*cue music from Psycho right before that woman gets, like, stabbed*
I have eaten a full bag of Andy Capp’s Hot Fries and I’m on my second cup of caffeinated beverages for the day. I’ve cried about three times before noon.
This all probably sounds very familiar if you’ve been in the realm of the dreaded “job search.” You’ve possibly Googled, “How much does a kidney sell for” and trust me, I’m right there with you. I’m reading endless resume tips, scouring the depths of sites like Indeed, Monster and Journalism Jobs to no avail, and repeatedly questioning why employers require 5-10 years of experience for entry-level jobs (???).
Finding a job is hard. Finding a job in journalism is harder.
Picture this: You’ve spent four glorious years at a university. You walk across the stage at graduation bright-eyed and hopeful of the future. Then, it’s like everything comes to a screeching halt. Classes are suddenly over. After that, you move nearly 800 miles away from everything you’ve ever known. You try and search for jobs in your field and nothing pulls through. Job hunting begins to morph into a metaphorical claw machine; sometimes you win, but most of the time you lose. Except the metaphorical claw machine of journalism is now on fire. And you’re on fire. And everything is on fire and you softly say to yourself with feined reassurance, “Everything is fine.”
So, what do you do? You sigh heavily, pour yourself the biggest glass of wine in existence and settle on taking a BuzzFeed quiz to find out what type of pizza you are based on your astrology sign. Self-deprecating, I know.
While this all seems daunting and scary (which—I won’t lie to you—it is), there are a few things that I’m doing to make this process a little less taxing for my steadily declining sanity.
1. Sign Up For Emailing Lists
One thing that I’ve found to be super helpful when searching for jobs is to add emailing notifications of new positions when they open up. Usually, websites like Google or Indeed will allow you to use specific keywords when searching for a job. For example, the terms “journalist” or “editor” or “freelance Stranger Things theory writer” might be suitable.
2. Look For Jobs That Will Use Your Degree
There is nothing more frustrating than going to a careers page and seeing “General Manager of Sonic Drive-Thru” in your recommended jobs (I know from experience). Try honing in on jobs that will not only challenge you but will also apply the things you learned from your time in college. Why settle for a low-paying job when you have a piece of paper that cost you roughly $60,000 and showcases years of tears, stress and coffee-induced all-nighters?
3. Find Something To Occupy Your New-Found Free Time
Say “so long” to the days of midterm papers and final exam cramming. As a real adult with no more college classes to attend, you now need to find things to fill the void. Try taking up a new hobby. Find a new video game to play through. Finally stop procrastinating and get to work on your blog and YouTube channel that you’ve been wanting to do for years… (Did you mean: psychological projecting?)
4. Don’t Give Up
It’s so easy to admit defeat when you feel like you are repeatedly hitting a brick wall. However, you can’t get discouraged every time you don’t get a call back or you don’t get past the first round of interviews. Easier said than done, I know, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb on his first try, and other cliches like that. The point being: don’t give up, even if you feel like you’ve exhausted all options.
5. When All Else Fails, Network
Some of the greatest job finds have come from who you know, not what you know. Well– okay, it’s a bit of both. Reaching out to potential employers just to have lunch or to tour the facility is a great way to keep your name in their heads and stand out from other candidates, even if it doesn’t lead to a job right away. Chances are if they have an opening later down the road, they’ll give you a heads up. Plus, people know people who need to hire people and that’s always nice.
Sometimes, it takes a little extra initiative to be employed. If you’re a self-starter and don’t like conventional rules of the workforce, being a freelance writer or your own boss might be the road for you. Regardless, I’m going to try and use these tips as much as possible until I’ve landed a job I love. I hope you will, too.