A survival guide - Finding a job after graduation
This is a very special time of the year, graduation is closing in and many are about to become real adults with real adult jobs. I remember the time before my own graduation as if it was yesterday. A time full of uncertainness, anxiety, hopefulness and longing for the other side. And with the other side I mean the moment you realize that everything worked out just fine.
So, with that said, this is my guide on how to survive the uncertainness and disappointments when looking for a job after graduation. And how to survive the first weeks of all the feelings that come with it.
First of all, if you are now about to graduate and feeling a bit lost on where to even begin. Let me just say that, it will work out. One way or another, it will work out just the way it’s supposed to. Even if those words doesn’t help right now, or feels miles away from reality. That is something I can promise you.
When I was a teenager I got a moment of nostalgia every summer, it was often mindset of doing something joyful. Sitting bare back on my horse in the evening sun, or doing my make up before a night out with my friends in a flowy summer dress. Remembering all the cold nights wishing for summer, and suddenly I’m there, right in the middle of it. And then suddenly it’s autumn again. And then it’s summer again, and the same nostalgia occurs.
Recognize this? Switch the uncertainty with cold winter days, and summer with the day you sign the contract on your new job. Summer always comes. And for all it’s worth, how hard it may be, try to live in the now. This is an exciting, horrible, but exciting milestone in your life. So try to buckle your seat belt and enjoy the ride.
But how do you get to the other side? My best advice, and I will preach this until the day I die, use the people around you. It could be a teacher, a friend in the same industry, a former colleague or a role model. Ask for help. You don’t need to know everything now, and you don’t need to know exactly what you want to do. And the job you get now, will probably (most certainly) not be your job forever. So dare to try if something excites you. Take the leap, the worst thing that could happen is that you don’t like it, and for all it’s worth - that’s a great step along the way.
Another advice is to be humble. I for one know how easy it is to think highly of your own capabilities, and with all due, that’s a great quality that will help you further in your career. But at this stage it’s important to remember that in the eyes of employers - you’re a baby. And until proven differently you will be considered a baby until you get a few years of experience. So instead of only applying for jobs a bit above your capacity, also apply for roles that are beneath your expectations. Because the hard part is almost always to get an interview. And it’s easier to show them what you got once you have a foot in, rather than not even getting an email back.
My third advice is to send spontaneous applications. If you’re lucky there’s a lot of easy accessible open positions on forums such as LinkedIn or recruitment sites. But even then, dare to send spontaneous applications. This shows that you have a genuine interest in the company, and that is always a big plus. And to be honest, the right timing and a bit of luck is often all you need.
And last but not least. A small pep talk for when you are on the other side. Because being new in the beginning sucks. It’s a roller coaster of feeling useless, out of place and high on the rush of doing something real. This is not to scare you, this is to let you know that you are not alone. Everyone experiences this at some point in their lives. It is normal to hide at the restroom because you feel overwhelmed. It is normal to cry. It is normal to feel useless and like you didn’t learn anything in school. And it is normal to feel like you’re on top of the world at the same time. Your first mistake will feel like the end of the world, and that is okay. Because when you make your next mistake, you will feel a little bit less. Until you manage, and realize that there is a difference between you as a person, and your performance at work. Most importantly, it will get easier, a lot easier. And before you know it, it’s summer again.