By Alison Neufang, Class of 2012
The spring semester was a rough one for me. I had one of the toughest classes I’ve taken. I was also taking the capstone advertising course. I was part of three semester-long teams, and we know how much we all love team projects. Mostly, I was just staving off a raging case of senioritis. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t too proactive about finding a job. It was just really easy to procrastinate. Easier than normal.
That’s not to say I wasn’t thinking about it. I was. I attended one career fair where I didn’t find anything that interested me. I thought about what I should be doing, mainly networking and talking to as many HR people as possible. I knew I should be getting a portfolio together.
But there were some things that I had been doing for my entire college career. I had been building relationships. Not specifically for the purpose of getting a career, because that would just be rude. But I knew that there were people who wouldn’t mind helping me. So the first thing I did was to recruit as many of my professors as I could. I was lucky that a few decided to lend me a hand. They drew on their experience to introduce me to a few people in the industry.
The other thing I had been doing without realizing is learning how to sell myself. I have passion for my chosen career, and I was able to describe where I thought I fit in. So when I was introduced to people in the industry, I could toss aside any nervousness or scripted speech and just talk. I was able to just look at the people I was meeting and tell them why I thought I could help them do what they do, and be happy doing it. Because, you know, no one likes working with a miserable jerk who has to force herself out of bed in the morning.
So here’s the rundown of what I did. I took my final final (what a weird thing, the last act as a college student) and then I had a week until graduation. So I met with my professors and asked for some introductions. I updated my resume one last time. I went to the SUccess in the City networking event and I shook a bunch of hands and collected a bunch of business cards.
They say finding a job is a full-time job, so I worked on my portfolio for about 10 hours a day for 4 days straight. This was a great exercise because it forced me to reflect on the experience I had gained from school. I would recommend every entry-level person has some examples of why they aren’t completely clueless about the position. Then I scheduled a few interviews.
And then I graduated. I walked that stage and it was one of the happiest days of my life. The next day I had an interview. Then I had lunch with a professor. Then I had another interview. Then another. And then another. By that Friday, I had a job.
So there was a bit of luck. To find a job that quickly is pretty much unheard of. And I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a lot of help from some friends. But the main thing I would attribute my success to is my passion. I walked into the interview with enough confidence to say “I belong here,” and enough desire to ensure that my confidence didn’t come off as “ego.”
I wish you all the best of luck in your job search. I’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it.