Lessons I Learned: Finding a Job After College

As you might already know, this past summer was filled with a lot of struggles for me, particularly revolving around my job search. I graduated from college in May without a job set in stone (unlike most of my friends), and while it was incredibly frustrating, finding a job I was happy with was the biggest reward (even though it took 3 full months).

Today I thought I would share with you all some of the lessons I learned regarding finding a job after college and dealing with the difficulties of the search.

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1) Do Reach Out To Your Connections

This might be an obvious one, but it’s incredibly important. There is no reason to be shy when reaching out to people to help you find a job. Yes, the workplace is competitive, but at the end of the day your friends and family care about your success and everyone wants to add on someone they know to their company (imagine how much more fun it is to work with your friends).

Don’t Lose Touch With Previous Managers

This was an important one for me, that unfortunately I didn’t stick to. Being able to email old coworkers and managers is a great way to hear about jobs within those companies (i.e. at a place you interned). On top of that, a lot of places ask for references and it is especially beneficial to be on good terms with your old managers so that you can a) use them and b) have them give rave reviews. And yes, people really do call your references.

2) Do Be Open To Jobs You Hadn’t Considered Before

Don’t set your mind on one specific job and then give up if you don’t get it. I would have loved to work in sports marketing, but those jobs are very competitive and I wasn’t fortunate enough to get the opportunity. I also never considered a job revolved around writing before, and that’s where I am now, and I enjoy it! So you never know, apply to jobs that might intrigue you even if it’s not what you necessarily want to focus on.

Don’t Settle For Something You Know You’ll Hate

I cannot stress this one enough. I interned in sales at a big insurance company and I hated it. When I graduated with a marketing degree, everyone kept suggesting I apply to sales jobs. But I knew I would hate it and I refused. This was the best move, because I end up finding a job that doesn’t have anything to do with sales, and it’s been such a relief. If you really hate something, don’t force yourself to love it, because it’s never going to happen.

3) Do Utilize Your Career Center’s Resources

Most colleges and universities have a career center. Use it. They will edit your resume and cover letters. They will give you advice for interviews and follow ups. They will give you insight into companies you’re interested in. This is an invaluable resource that you won’t have in the real world and you should absolutely take advantage of it.

Don’t Rely On Your Career Center For Everything

With that said, they probably won’t be able to help you with everything you need. With my career center, most of the job postings were for sales. Because I wasn’t interested in sales, I had to turn to other job posting websites (such as Indeed.com and LinkedIn.com). I started out thinking the career center’s website was enough, but it didn’t have nearly all the jobs in the world (including the one I have now). Take advantage of the million of websites online, but maybe stay away from Craigslist.com.


4) Do Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Companies use LinkedIn! After many interviews (and occasionally before), someone from the company I was interviewing with would take a peek at my profile. On top of that, I have received countless messages from recruiters asking if I was interested in a job. Keep your profile updated and detailed and connection requests and emails will roll in.

Don’t Upload Inappropriate Pictures/Posts on Social Media

Companies also check your social media. This is not a myth (I have seen a woman at my office searching potential hires’ Facebook pages). You don’t have to clean up your Facebook and Twitter from top to bottom, but you should absolutely refrain from swearing and posting pictures (i.e. partying with friends).

5) Do Stay Committed To Finding A Job

I’ve always said that finding a job is a job in itself, and it really is. It can take a lot of work to find a job that you like, interview with them countless of times, and finally get an offer. And this process usually happens multiple times with multiple jobs. Just stick it out, because eventually you will find something that will further your career

Don’t Stress if it Takes Awhile

Over the summer, I was incredibly frustrated. Not only was I stuck at home with my parents, but I was stuck at home with no money. It was hard, and boring mind you, and stressful. Looking online every day for new job postings can be annoying, but it will be worth it in the end. Just remind yourself that there will be something out there for you!

Well that’s all, I’m sorry if that was a bit extensive, but I hope it was helpful! What are some things you’ve learned while looking for a job?