Exactly a year ago, I began my post-college job search. A little late for some, I know, especially if you’re in the business school and you began looking for internships-that-will-become-jobs during junior year. But here we are, a year and change from my initial job search process, and I’m back at it again. Job searching.
My situation is a little different than most, as I’m in a nine-month, temporary position that allows me the freedom to openly pursue continued employment elsewhere without provoking irritation or confusion from my current employer; however, I know I’m not alone, even in my friend base. It’s not uncommon to discover that you would like to change industries, locations, or companies a year or less into your first adult job—a first job is simply a starting point, something to send you in the direction of a career or location that you would ultimately prefer to be in.
That is, ultimately, my situation. I like my job, I enjoy my office, and I know there to be many pros to outweigh the cons of my current position. But the kicker? I don’t like Colorado. Not that it’s not a great state with excellent winter sports, but it has one major flaw for me—its 2,000 miles and two very expensive plane rides away from my friends and family. I discovered the reality of this over winter break when I tried to return to Colorado from Baltimore by way of a layover in Atlanta. Unfortunately Delta was delayed, I missed my connecting flight, and I spent the New Year plus three days in Atlanta because there simply were no other flights back to Colorado. Long story short—I want to be closer to home, closer to my friends, and closer to the main hub of millennial employment—Washington, DC.
As I’m on my second job search in a year, I thought I’d share what has worked best for me in terms of job search databases and generally maintaining personal sanity. I’ve explored basically every job posting board out there, from Indeed, to Monster, HigherEd Jobs, Tribe Careers, and LinkedIn—and my favorite database, hands down, is LinkedIn. Why? You can filter for jobs based on location, experience level, and industry; the posting page will show you how many people have applied for said posting and their relative levels of experience and education, and how you stack up. Jobs you are particularly qualified for will appear with a tagline that puts you in the top X percentile of applicants, and who doesn’t like a confidence boost? In regards to networking, companies with contacts in your network will display the contact on the right side of your browser, allowing you to connect with the contact and gain a potential personal introduction to the hiring team.
I’ve also had some success with posting resumes to public job boards, which allows recruiters to come to you. Job searching is hard work and equates essentially to a part time job, so why not let companies reach out to you based on your qualifications?
Additionally, if you know there is an industry you want to break into, there is absolutely no harm in reaching out to people in your network who have experience in said industry, and asking for advice. You’ll gain knowledge, which is always valuable, but also a potential introduction to the industry, and in the best case scenario, a possible referral.
As for maintaining sanity, that is, for me, the hardest part of the job searching process. You can control the number of jobs you apply for, and the cover letters you write, but you cannot control the competition. You have no ability to know when a company will call you for an interview, or even if they will. You may never hear from them again—or you may get a request for an interview the next day. It’s a game of roulette. The best thing to know is that, as a William & Mary student or graduate, you are in the minority of young adults with a Top 50 college degree. That doesn’t guarantee anything of course, and in many cases careers do require an advanced degree—but it’s a foot in the door. You’ll find that many companies are willing to train you, or hire you on a temporary-to-hire basis. You have potential, and you have a degree—two of the most important things on the road to developing a career.
As for me, I’m still in the middle of it. I graduated less than a year ago, and I’m still learning so much about adult life in general. I’ve learned about myself as well—maybe higher education isn’t the only potential career path for me; maybe it’s okay to try and fail. I’ve made many mistakes in my six months as a working professional—but I’ve learned lessons that will carry me through the continuation of my burgeoning professional career.
It will be interesting to see where things land in another six months.