Monday, May 11, 2015

Lessons Learned Post-Grad // Job Hunt

My job hunt began 8 months before I graduated.  Because I knew I wanted a job in education, I figured I'd get a jump on things well before the school year closed out, in the hopes of having a contract signed before graduation. Lols.  I obsessively joined job listing websites and set up alerts on everything even vaguely related to my chosen field.  I applied to every job that was interesting and that I was qualified-ish for.  One of the most helpful thing for me was to have a standard cover letter that a bunch of people had edited for me, which I would add a personalized paragraph to for every job.  Please, dear god, ask for help with proof reading and take the advice people you trust give you. It's painful, but necessary.

Once I had applied to jobs, the long waiting game began. I spent most of my summer obsessively checking my email, rearranging my nannying schedule to accommodate interviews and freaking out.  It was stressful and hard, and I had to learn how to manage my expectations from the beginning.  Most job opportunities didn't come to anything.  I had a bunch of near misses, which were heart-breaking, but I had to keep moving.  Honestly, the job I did eventually get is 100 percent worth the disappointment of losing out on the others, but is wasn't easy, especially given the horror stories we hear about the job market.  Try to tune out just how stressed out everyone else is - it doesn't help, and it makes the stakes feel way higher.

In the end, the thing that helped the most was joining Carney Sandoe, a service that schools use to find candidates.  If you're applying for jobs in schools, this is your best bet.  I first joined after a colleague that I don't know very well mentioned it off-hand - which goes along with my next point.  Listen to everyone, but do what feels right.  I cancelled an interview at an institution that didn't match with my values, which was terrifying, but I'm glad I did.

I had to learn a lot of hard lessons during my job search - how to manage disappointment and still be professional, how to write 2490389147839 cover letters without crying, how to continually put myself out there and have people basically tell me that I wasn't quite good enough. If I had to do it over again (which I will eventually),  I would have been a lot nicer to myself - you will get a job.  You will. You're enough, and you really do need to wait for the right situation.  Wasting months of your life stressed out to the point where you're an ass to your family helps not at all.  Take care of yourself, proof your cover letter one more time and invest in an interview outfit that makes you feel like a rockstar.  The job hunt is brutal, but worth it once you get that offer phone call (I was standing in front of my parents slider, looking out at the drizzle, having just come back from a 45 minute dog walk spent convincing myself that I would never be employed).

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