The first in a series of posts from a recent graduate trying to make it in the world. Some rants, a few tips, more rants, a few moments of hair-pulling-in-frustration, and whatever’s in-between.
(Written in 2007 – Since then, I’ve actually gotten a job. See follow-up posts Job Hunting Woes Part II and The culmination of those “New Grad: Job Hunting Sucks” posts)
Surprise! You can’t get a foot in the door unless you already have a foot in the door
Job hunting begets many woes, particularly if you’re a new graduate hoping to get into a field where you lack related job experience. The most irksome thing about all this is the fact that there is the obvious catch 22. In the case of new graduates starting out in the work-force, all ready to take on new responsibilities and plunge into adulthood, that catch 22 is, bar none, the most frustrating and discouraging aspect in job hunting. Even for entry-level jobs, they list a requirement of so and so amount of related experience; yet if you can’t even get a foot in the door, oh how does one get this godforsaken related experience? Say you’re like me, and never went to a post-secondary institution with a co-op program and was never able to acquire an internship, then I guess you, like I, are plum out of luck. Not to mention, the companies in the fields and industries I’m interested in do not appear to have any new graduate specific recruitment, unlike in the fields of accounting or nursing.
So where does that leave me? Well, it’s meant that I have been sending an incessant amount of resumes, each tweaked over time in reference to all those “how to have an effective resume” type books I’ve been reading, and receiving no response whatsoever. Even jobs I feel I would excel in and am qualified for in all respects, I am not hearing anything back. Oh, woe is me. An interview, AN INTERVIEW even would be nice, as at least an interview equates to an opportunity — an opportunity to prove myself as capable and a valuable employee (which, I believe, is exactly what I am). The grand total of interviews I’ve had since mid-November? One, yes, one. Stellar, right?
Rejection and job hunting go hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly
One of the most dismaying and harrowing aspects of job hunting is the constant rejection, may it be the “real rejection” you face after going to an interview and not being chosen or the kind of rejection that your mind plays up. Imagine you come across The Perfect Job Listing. It’s in a career field you are interested in, it has everything you want in a job and, shock of all shocks, you fit all the requirements! As soon as laying eyes on what’s perceivably awesomeness manifested into a job listing, you quickly start writing a cover letter and targetting your resume to show the hiring manager just how perfect a candidate you really are. After clicking the button to send in your completed application, you’re just bubbling with anticipation and the fact that there are probably dozens upon dozens of other eager applicants just like you, doing the exact same thing, is not even entering your mind. Then you wait. Pessimism sets in, the feeling of discouragement starts to overwhelm. The closing date of the job listing passes, then days and weeks, and it’s official: you’re just not good enough and you’ve delluded yourself into thinking that you are. You’re a failure. Pass a tissue, please.
And there it is, how a mere job listing can make you go from one extreme high to one extreme low. Now imagine this happening more than a few times over a course of around 6 months. This is why I said job hunting begets many woes. The hard part is to not get bogged down by it and trudge on.
It’s quite disheartening. It’s like no one wants to take a chance on little old me, even though I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me (to echo the words of Al Franken)!
I’m sure my vast sociology knowledge is good for something
Here’s another thing that really grinds my gears. If you majored in a program that streamlined into a career, for example accounting, computer science, journalism or engineering, it makes this transition from academics to the work-force that much easier. If you were a liberal arts major, such as myself, it’s much tougher. I’ve always been a proponent for the value of a liberal arts education and often fire back at the non-B.A. snobs who discount it altogether, but sometimes, it’s hard to not wish or ponder about how things could be different. But do I regret my choice to study subjects I am passionate about and would want to build a career around? No, not at all. Like anyone else, I could have very well chosen a major that would leave me with a career right after graduation, but it wouldn’t have worked out because it wasn’t where my heart and passion was. And while I am not adverse to living a luxurious lifestyle, I’m just not one of those people who will go into a field I had no interest in whatsoever just to make “lots of money”. As Oprah once said (yes, I do enjoy the Oprah!), follow your passion and the money will follow. People tend to assume work is work and by its very nature, is not suppose to be fun. But, really, how can you continue to be challenged and be able to get up every morning to come to a job that does not appeal to you in the slightest on the personal level? This is something I just do not comprehend.
Granted, I should’ve not gone on my post-graduation month long vacation so late in 2006, which resulted in more time wasted. And perhaps I should take up offers from family and friends for jobs I’m not even remotely interested in or in any way related to the industry/field I want to work in. But those jobs also come at the cost of, in my mind, losing [some] self-dignity. I want to be able to proudly announce to family and friends that I attained a great job all on my own. Even better if it’s a job that I truly wanted and not just a random job to pay off student loans. I want that self-glorification.
I feel like I’m at my wits’ end. I’m just tired of it all, it’s just too depressing. I spend countless hours scouring company websites, job search websites, newspapers, etc, and then writing cover letters and tweaking my resume. The fruits of my labour has been… well, fruitless. Maybe getting the dream job is all due to nepotism and networking, which I’m sure being a sycophant wouldn’t hurt. Perhaps I should become one if that’s what it takes to even get that stinkin’ foot in the door. 😐