One of the absolute worst parts about being out of graduating from college is the job search. You’re finally out of school, looking for a new job because your current one sucks, or because you got fired. But seriously, you have to be an idiot if you do something to get fired with the way the job market currently is, so good luck if that happens. The job search is a painstaking, long, depressing, frustrating process that causes you to lose sleep. Let’s break it down…
This is by far the most time consuming part of the process. It’s pretty much writing three paragraphs about yourself and what qualifies you for the position, while trying not to sound like you’re begging for a job. It’s painful. Why can’t the hiring manager just read your resume and decide where to go from there? Is your ability to write something that barely qualifies as a short essay really going to make you stand out from the pack? Every time I think about changing jobs, I hearken back to my first job search out of college and how awful it is. You should’ve paid attention to networking more. It’d be a lot easier if people just came to you with these jobs.
You probably went to your fair share of these during your last couple of years in college, and stuffed your pockets with business cards of managers all over the region, or maybe you just went for the free pizza. Now, you’re going into a shark tank, out in the open amongst your competitors, praying to god that you didn’t get any sauce from the Swedish meatballs in the buffet on your suit. Your career is what you make it, and these career fairs are usually way too high energy for depressed, unemployed, recent college grads. Sometimes some asshole will even have the audacity to get up on stage and give a “your dream starts today!” speech. But you have to do what has to be done. Those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves.
Your email inbox is flooded each morning with updates from job boards, dirty pictures from friends and 15 different spam emails for Jos. A Bank sales. Ah, but a company has picked you as a preliminary candidate for their position in another city. Prep for that phone interview and work on your phone etiquette. I have a hard time talking on the phone in the first place. I hate not being able to see the face of the person I’m having a conversation with. Paranoia and self-awareness is heightened. Am I swallowing too loudly? Did I cover up the phone enough when I coughed? Did they put me on hold and laugh after my voice cracked? Why can’t they just give me the job? Did I seem like an asshole when I was asking questions?
Hopefully you did enough of this in college or else you’re really fucked. Your business casual wardrobe is going to get some serious mileage on it if you haven’t built at least the foundation of your professional network. Cocktail parties, seminars, lectures, social events and fundraisers are going to be flooding your calendar for the next months as you try and make that <del>first</del> right career connection. Again, you’ll find yourself drowning in business cards at the end of every event, pouring over every last detail of every conversation you had that night, wondering if people thought you were interesting or smart. A bachelor’s degree should be proof enough, right? RIGHT?!
Every afternoon, mom and dad are going to be hounding you for answers. Anything promising today? Did you call that guy I told you about? You know we can’t pay your rent forever, right? Your parents just want the best for you, until you’re in your mid-20s and are still living with them. Nightmare city. As if the pressure you’ve put on yourself wasn’t enough, the parentals are going to be twice as straining. The anxiety of their judgment alone would be enough to send you over the edge. Or you have normal parents and they stay supportive for a few months. But everyone has their breaking point. Just hope that your mom and dad’s fuses are longer than others.
The Application Process
You’re going to spend hours in front of your computer, but it won’t be because of YouTube, Gchat or HBOGO. A term paper would be a welcome use of your laptop, but instead you’re going from job board to job board, applying for every single job you think you’re qualified for, maybe even a few you’re not qualified for. Instead of Facebook stalking, you‘re LinkedIn stalking, seeing if any of your connections could hook you up with something. Hell, even an unpaid, postgrad internship would be a welcome change of pace from sitting in your pajamas until lunch. The jobs bleed into one another. Every description is the same as the last. “We are looking for success-driven, highly motivated, self starters…” Oh you are? I thought you were looking for AIDS-ridden vagrants without high school diplomas. Then you’ll undoubtedly deal with recruiters who found your resume on Monster and want to offer you awful jobs that you have no interest in, but you will take the interview anyway because you’ve become a whore, just like the rest of us.