so much you can do about it, just do your best, rethink your approach and try to update it if you feel like you’re not getting anywhere, and try not to worry about it if it isn’t happening fast enough; as long as you are trying your best, it’s just a matter of I wish I had some kind of revolutionary advice for people. If you can, ask why you weren’t considered for a job (e.g. maybe your resume needs to be edited or beefed up, maybe you’re interview skills needs improving, maybe you need to volunteer to get more experience). Considering how you can improve is part of the process, but don’t beat yourself up for being a mere human.
Finding a job after you graduate sucks, it can take months (it took me 10 months find a job and it was in retail, I hated getting stuck there when my friends were getting jobs in their field; 6 months later I had a job at a finance company and all was well). It can be discouraging, embarrassing or frustrating when you don’t know why you are the one who can’t get a job (but, trust me, lots of us take for ever to get a job and there is no rhyme or reason to it!). People will give you so much advice, like I have here, and maybe you’re now rolling your eyes at me and thinking I am not telling you anything you didn’t already know. I get it because I would try to get help from people and they’d tell me the same basic stuff. To manage this, I have tried to suggest a different way to network, a manageable way to plan your job application process etc.
Just know that it will work out. I have faith in that, if nothing else. Good luck as graduation approaches.