Real Talk: The First Job Search

Let’s talk about the fresh-out-of-college job search.

I had wanted to find the job of my dreams and have it locked in place before I graduated. The right opportunity for me didn’t have that same schedule in mind. Now, however, I am happy to announce that my job search has come to an end and I couldn’t be more excited about the result! Plus, now I get to figure out a fabulous work wardrobe.

My job search experience was a really eye-opening practice. I was able to experience a range of application types, as well as various interview scenarios and questions. I was able to focus my search as I learned from interviews what I wanted and did not want from a job opportunity. And I spent a lot of time with myself — I had to focus on me, my strengths, my interests, my stepping stones, and my ideal plans.

I am certainly no expert, but I do feel like I learned a few things during my job search and I want to share just in case you’re looking for your own great opportunity.

1. Be patient.
These things don’t happen overnight. Days, weeks, or even months can pass between application submission and a phone call, a phone call and an in-person interview, an interview and any kind of news. Securing a job takes time. Remember that and don’t freak out.

2. Be thorough.
Don’t stop looking. It is tempting, when an opportunity looks promising, to take a total break from the job search. But it’s important to always keep an eye out for leads (everywhere!). Twitter, LinkedIn, and job posting sites make this easy — following or subscribing to feeds that will alert you to jobs you might find interesting is a good way to stay informed when you might need a breather.

3. Figure out your story.
I have a degree in a major that very few people can understand right off the bat. If you do too, let me tell you ahead of time that this tip is especially important. When you’re applying to jobs, you will have to teach people what you can do; especially if the words on your degree won’t make everything clear, you will have to take your personal selling a step further throughout your job search. Work through your education and decisions up until the job search — understand why you did what you did, be able to link decisions to output and desires, and make sure you can communicate those things effectively in conversation.

4. Trust your gut.
I don’t think job opportunity decisions should be made solely based on emotion. I do think, however, that it’s important to pay attention to your gut reaction when it comes to comfort level with the job requirements, the office, and your potential coworkers. It is important to always consider the big picture, but remember that the big picture should include things like the fact that you felt at ease with your interviewer or the fact that the office was in a part of town that made you feel uncomfortable.

5. Practice self-appreciation.
You need to be your biggest fan throughout your job search. You are selling yourself and if you wouldn’t pick you, why should you expect anyone else to do that? Don’t beat yourself up if an interview went poorly. Realize that there are many factors at play in the hiring process, most of which are out of your control. Try hard, be consistent, and practice some enthusiasm, but also give yourself a break. Finding a job is a big job.

Hope this helps and good luck if you’re looking! Congratulations if you’ve got a great job already!


2 thoughts on “Real Talk: The First Job Search”

  1. Just went through this process myself, though it wasn’t my first job, but transitioning. Great points and break a leg!


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