Saturday, July 28, 2018

From Joy to Nightmare: The Truth About Finding A Job After Graduation

It’s funny how things have a way of happening. Back in August of 2012, I decided to go back to college. My degree was in Nursing at the time but when it came time to take the entrance exam I missed getting into the program by 1 point. You have to wait an entire year to take the test again but I didn’t want to wait that long so I made an appointment with my advisor and she suggested taking classes in Human Resource Management. Me, a business major? Okay. I like to think of myself as a Science nerd and have always leaned toward a career in the healthcare industry.

There I was, sitting in the advisors office changing my major to Human Resources. I knew little about the profession but put my heart and soul into my classes, internship and any article I could find regarding HR, Recruiting, and employment laws. I was determined to graduate with honors as I wasn’t able to do that in High School. I probably could have but I didn’t really take High School that serious.

Classes were tough at times but I enjoyed every second of it. Were there times when I wanted to quit, sure but I didn’t. I was in too deep and I found the courses interesting. I was nearing the end of my college life and needed to find an internship. Luckily I found one that I could complete from home. The internship I had was for a magazine based in New York. It was my responsibility to screen, schedule interviews, and interview candidates for open positions. I also helped on-board and work on special projects. My team was amazing and I learned a lot from not only them but the Editor-in-Chief.

Graduation, time to find a job that I can make my career. Here I was well trained, well-educated and ready to tackle the world. Oh the naivete! Like many, I thought it would be easy to just apply, interview and be hired. The hours spent filling out applications, searching the internet for open positions for which you are qualified for, and the endless phone screen interviews are enough to drive you mad. They see the long gap in my work history or the lack of experience in HR and that’s it, interview done, no more phone calls.

Then the self-doubt starts to seep into your head. Am I good enough? Why can’t they just take a chance on the underdog? How can someone just exiting college have 5-10 years’ experience working in HR?  Am I un-trainable? Am I too old? Am I not the right look for the job? Why can I graduate with honors but can’t even get past the phone interview? I get that they are looking for rock star people but, just like some are not good at taking a test there are those that are horrible at interviewing. That doesn’t reflect on their ability to do the job it just means they need to have more coaching in that area. Why pass someone up that doesn’t interview good? They could end up being your best asset.

The truth is, sometimes it will take months to find the job you are looking for. Not because you aren't prepared but because recruiters usually received hundreds of resumes. Some are qualified, some are not and some may just be what they are looking for. You may have saw the ad late or may have just missed out due to a lack of particular skill they are looking for that you lacked. Don't forget to be personable during the interview. They aren't just looking at your resume but at how well you will fit in with the culture of the company. Ask questions and make sure to know about the company before you interview. Tell a story on why you would be the right choice for the job and how you can help the company achieve their goals. In other words, make them remember you. Stand out and you will be the one they call back.  

I will admit, I am currently at the lowest point right now in my search. I feel like my greatest accomplishment in life, graduating college, has become my worst nightmare. The amount of stress that it creates is unbearable at times. I just want to throw my hands up and give up but I know I can’t. I can’t let the job search break me. I need to keep fighting for what I want. Keep pounding the pavement. Keep networking with people from companies I am interested in working for. Keep practicing my interviewing. Keep researching the latest in Recruiting and HR. Just keep moving forward. I know my efforts will pay off eventually. Until then, I need to be proud that I set a goal for myself and achieved it.


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