Are you a post-grad still working a retail job to make ends meet, or are you soon going to be a post-grad whose worry about being unemployed grows every day closer to graduation? I was you less than six months ago, and let me tell you outright: IT WILL BE OKAY. Now that we’ve all taken a deep breath, I’m here to demystify some of the more common bullshit you’ll hear while looking to be gainfully employed for the first time in your life.
It’s about who you know, not what you know
I don’t want to completely discredit this statement — networking, as awful as it may be, can be a valuable resource to you on the job hunt. People in the industry you work in are more than likely willing to help new people starting out, because they know how difficult that beginning can be. That being said, it is 100 percent possible and plausible to get a job without knowing someone at the company you’re applying for or kissing the ass of everyone you come in contact with in the field. Case in point: I was offered my current job in publishing — which I love! — without knowing anyone who worked there, or reaching out to anyone beyond human resources to help pass my resume along. Publishing is an extremely networking-oriented field, but ultimately, it wasn’t a contact at the company that got me an interview. It was just me, myself and my resume.
Don’t apply to jobs you aren’t qualified for — your resume will get passed over anyways
Maybe this is something we tend to tell ourselves rather than what we’re told by others, but do not let underqualification scare you away from submitting an application. If a job posting says one to two years experience required but you only have six months from an internship, APPLY. If a job posting lists the entire Microsoft Office Suite and 10 systems you’ve never heard of as qualification requirements, APPLY. Ultimately what your job application comes down to is how well you sell your qualifications and willingness to learn new things (that’s why you’re entry level!), and if a potential future boss can’t look past the minutia of your resume, then you probably don’t want to work for them anyways.
Any listicle with the title, “What NOT to do at a job interview”
These lists are well intentioned I’m sure, but they are bullshit. Nearly all of them start with the obvious: Don’t be late. Yes, I agree that you should try your damnedest to be early to the interview in case you have to fill out any paperwork (and it just looks professional), but what if your car breaks down? What if your train is late? What if your ride completely bails? These things happen to everyone, and as long as you call or email to let your interviewer(s) know the situation and that you will be there late, it’s going to be okay (really).
Other bullshit these listicles include are not wearing too much makeup, not dressing in business formal attire and even not sitting down before invited. What really matters in an interview is how well you sell yourself in the interview, how well you know the company and how you get along with your interviewer, not if you decided to wear winged eyeliner and a blazer.
Don’t listen to the bullshit, the people dragging you down or your own doubts about finding a job you really like. When you go into the interview that lands you your first job, you will know that the position and company is right for you.
Some non-bullshit to keep in mind:
- Try to know as much about the company and position you’re applying for as possible. What I found helpful was to research, write it down and reread my notes on the commute to the interview.
- Physical, USPS-mailed thank you notes are always a good idea. When writing your thank you notes, make sure to include the names of everyone you met with, and to mention a specific talking point brought up in the interview. Send an email thanking them within 24 hours of the interview, as well, so they know you’re appreciative before they receive the actual letter in the mail.
- Every interview I’ve had has ended with, “Do you have any questions for me?” Always have questions. One of my favorites that seems to work well is, “What do you like most about working here?” or “What are you working on right now that really excites you?”
- Be yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, the more genuine you are in your resume, cover letter and interview, the more likely you will be to end up with a company that truly values you as a person and as an employee.
Mia is an aspiring cat lady and obsessed with books, beauty, and pop culture. By day she works in publishing in New York City, and by night she can be found in bed, drinking Moscato and binge-watching YouTube videos.