It’s been 9 months since I graduated- 7 months since the official ceremony. For those 9 months, I’ve been looking for a job.
I didn’t expect this. I’m the kind of girl who has a plan, who works hard, who follows through and gets things done. I was on the student council, I was the editor of a magazine, I was in mentorship groups and sometimes even managed to impress my professors. I took the law school admissions test and scored in the top 6%. I was unstoppable.
But, plans fall through. People don’t do what they said they would. Things don’t count for as much as you hoped, and sometimes you get caught up in red tape. I thought I would be in my second semester of law school right now, feeling incalcuably stressed out, but happy despite it. Right now, I work a minimum wage retail job at the mall and have gotten three job interviews in 9 months, applying for everything from fashion buyer to cancer research charity personal assistant. I’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and learned the ins and outs of the informational interview, which has so far landed me a great unpaid internship and a lot of recommendations for masters degrees that I do not want to take.
I tell people that I’ve been applying for that long and gotten nowhere, and some are surprised. Career counsellors, professors, professionals in the fields I want to get into, and half the people my age that I know are not. For a few, landing a job out of college is a natural progression. For a lot of others, it’s not. This is the new normal. There is no quick fix for a lack of jobs for qualified people. There is no magic person I can talk to to immediately land me a new position. I am talking to people and updating my Linkedin and applying to jobs every week to no avail, and apparently I’m doing everything right.
I guess I just want to say, if you’re in university now… prepare. Do internships. Get as much practical experience as you can get your hands on as early as you can. Start applying now. Start talking to people now. Make sure your professors know you by name and want to give you glowing recommendations. Make sure you have backups of your backups for your backups. Being good on paper is not enough.
And if you’ve graduated and are in the same position… it’s okay. It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how hard you worked, this has nothing to do with that. There’s no use going back and thinking about what you would have done differently if you’d known it would be like this. It’s okay to feel like you’re in a dark place because of your situation, so long as you keep trying. I have no answers, and I can’t help, but I can at least say you’re not alone. It’s not just you, it’s not your fault so long as you’ve been making an effort. I can’t make it better, but… I know how it feels. Good luck. Your happy ending is still there, somewhere.