Job Hunting 101

Bates Hall at Boston Public Library Copley

When I went to the Boston Public Library in Copley on Monday to study for my last final exam ever, I discovered the rest of the gems of the library. I have been back nearly every day since then, taking in the beautiful courtyard and renovated areas that I only realized existed Monday, taking the time to catch up on leisurely reading and the funemployed job search.

Bates Hall at Boston Public Library Copley
The beautiful Bates Hall at Boston Public Library in Copley.
Amazing courtyard at the BPL
Amazing courtyard at the BPL.

At this point, I’ve applied to too many jobs to count. At the same time, I am trying to remember the importance of focusing on the right job, not just applying to anything remotely related that I find—though I can’t deny I have done that, too.

I’ve definitely learned lessons along the way. Hilariously enough, I think the Condé Nast job board has permanently banned my account, because I may have applied to, like, 10 positions at once and now can’t log back in. Some advice for you readers and perhaps my future self on job hunting:

  1. Don’t talk about job hunting. When people inevitably ask, you are in no way obligated to specify which stage you’re at with companies. Because the most likely situation a few weeks later will be that you will have to say you were rejected. People will hype you up, you will hype yourself up, and when it comes down to it, the hype will lead to multi-layered pain. When you don’t get the job, disappointment is only that much worse when these same people find out. Instead, say ANY variation of, “It’s going,” “Still looking,” “I’ll let you know,” or “I’d rather not talk about.” The last one may come off as sad, but people need to understand that job hunting is never a good conversation to go into. It’s about being in the middle, jobless, stagnant. What’s the fun in that?
  2. Location does not matter. As great as it may be to know exactly the city you want to work in, you are only limiting yourself when you choose to focus only on one or even two locations. I thought I was keeping an open mind to saying I am definitely willing to relocate to Hong Kong, Shanghai, or even Singapore, with the only U.S. location being New York. Eventually, I expanded my locations and options to San Francisco and Boston. Even though I am still adamant on not working in D.C., I had shunned Boston as a “last-ditch” location, but the reality is, having been here for four years, I know Boston incredibly well—so well, in fact, that this has developed into an advantageous expertise of the area’s startups and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Why the fuck wouldn’t I work here?! Sure, I may want to explore other cities, but after covering Cambridge as a beat this semester, I realized how I still have yet to explore much of Greater Boston. If I were to move elsewhere, I would actually be at a disadvantage, having to make connections all over again and learning an unfamiliar ecosystem.
  3. IT’S SO MUCH HARDER THAN YOU THINK. My sister and parents have really hammered this idea into my overly ambitious and unrealistically expectant mind of mine. Quite naively, I assumed I would get a job after graduation, but the reality of not getting one for at least a few months is starting to hit me. I’ve started applying since the fall, and I guess so many months of applying and failing have only made me angrier, more determined, impatient, and just insane over not securing anything. Someone told me the average time for getting a job after graduation is six months. My sister has repeatedly told me not everyone gets a job after graduation. My justification is that I’ve just felt so much pressure, especially from my coworkers, classmates, and professors, who believe in me so much. The idea of not having good news to tell them every time they ask frankly hurts. But as horrible as it may feel at times, know that the MAJORITY of people graduating are on the same boat. That’s what’s keeping me going. People still believe in me, so I should believe in myself. It will be okay, which leads to…
  4. Don’t give up. Even though I may not be able to announce that I have a job at my graduation dinner, I’m working on it. I’m working so hard. That’s something. Things will work out. I’m confident.
  5. Don’t settle, either. As much as I want a job, I know that I can’t just accept the first offer I get. Unlike some other people, I won’t reject a job based on pay, but rather the type of work required and the experience I would be able to gain from it. Frankly, pay anywhere will be shitty, so that can’t be a factor in my decision to accept or reject an offer. I’ve applied to some jobs just for the heck of it and saw openings for ones that sound just miserable and realized there’s no way I would ever apply. Copy editing from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. for Business Insider? How fucking depressing! Not only is the publication almost entirely unoriginal, but I can’t stand the idea of doing NOTHING during times I’m most productive—the mornings. Accepting a miserable job is just as terrible as not getting one. Don’t do it.
  6. Have some fun. Don’t be like me and let the job hunt consume your life and make you so miserable that you hurt your relationships in the process. A job is important, but not nearly as important as having your friends and family there to support you, no matter what happens. Get out there and enjoy life. Sure, I’m spending a lot of time in the library, but I’m also running six miles around the Charles River, taking the breathtaking views, watching a dog jump into the river to play fetch while stretching on a dock, soaking in the warmth of much-needed Boston sunlight, feeling incredibly sore this entire week but appreciating nature more than ever before. Life is beautiful. Don’t forget that.

Good luck to all you job/life seekers. I believe in us.