No one can prepare you for the post-grad job search. Literally no one. You can find resources to fill your “tool kit” but the furniture will never build itself. Searching for your first job is not easy; especially when you are as picky as I am. I was always an overachiever. I graduated college early and had four summer internships with amazing companies. I thought I had it in the bag. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. If I have captivated your attention even in the slightest let me walk you through my journey and hopefully give you some tips along the way.
I hate to break the news to you but I thought I would go ahead and rip the bandaid off and let you know that there is no formula to finding your “dream job,” but I will say there are definitely some things that can make life a little easier.
1. Know What You Want
Ew yeah, I know this sounds so cliche and no I don’t expect you to automatically know what job title and company you want to work for but you need to have a good understanding of where your interests lie so you can narrow the search. I knew I wanted to be in digital media and specifically in influencer work so that’s exactly what I created LinkedIn alerts for. Knowing the kinds of jobs is only half the battle because knowing the type of company is important too. When you spend the majority of your week in the office, you need to make sure you like the dang place. What’s the culture like? As millenial/gen-z as it sounds, what’s the vibe? Can you see yourself there? These are all so important to ask yourself and I kept them in mind all the time during my job search.
2. Stay Organized
I mean it. Seriously. Keep your ducks in a row; you’ll thank me later. I personally used Airtable to keep things in order and it was a life saver. I would put the job title, company location, etc. but the most important part was I would keep a status tab and also links. Job boards are a huge thing and especially at bigger companies you can actually check your status directly on the site. Keep up with everything because there is nothing more embarrassing than a recruiter reaching out about the job you applied for at “X” company and you having no idea what the heck it is. Not to mention that keeping track of your status and the companies you apply for helps you realize any trends. I applied to over 100 jobs. I can’t even imagine trying to keep up with a quarter of those in my head.
Networking is something that I always took very seriously but it is never too late to start. People will always be the number one way to get into a company. Don’t know someone? Doesn’t matter! That’s the beauty of the internet ladies and gents! Use your LinkedIn Premium free trial! Get those 5 in-mail credits and shoot your shot. Make that introduction. Even if it doesn’t lead to anything in the moment you never know what the future holds. The job I ended up getting offered and taking was with one of my top companies but I don’t think this opportunity came to me simply by luck. I took the time to network with multiple people in the office. I even flew out to Los Angeles over fall break for the sole purpose of meeting more people. I kept in touch! I sent seasonal updates to all of my network just so I would stay top of mind and could continue to build those relationships. It sounds super cheesy but I can attest to the fact it does pay off.
4. Don’t give up.
I mean it. My biggest takeaway from this experience is that it is very easy to give up hope. From rejection emails to ghosting to constantly comparing yourself to others it is very easy to get down on yourself but don’t. By giving up I don’t just mean chucking your computer across the room and never looking at it again. I mean it in the sense of don’t settle. I see so many people settle with their first job and they are miserable and burnt out in three months. That sucks. Don’t just take the first offer because someone finally offered you something. Make sure you want it. The best example I can give you of my personal story is I applied to a job that would have been perfect (in my eyes) and I got rejected. I asked the recruiter what in particular made them go with another candidate and she told me they just wanted someone with more experience. A month later, I see the job is still open so I emailed the recruiter and pitched why I should be reconsidered and guess what? They offered me an interview! This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes “‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzsky’ – Michael Scott”
Listen, I know I’ve thrown a lot at you and if you’ve made it this far congrats because I probably wouldn’t have. Before I jump off my soapbox, I just have some final thoughts. This process sucks sometimes but it’s bearable. Also remember that you’re not alone. SO many people are going through the process and are just as annoyed as you. Don’t forget your worth and please for the love of all that is good; do NOT compare yourself. Your journey is yours. Everyone finishes the race at their own pace but let me tell you. You will finish and when you get to the other side it feels amazing.
Use the resources around you. Intern Queen and Career Queen helped me out alot and yeah yeah I know I’m biased but I mean it, seriously. Lastly, don’t forget to look at yourself in the mirror and smile. Be proud of who you are, remember where you came from and deep breaths. It’ll all work itself out. I promise.
Estefi Herrera was recently hired as an Account Coordinator at Fullscreen Media in NYC. Previously, Estefi worked as the Community Coordinator for Career Queen. Aside from work, you can find her scrolling on TikTok for an unhealthy amount of time, visiting friends in Atlanta, or finding new smoothie recipes. Say hi on Instagram!