There’s no denying that finding a job can be hard. Whether it’s a summer job or your dream job, each one is a process and ends with either good or bad results. It makes it harder when you’re a recent college grad trying to push forward on your path to adulthood but find yourself taking a step back. As someone who's been out of school for a couple of years and currently in grad school, I’ve had my fair share of rejection and acceptance when it comes to jobs. Hopefully, with these seven tips that I’ve learned over the past few years, you can take something out of it if you’re feeling lost or discouraged.
Photo: Amy Hirschi on Unsplash
Find a way to stand out
This can be for anything. Whether it’s adding something interesting and fresh on your resume or cover letter that no one has, or wearing your sharpest power suit to the interview, finding that one little thing that makes you different from the rest can make a big difference. Because let's be real, no hiring manager wants to read the same thing over and over again.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Going into an interview thinking the worst and psyching yourself out is common. Believe me--I know and have been in that same position many times. It’s hard to know what to expect when you walk in that door and sit in front of someone behind a desk. But one thing that I’ve learned is that interviewers like when you ask them questions. Even if it’s something as simple as repeating themselves on something they said or going into more detail about it. It shows them that you’re interested in the job you’re going for instead of just saying you have no more questions, sitting there in awkward silence and inevitably being the one to end the interview.
Make sure everything is updated and formatted correctly
If there’s one thing I make sure I always do, it’s this. Because here’s the thing: employers are going to be looking at who you are in paper before they decide if you’re worthy for an interview. And there’s nothing worse than having a resume or cover letter that’s full of errors and hasn’t been updated since you started college. Every time I apply for a job I make sure to go completely through my resume to make sure everything is updated from that exact day of sending it out. I also double and triple check my cover letter and sometimes give it to other people to read because a second opinion is always a good thing to have. So don’t think you can just pass something mediocre in and expect to get the job. This isn’t school anymore.
Don’t take a job just for the money
I get it. You’re out of college and want the top job when you get out. Maybe you even want to impress your family, friends, and yourself. Maybe the thought of telling yourself that this job is better than the rest of them even if it’s not necessarily what you want or were going for is enough. We tend to set such high expectations for ourselves and we think that in order to be happy and successful we need to make a lot of money at a job that we hate. But from my experiences, I’ve learned that having a job that I enjoy waking up to go to every day is worth it no matter the amount I get on my paycheck every week.
Read up on the company you’re applying for
I tend to make this mistake a lot. I’ll go online to apply for jobs and see that I match some of the qualifications and just submit my resume. I don’t always read up on whatever job it is I’m applying for. This can be a big problem. Sometimes by not reading up on them, you miss out on some of their important facts and find yourself being surprised in the interview when they ask you what you love about the company.
Practice before your interview
Whether it’s answering sample questions they may ask, breathing exercises to de-stress, or looking over the company or your resume to make sure you’re not surprised by anything they may ask or say to you, practicing the night before to have it be fresh in your mind is always a good thing to do.
Don’t give up
Probably the biggest advice I can give anyone. I know how it feels to apply for a job and hear nothing back. I know how it feels to go into an interview thinking you did so good only to find out they chose someone else. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned while going through this job application process, it’s to never give up. It can be easier said than done, but I promise you all the hard work and rejections will lead to something great.
Hopefully, some of these tips and advice can help someone going through this. I’m right there with you and we will come out on top.
Kirstie Devine is 24 years old and is working towards her MFA in creative writing at Western New England University. She is most likely writing, reading a book, at a concert, laughing, petting a dog, or eating french fries. She hopes one day to write a book and have it be in the library in her town.