Post GradJessica Long, age 23
The more days I spent sleeping past eight, finding chores to entertain myself while my friends woke up and went to work, the harder I tried to find a job. At first I was hesitant to send my resume out to just anywhere. I wanted to find work in an environment that seemed enjoyable and interesting. I was hoping to avoid the “well, it’s a job” syndrome at all costs. I was not fixated on income; I just wanted to be happy. I was willing to sacrifice salary if it meant waking up each weekday morning without an unsurpassable feeling of dread. And why shouldn’t that have been my only request? I spent four years of college polishing skills that were supposed to help me find a job in the future. Isn’t after college, after the long hours of studying and group projects, after the consuming internships and volunteer jobs, wasn’t this finally the time to hold out for the job that I desired, as opposed to one that I necessitated?
The first week, after my revelation that I needed to take one step down from my pedestal, I started frantically sending out resumes and tweaked cover letters. Still fixated on my quest for happiness, yet reaching modes of disparity, I sent dozens of resumes to “exciting” jobs that I found on the internet; the only problem was that most of those “cool” jobs required several years experience. I would sell myself, explaining my ability to learn quickly and provide young energy for the company; but I was only fooling myself. Nothing about my personality could outshine my lack of post-grad experience. Although I had a lucrative degree and a diverse resume, without the necessary years of experience, true entry level jobs were my only options. This was a frustrating realization.
From day to day, or perhaps even hour to hour, I would check the internet for new job postings. I would anxiously check my email in hopes that someone had responded to one of the job applications I had sent out. After a while, even a no-thank you response became attractive. With email as the only appropriate way to apply for a job nowadays, personal contact has been forgotten. I wasted time as I sat on my couch wondering if my email got lost in internet cyberspace, if HR read it and tossed it aside, or if wheels were turning and I’d be getting a phone call within the hour.
Eventually it happened.
Eventually I found the job that seemed to suit all my needs. Entry level bolded on the top line of the advertisement, but the job description had mobility and excitement. I sent my resume. Within two days I heard back via phone and I had my first interview. The phone interview was brief and unprompted. I answered questions as thoroughly and accurately as I could. I sold myself as a top candidate, while remaining polite, humble and thinking my responses through before rambling out run-on sentences. In less than two weeks, I made it through two rounds of interviews and accepted my first “real” job offer. It’s now been three months since I first starting working and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been thrown into the fire and been forced to find my way out. So far, I haven’t had to stop, drop and roll.