“It’s not easy being green.” I’m sure you all know this phrase from your friendly children’s muppet, Kermit the Frog. But for the first time in my life I understand what Kermit’s saying…well let’s just say I can relate.
Being a recent college graduate of Post, I suddenly realized that your dreams don’t all come true within a day. We all have our hopes and dreams of when we finish college that we’ll land that first “real job” or get into that number one ranked graduate school. But it’s not that easy.
I thought I had it all planned out. I had two successful internships with two huge companies. I had stayed in touch with both of them and every other person, corporation or contact I had within the journalism industry. I began looking in September, four months before I would actually be eligible for a full-time job. Things seemed promising, I received emails that said “you’re definitely on our radar, once something opens up we’ll give you a call,” and “okay we’ve put you at the top of our pile so when a news assistant job opens up we’ll contact you.”
But when that long awaited day came and I was finished with my undergraduate career, the Christmas and New Year’s festivities had come to an end, I was there back at my home in Massachusetts…without a job.
Now I guess I shouldn’t have been so naïve to think that I would magically have a job once I finished school and I was done partying with my friends at home during the holidays…but I guess I was that naïve because I was extremely distraught over the situation.
That’s when I got myself back into “school mode,” so to speak. I made a spreadsheet of what companies had openings, when I applied to them, my correspondence with them, etc. Finally I landed a freelance position for the local newspaper. I wrote my first features piece and was published! Finally I was published and actually paid for it! But then I got discouraged again. Sure, this was all fine and wonderful, but this was only a freelance job. I needed a full-time position.
This is where my advice comes in to all of you seniors…don’t give up. You have to be persistent and annoying as hell to wherever you apply. You have to work hard every day to apply to places over and over and over again. You’re going to write a bazillion cover letters and be interviewed by a bazillion more companies. But most importantly, maintain your contacts. Whoever you meet, stay in touch with them; whoever your parents know, stay in touch with them, because you never know when a position might open up…because you may be the one to fill it.
I only say this because that’s how I finally got my first “real job.” After nearly two months of applying for jobs, I had written over 50 cover letters and emails and made a million and one phone calls, I had just about given up for good. But then I got a phone call from my dad. I answered, assuming it was just like any other phone conversation with him…but to my delight, he says that his friend (who is the CEO and president of a large corporation) is looking to expand his company and would like to hire someone who can write.
And voila! A week later, there I was, driving to an interview in Needham, MA and about to meet with the VP of marketing of this company. It was a lot easier than I projected it to be. I had come prepared -that’s another thing, always be prepared! Do your research. Know what the company does, how they do it and what they plan to do in the future.
You get major points if you sound knowledgeable about the person or company going into the interview – this shows that you, one, care about getting this job; two, are well prepared for the interview; and three, took the time to do the research and weren’t too preoccupied by Facebook, twitter or your blog.
Now those are a few tips I can hand out to you kids out there looking to apply for a job in the near future. Graduating may seem easy in the moment: you’re done with classes, no more term papers or final exams (or at least until grad school that is), you have all the free time in the world and most importantly you’ve got a degree under your belt. But then you start applying for jobs, you hear back from some and not from others…but don’t give up.
Again, it’s like Kermit said ‘it’s not easy being green,’ well Kermie, it’s not easy being a college undergraduate either. Just don’t give up, that’s all I can say, don’t give up.