As graduation gets closer and closer, the one thing that’s on everyone’s mind is “What do I do now?” Should I go to grad school? How do I find a job? What’s the job hunt going to be like? We’ve been in school all of our lives and now we have to put to use what we’ve learned over the past couple of years and go out there and find a job. My beautiful and talented friend, Rebecca, gave me some of the best after graduation advice a couple of months a go. Today, I have asked her to share on the blog the process she went through finding a job after graduation and how she powered through it…
“I’m not moving to New York City without a job.”
Yes, I wanted to work in publishing, but NO, I would absolutely never move without having a job secured first. I refused to become another English-grad statistic who spends her days brewing other people’s coffee and wondering what would’ve happened if she’d just studied something useful. “Whatever I do,” I’d say, “I’m not moving to New York City without a job.”
Four months later, I moved to New York City without a job.
(Note: If you tell God you’ll “never” do something, prepare to be asked to do it.)
I started out as a hopeful recent grad and was quickly disappointed, with an outbox containing over seventy job applications—most of which never received a response. After praying and journaling and dreaming, I felt like God said to me, “You keep saying you trust Me, but how much do you trust Me, really?” I trusted Him enough to buy a one-way ticket to New York City and hoped for the best.
I spent three months as a temporary employee at a publishing house, as low on the totem pole as you can get. I pushed my introverted tendencies aside and connected with as many people as possible—lunch meetings, LinkedIn connections, before- and after-work conversations. When my time as a temp was finished, I had a well-respected company on my resumé and an arsenal of connections in my network.
By the time January rolled around, I’d had no “real” interviews since August. Then I had three in one week. One interviewer said she was impressed that I managed to get into the industry without having an internship first (IT’S POSSIBLE!) and offered me my current position. The eight-month job hunt came to a close, landing me in the company of my dreams. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the faithfulness of a God who never fails, a family who always supports, and the close of one of the most difficult, humbling, rewarding seasons of my life.
Just do the thing.
Whatever the thing is, do it—taking a gap year, going to grad school, chasing a dream. For me, the thing was moving to New York City. At 21-years-old, I didn’t have much to lose. I knew that now is the time to take risks and make mistakes. If there’s ever a time to pick up your life and move it across the country, it’s now.
Networking is awful, and necessary.
Getting a job took countless conversations with countless people. There were the family members who let me crash with them while I applied for jobs (Thank you!), the friends-of-a-friend who met with little old me to let me pick their brains (Thank you!), and the unbelievably generous professionals who forwarded my resumé to the right people (Thank you!). There were SO many people who helped me get where I am, and I only hope I can be that person to someone else someday.
Use your resources. Once you’ve exhausted those, find some more.
Get creative! Did I land my dream job through one of the many applications I sent into cyberspace? Nope. It was through a temp agency, a route I hadn’t considered until someone suggested it. I Googled vigorously and found an agency that provided temporary jobs in my field, then called and emailed and interviewed until it worked. I spent my time mindlessly scanning and filing papers for a big-name company, but once that company was on my resumé, my foot was in the door.
Trust. Trust. Trust.
If there’s one thing New York City has taught me, it’s that I’m not in control. I can take all the right steps and meet all the right people, but when the subway breaks down and my hard drive crashes and a bird poops on my head on the way to work, all in one day (true story), I’ve learned to roll with the punches. The same goes with the job hunt. What a beautiful relief it is to hand the steering wheel of my life over to the One who is in control, who sees what’s ahead and knows just how to prepare me, teach me, and help me grow.