The day is finally here! All of the binging until 4am to submit an assignment that was due at 11:59pm is finally blooming into fruition. No more group presentations about the best kitty litter brands, no more calculus exams, and no more syllabuses! NO MORE SYLLABUSES!
Your name is announced to cross the stage– you shake the Dean’s hand and in return, he gives you a piece of paper that seals your name into the alumni hall of fame. After the ceremony, your loved ones are hovering over you drowning you with hugs and kisses. By now your mom is drenched in tears and your dad is probably somewhere in the loop trying to hold the camera steady in order to capture these priceless moments. Soon after, you’re taken to your favorite celebratory restaurant and are told to order whatever your stomach desires in rewards of your accomplishments. Life is grand! It feels like the world is at your feet recognize your greatest.
Fast forwarding 4 months after graduating, Sallie Mae is at your doorstep while your diploma is sitting in a glass case collecting dust. You’ve managed to apply to over 63 jobs in your field and surprisingly you receive 2 job offers. One job requires you to speak 3 different languages, and the other job requires you to have 5 years of elite computer coding experience. If we do the math right that leaves us at no job offers (Of course if you’re trilingual and a coding expert then, by all means, go for it) and yes, the dust is still collecting. You know what else is collecting? The stress. Oh, and the bills. By this point, I am sure that almost every person who is reading this post can relate in some way.
The feeling of being looked over and turned away by an employer can hurt after a while. The long nights of guzzling caffeine and studying for midterms are appearing as if they were all for nothing. I mean seriously, where is my return on my investment? When is a hiring manager going to place their bets on me? Continuously being told that you don’t qualify for a job will soon translate to as ” You aren’t worth it”, ” Give up”, ” You’ve wasted your money”
TRY WORKING SMARTER
We all want to be rewarded for the things we put in work for. It’s apart of the American Dream right? We work hard and bust our asses in hopes to receive the ultimate outcome. But the truth is…..everyone works hard! Everyone is applying for jobs in hopes to find the best opportunity, and everyone feels the pressure of Sallie Mae breathing down their neck. I believe that working hard is just the first step. The next question “how can I work smarter?”.
It’s important to understand the meaning of insanity. Insanity is to do the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. It’s quite easy to get lost in the premise of insanity. Humans follow patterns every day. A simple pattern that most of us follow is our daily morning routine. In the morning we brush our teeth, take a shower, eat breakfast and speed off to school or work. Since we are so accustomed to these trends we often miss out on the things we are not doing in that process.
Perhaps you could be suffering from some sort of post-graduation insanity. There’s a possibility that you could be doing the same things over and over again during the career hunting process, and you don’t even know it.
The 10×10 rule is an approach that can combat insanity. The rule starts by approaching a strategy ten times. If you aren’t receiving the results you want from using that strategy, you must immediately stop that current method of action and strategize for another.
If you’re applying for a job and you aren’t getting the results you want then maybe its time to attack it from another angle. Try looking at your resume, maybe it needs some revising and tweaking. Could there be any grammar mistakes? Are your job descriptions well written and detailed? Also be mindful of the way you’re answering the questionnaire portion of the application. Are you answering the questions consistently? Do you have a cover and thank you letter? These are some easy tweaks you could utilize right now that can kick insanity right in the ass. Switch it up!
Network Across Not Up
Another way of switching up the job searching process is to network across, not up ( In the words of the great Issa Rae). Look for those who are around you rather than looking to get employed by Mark Zuckerberg or Anna Wintour. Instead of looking to work with the Hollywood’s of your industry, why not network with those who are just as hungry as you are. Try tracking down your friends or college mates and visit networking events that feature smaller companies that aren’t so heavily populated with the competition. It’s a much easier way to build yourself as a professional as you gain the necessary experience in your field. Life is and will always be a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t need to hop on the next big company wave because their name would look amazing on your resume.
My close friend Bennett Solomon is a great example of someone who networked across rather than networking up. He started out working for a small TV production company as an undergrad. During his experience, he was in constant communication with his peers and supervisors in hopes of finding new opportunities. As time went by he was offered different production gigs, working on shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, Love & Hip Hop, Wildin’ Out, and more. By marketing and networking himself with everyone within spitting distance, Bennett became soon the personal assistant of Carson Kressley ( Just google the name, you’ve probably seen him on a TV show somewhere). How do you go from working in a small TV production company to being a personal assistant of Carson Kressley? – Network across, not up.
Why Not You?
To wrap this all up just remember that this post-graduation syndrome ( not really a syndrome, but we’ll call it that) is a struggle we all must deal with. Why not struggle? Why not go through the storm in order to obtain all the greatness waiting for us on the other side. Realize that you are not in this battle alone, there are millions of individuals in the same position as you who are trying to make their dream become a reality.
What’s not going to change is the fact that employers will get thousands of applications sent to them, and the harsh actuality is that you might not get the job you want when you want it. What are you going to do about it? Walking across that stage on your big day surely validated that you are indeed special, but so is everyone else. Stay hungry and get to work.