Sara from Sincerely, Sara has been a loyal sponsor for two months now and I just love her. Sara is an aspiring novelist, a fantastic blogger, and a stylish fashionista. At 24 years old, Sara is ripe from graduate school and ready to tackle on the professional world. Like most of us post-grads, she, too, has had her fair share of trials when it comes to the dreaded job search.
Recently, we “sat down” together and chatted about networking, careers, and post-grad life in general. I interviewed her about some of those frequently asked questions floating around in most 20-somethings’ minds and was really blown away by her responses. I hope you’ll find her thoughts about navigating the post-grad job search as informative and enlightening as I found them!
Q: What was the biggest surprise you encountered after graduation in terms of career/employment?
Well, the least surprising thing that I encountered was how many people kept asking what I was going to do now that I had graduated. I’ve been working part-time at an office for six years, and even my co-workers were asking what I was going to do next.
In terms of the biggest surprise: how many people were willing to help out. I always assumed looking for a job was a very solitary thing, as in lots of looking online for job openings, lots of emailing, and lots of waiting. There’s lots of that of course, but it’s great how people want to help you.
Q: What resources do you utilize most during your job search and why? What has been the most helpful?
I’ll be honest and say that I haven’t really done the whole job search in-depth since I’m trying to turn my part-time job into a full-time job, but my main resources have been the people I know, LinkedIn, and my alma maters.
Family, friends, and even co-workers have kept an eye out for job openings in case turning my part-time job into a full-time one doesn’t work out. They send me newspaper clippings, emails, and tell me about people they know who know about job openings. LinkedIn sends me emails about job openings that I might be interested in, which I find very helpful and easy since it does part of the work for me. Also, going to job fairs and using the resources from both where I got my bachelor’s and master’s has been helpful. You paid lots of money to go there, so you might as well use their resources as much as possible.
Q: Is networking really as critical as they say it is? How has networking played a role in your career path?
Networking is really critical! You never know who someone might know or what job they might know about. Meeting and interacting with people has always been difficult for me (shy person here!), but it’s easier when you think of it as finding potential friends instead of using people to find a job. When you really get along with someone, they’re more willing to help you out, so remember names, things they said, things they like or dislike, and interact with them before you need something.
At the place I work, they hired a company to do their social media. I heard that it was a cool new company from the people I currently work for, so I did an event for the social media company. It didn’t work out in the long run, but you never know where you might find your next job. I still see the woman I did the event with at my current job now and then. Maybe she’ll hear about something in the future. You never know. Look at all resources.
Q: How do you stay positive during job searching?
It can be hard to stay positive, especially since the clock is ticking on when I’ll have to start repaying my loans, but being negative about the whole scenario will only make things worse. It’s easy to get down and worried, but I stay positive because I know that something will come along eventually. It might not be my dream job, but it will be a stepping stone.
Q: What advice would you give to post-graduates looking for jobs?
Don’t stop! Don’t stop talking to people about the fact that you’re looking for a job. You never know who might know about something. Don’t stop trying. The first several places might not have gotten back to you, but keep going; keep looking. Don’t stop bettering yourself. Just because you’re between jobs doesn’t mean you can’t better yourself (and make that resume look good) by taking a class on something you love. You could also join a club or group, do volunteer work, get articles or stories published, and so much more. Don’t give up!
Thanks so much for your words of wisdom and positive energy, Sara! Best of luck to all who are job searching. It’s a brutal world out there . . . we’ll get through it together. Be sure to stop by her blog and say hello :)
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