This is a guest post by Briana Okyere.
After battling deep in the trenches of the post-graduate job hunt, I have learned a thing or two. Some from blundering mistakes, and others from well-thought out strategies that eventually turned into blundering mistakes.
I have gone from obtaining noteworthy internships while in college, to going completely broke post-grad, to running my own freelance writing company. Needless to say it has been a rocky journey.
That is why I am here to pass down some (hopefully) useful knowledge to those of you who are looking to make your way in this world. Below are 5 tips on how to get the internship and/or job that you actually want.
1. Go Straight to the Source
There is nothing worse than sending out a countless slew of resumes into the black hole that is the internet. You can just picture your resume sitting there among thousands, collecting dust in some hiring manager’s inbox.
That is why it is best to go straight to the source. For example, while in college I was dying to intern for an environmental start-up company called ISEEED. After researching the company, I discovered that the CFO was also a professor at my school. I found his school email, and messaged him directly. Within a week, I was hired. I had that internship for a year, and it stands front and center on my resume.
2. It’s Okay to Say No
Sometimes you will be given opportunities that you aren’t sure about. And it is difficult to say no because let’s face it, when you get that coveted job or internship offer, there is no other feeling like it.
But when the warm fuzzies wear off, you may be left doing something that you do not like or is a waste of your time.
You should not feel bad for saying no, or for quitting when you get nothing out of a position. You are an adult now, and you know what is best for you. If something is not a good fit, you are wasting time, while you could be looking for something that suits you better.
3. Informational Interviews Are Your New Best Friend
Seriously, they are. If you’re like me, you began your job/internship search without knowing what an informational interview actually is.
An informational interview is when you seek out someone who does what you want to do for a living. Then you contact them and if they are willing, you sit down with them and pick their brain.
Not only are informational interviews inspiring, they can lead to useful connections. After my first informational interview, my interviewer offered to send out my resume personally to any one he knew that was hiring, and he offered to publish my writing on his nationally read blog.
So get in touch with anyone you can, most of them will say yes. Since after all, people do love to talk about themselves.
You probably already know this, because everyone tells you to do it. After all, one report from ABC News showed that up to 80% of jobs are found through networking.
For me, the relevance of networking did not really sink in until I was immersed in rejection emails. I was baffled. I had the experience, I had the degree, so why wasn’t the job going to me?
Because it was going to someone who knew someone. Think about it. If you worked in a hiring department and your friend handed you a resume, wouldn’t you give that resume priority over the thousands in your inbox?
Networking matters, but it’s harder to do than people think. Informational interviews are a great way to get started. But the best way is to always be on your toes. You never know when you will cross paths with a person relevant to your job search. And if you are afraid to ask, don’t be. Most people want to help out.
5. And Most Importantly, Don’t Give Up
This entire process is daunting and at times completely overwhelming. I have almost succumed to failure a time or two myself. Finding a job today is extremely difficult. So remember that you are operating under harsh conditions. What I am trying to say is, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Just remember that if you keep at it, something will work out eventually. That may be a wishy washy statement, but it is true nonetheless.
That is not to say that you do not need to be spending countless hours hunting, researching, and networking. The fact that it is so difficult to find a job today means that you need to be working that much harder. But have faith in your abilities, and you will come face to face with that elusive and tantalizing word, success.
About the Author:
I recently graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in American History. Writing is my passion, and my goal is to turn it into a career. I currently run a freelance writing business, and I hope that one day it will turn into full-time employment! Find me on Square Space.