Confessions of a Recent College Grad

Happy Monday everyone! Here is an article I wrote for College Job Connect. You can view my article on their blog here. You will all be happy to know that I have been hard at work writing new stories and thinking up new topics for the blog. The first section I am going to announce is “Confessions of a Recent College Grad.” It will focus primarily on the dreaded job search and adjusting to life in the real world. Here is the first post. Enjoy! 🙂

The day I dreaded for four years finally came. I was back at home,  depressed, alone, missing college, and unemployed. Instead of stumbling around the college town bars with thirty of my closest friends, my life now consisted of cover letters, resumes,  and craigslist.

If you’re really lucky, you might have a job lined up already, thanks to your dad’s company, aunt’s connections, and/or a past internship hiring just as you started looking. For me and many others, it’s not so easy. Maybe you’ll decide to go to grad school. Or maybe you’ll decide to take the year off and travel the world or work as a bartender, even though you’ll have to deal with your parents breathing down your neck about the $180,000 they “wasted” on your education. (They don’t understand though – We don’t want to grow up. Not yet, at least.)

Whatever your case may be, you will have to face the facts eventually – you need a job (unless you have a trust fund or intend to marry rich in the next week or so). Okay, so where do you start? This is my story.

I graduated almost a year ago (322 days ago to be exact – but who’s counting?) and successfully secured myself a job. Yeah, it may have took 7 months, 6 unpaid internships, over 20 rejections, and 100 cover letters, but I did it.

Just to make sure all you business and engineering majors aren’t panicking, I went to school for Television Production. And as Jay Leno told me (after I told him what I majored in when he pulled me and my friends on stage during a taping of his show), “you’re going to be living with your parents for years.” Haha Jay, I thought, I had two top-of-the-line internships during my “semester abroad” in LA and I was making important contacts. However, I was only a junior in college and didn’t quite understand that I actually had to keep in touch with these contacts.

Realizing the job market was still not in the greatest condition, I thought it would be safe to start applying to jobs two and a half months before I graduated. After not hearing anything back, I decided to reach out to people I had interned for, even though I hadn’t contacted them since my last day on the job.

Luckily, I had Bill. He was one of my past internship supervisors and he gave me various names, numbers, and companies to get in touch with. Of course, I did not contact anyone – I was devastated that he didn’t have a job to offer me right then and there. That was one of my many mistakes – when someone gives you a person to contact, contact them! No matter how awkward and uncomfortable you think it seems.

My summer months were spent writing cover letters, applying to jobs, going on interviews, working a part-time office job I dreaded going to every day, and – even though I didn’t want to believe it was true – completing more internships. During college, I had four internships. You would think that with four internships I would be all set getting a job after graduation… nope. The companies I had interned for were not hiring and the contacts I had made didn’t have much advice to give me except to “keep applying” and to “keep in touch.” My fifth internship was at one of the only production companies in New England. I was embarrassed to still be interning, and thought that having my bachelor’s degree from such a prestigious school would give me an advantage over the other interns. Well, I thought wrong. The other interns had bachelor’s degrees too… and I ended up being the youngest out of the five interns on the show I was working for. I decided to move on, to another internship at a start up.

Meanwhile, I was still applying to jobs left and right. Any free time I had was devoted to scouring sites like Indeed, Simply Hired, and craigslist. I didn’t seem to have trouble getting interviews, but I did seem to have trouble getting the job, even though I wore a suit and a smile to every interview. I eventually started applying to office jobs – jobs that had nothing to do with what I went to school for. I was getting desperate. I felt doomed. Lost. I was forever going to be an unpaid intern.

After a while, I got used to the rejections. It was routine for me. What I didn’t realize, though, was that I was becoming an expert at interviewing. I had developed brilliant answers to every question, and became exceptionally comfortable talking to strangers. Six months after graduation, I had an interview with a company I would do anything to work for. The problem was that the interview was out of state in New York City… and I could not afford to pay rent there while only making an entry-level communications salary. I was torn.

After getting this rejection letter, I didn’t even cry. I was better than that – I was confident. A few weeks later, I found myself having a successful round of interviews at one particular company. After the third interview at this company, I received a call from Bill (remember him? the guy I had talked to after I graduated about my job search?) about an open position at his company. Mind you, the position was temporary, but I was still excited!

Things were looking up. Just days later, I received two job offers in one day! After SEVEN months of finding no one that wanted me, I found two companies that wanted to hire me immediately. I obviously chose the permanent position over the temporary one, and that is where I find myself now. No, I may not be working my dream job right now, but I am working in the field I went to college for, and one day, it will help lead me to my dream job!

It has been quite the experience.  Now that I have some time to reflect, I realize that looking for a job is a lot like dating. By a lot, I mean exactly like dating. You put yourself out there on the market – you’re available and want to start ASAP. If you have to relocate, you will – but only if you are in love (with the job, that is). Until then, you have to “play the field.” Things won’t always work out and you might get hurt. They might never call you again after that first interview. And you sure as hell don’t want to settle for something you aren’t crazy about. But soon enough you will find something that likes you just as much as you like them – and that is one of the best feelings in the world.

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. My first book, AVERAGE IS THE NEW AWESOME, is coming out in January (you can buy it right now on Amazon or from your fave bookstore!). I like pizza, French fries, barre, spin, more pizza, more French fries, and buying clothes. Writing is fun. Follow me on twitter & Instagram at @samanthamatt1... and on this site's meme account on IG at @20somethingproblems. OKAY GREAT THANKS BYE.

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