So you’re nearing the big day. Graduation is something we all look forward to, but low-key dread as well. If you know exactly what you want to do, and even have a planned path to get there, then this big step is a lot less daunting. But many of you probably aren’t in that safety boat. The biggest problem? Entry-level jobs aren’t really “entry-level” anymore. A bachelor's degree isn't enough to immediately land you a job. Most of the job descriptions ask for 1-5 years of experience. But you just graduated college? How are you supposed to get that experience? Unpaid internships are the best way, but those may not be offered once you graduate, and you may be at the point where you need to start making money.
I’m a recent graduate who, after navigating the no man’s land of post-grad life, finally landed a full-time job that’s actually in my career path. Full disclosure, I was an English major with a minor in Film, so a lot of this is geared towards people who have degrees in similar subjects. This is basically my advice and motivational tips for anyone who studied the humanities, communications, and arts.
1. My biggest piece of advice is to bulk up your resume!
The job search is horrible and endless, and I’m telling you quite frankly, that if you don’t have anything relevant to the types of jobs you’re applying, then you’re screwed. Build your resume while you’re still IN college… because once you’re out, those unpaid internships are going to be a lot harder to do. Join clubs and societies on campus. And no, I don’t mean Greek Life. I’m sure that could help with networking, but make sure you also do stuff that’s relevant to your career goals. Look for internships over the summer and during the school year. I know some people have to work another job, but try and make room for other opportunities, even if they’re not paid. It’s all about relevant experience when it comes to job hunting.
Bonus Tip: Join Odyssey! That’s one of the best incentives I tell creators when they join. It’s something to put on your resume, and you’re building a digital portfolio of written work.
2. Don’t worry about knowing exactly what you want to do.
Having a broad set of interests, which all kind of fall under a similar category, is a good way to go. It gives you more career options and versatility.
3. Don’t take a job that has nothing to do with your career goals.
Some people might advice the opposite, but I completely disagree. The first Adult Job you take should have something to do with your career goals. Those goals may change, but you want to take a position that will help you get where you want to go and gain that “entry-level” experience. Essentially, you need to find someone willing to take a chance on you. If you have a good network and connections, use those resources! Once you get that First Job, other things will fall into place.
4. Take breaks.
Constant defeat and rejection can make you feel worse, which is the exact opposite of what you need. So take small breaks to focus on other things and practice mindfulness.
5. I mentioned this earlier, but I should reiterate… Network with friends and random people on LinkedIn.
It may go nowhere, but it may also be the ticket to your first job.
6. Apply to anything and everything that sounds like something you could do and want to do.
My experience limit is 3-5 years. I don’t necessarily have that many years of experience, but sometimes employers will overlook that and take you on if you impress them.
7. Be brave and apply to jobs in other locations.
Unless you have to stay in a certain place due to a lease or family needs, don’t be boxed in and limited by the location. Branch out and take the risk. Your dream job could be open and out there, but not where you’re specifically looking.
8. Persevere and stick with it.
I was starting to believe I would never find anything, but, miraculously… I did. And you will too.