Finding Your Niche
You just graduated and you are being thrust into the big world.
For the past twenty-ish years of your life, it has been planned out for you. You go to school, make good grades, go to college, make good grades, and get an internship. You no longer have your professors or guidance counselors or parents guiding your decisions. You are on your own. This is your wake-up call, you can do what you want, when you want it. Europe, anyone? But after the luster of receiving your diploma has worn off, you begin to realize that the world is open to you and that is a frightening concept (or it was for me at least).
When I graduated, I thought that I had reached the pinnacle and it would effortless to land my first “real” job in the Public Relations field and I would be so successful that they would promote me to Account Manager and I would be a lifer at that organization. My expectations and my reality collided and my beliefs of effortlessness were put to bed.
I thought that I had reached the pinnacle and it would be effortless to land my first “real” job
The things that professors told me in college about it being easy to find work began to be slowly peeled back to reveal that in today’s economic climate having a good internship, good grades and proving yourself in school will not necessarily land you a job. When I graduated in 2011, the economy was unstable at best. Volatile is probably a more apropos description. I as a recent college graduate was competing with professionals who had actual years of experience in the field and I couldn’t compete. Some of my friends were lucky enough to land jobs from their internships but I wasn’t that lucky. My job hunt felt like I was wading through the briar patch and the thorns of rejection and the stickers of never hearing back were beginning to take its toll. I thought I was destined to work retail for the rest of my life. I made a commitment that working retail for the rest of my life was not an option and I would get another internship to beef up my resume..
When you graduate from college, you think that you can only apply to jobs that are in your field
I landed an internship at a local-nonprofit as their Public Relations and Event Planning Intern. I helped with events and logistics but mainly I input data in Raiser’s Edge. This internship kept me busy and helped ease my frustrations about my unemployed status. I wrapped up my internship in July and landed a temporary HR position at a local school district. This opportunity catapulted me in the HR field. I was basically thrown into the deep end and asked to not only stay afloat but also help the HR department have a semblance of order because of the restructuring that was taking place at school district. This position helped crystallize my focus on what I wanted out of a career path. And I landed a full-time permanent position in the HR field after that temporary position
When you graduate from college, you think that you can only apply to jobs that are in your field but my winding path led me to realize to not limit yourself to only jobs that are within your field but think about what types of things you enjoy and then find a position that matches those things. Working at a Temp Agency is one way to test out what you like and don’t like. Graduating from school is scary enough without really knowing what you want to do with you degree.
My tips for not getting frustrated with your job hunt and to stay calm when you aren’t hearing back from organizations that you applied to are as follows:
- Work at TriStarr – temporary positions are an amazing opportunity to get experience and to find what types of positions you enjoy
- Network – join organizations that interest you and meet people that could help you on your job hunt
- Make a list of things you enjoyed about previous work experiences
Until next time,