The job hunt after graduation can be brutal for young professionals looking to get started in their career.
There’s a lot of pressure to find a job in your field that pays well. On top of that pressure, there’s a rush to get there in under six months so you can be part of your college or university’s “successful graduate” rate.
I didn’t make it into that coveted group.
The road to my current position was winding and a little unexpected. Nonetheless, transitioning from college student to young professional has been one of my favorite experiences. I’m lucky to work in a field that engages and challenges me every day with amazing people who I know will push my professional growth.
Even with this early professional success, it helps to reflect on what it took to get to this point, not only as a way to give insight to those soon-to-be grads, but also to help calm their fears with some perspective.
Learn to accept rejection.
The first tip is probably the most difficult one to achieve. Believe me, I know.
You won’t be offered every opportunity that gives you an interview. Sometimes, you won’t even hear back after sending in a resume. It’s okay. It frees you up to move on to new opportunities. The sooner you learn to accept it, the less time you can spend beating yourself up.
It can be tempting to take a break from applying after you’ve had a great interview or received another rejection.
There are new opportunities every day. An extended break might make you miss a deadline on a great opportunity.
Reach out to your network
When in doubt, turn to your professional network. Get coffee with a former boss, ask your LinkedIn network for advice or see what your college professors can tell you.
Many of the opportunities I interviewed for were passed along to me by my professional network. They are established in their industries and have more insight than you think.
Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path
Most grads aim at finding full-time work in the field of their college major. And for some, achieving that goal takes time.
Meanwhile, consider other routes you can take while you’re on the hunt. For me, I ended up working part-time in my field and part-time in retail. After that, I took an internship at Strategic America. A few months later, I had my first full-time job.
I learned it’s not so much about what path you take, so long as you get where you were intending to go.
After a few twists and turns (and several months), I made it to where I want to be. I learned it really boils down to the same cliché that people tell you along the way. The right opportunity will come along. It just takes a little patience, perseverance and a whole lot of job applications. But when it’s right, it’s right.