We’ve all been there before, and if you haven’t, well, you will. You’re at an outing with friends and family, and the dreaded question comes up. You know, the question about your future. “What are your plans after graduation?” It’s a loaded question because while some people have it together, others don’t… most of us don’t.
With graduation less than a few weeks away for some and real adulthood looming in the air, I thought it would be fun to check in with a few of my friends and make sure that I’m not the only one struggling to find my next step.
Figuring out life after graduation can be hard. When you go to college, you know you’re generally locked in for a 3-5 year commitment depending on what plan you’re on. But when choosing a job, and even better, a career, it’s not the same. There is no set timeline and generally no designated path or footsteps for you to follow unless you follow in the footsteps of your parents or a fantastic mentor.
So with that said, I decided to interview a few of my friends about their thoughts on the job hunt process, graduation, and semi-adulting. Here is what they had to say.
Q: Thoughts on the job search?
“The job search. What comes to mind immediately is the line from Friends where Phoebe exhales and says, ‘I don’t even have a pla-.’ Currently, the biggest struggle I find is continuing to fill out applications, usually online, and submitting into the void of the internet without the guarantee of a response.”
“It was pretty stressful yet rewarding at the same time. I applied to about nine jobs and got second round interviews with all of them.”
Q: Advice to anyone looking for a job?
“Don’t let rejection get you down. Be persistent. I applied to 50 places before getting three offers. That’s 6%. That’s rough!”
“Be as persistent and prepared as possible when it comes to the interviewing/application process. I found that simple things like following up, asking questions, engaging in constant conversations with the people I wanted to hire me really set me apart. It showed them that I was interested as well as quasi-determined to get hired and contribute to their organization.”
Q: What are you most looking forward to after graduation?
“Spending a summer with my family, it’s been a long time since I lived at home for more than 2 weeks.”
“Looking forward, a new beginning is starting. My baseline goal for when I start something new is: to leave things better than when I got there. Better cannot always be quantified or calculated, but better can be felt by the people you interact with and the culture you create. It is satisfying to look at this chapter (college) and know that I have made a positive impact and know that there is more out there in the world. It is encouraging to look to the new chapter and envision how to continue to make the next place better.”
So it’s safe to say that, the job search and adulting are not easy. The big takeaways here are that:
- The job search is stressful but rewarding.
- Persistence is key.
- There is a lot to look forward to after graduation. It’s a time of opportunity.
From my perspective, I echo the sentiments about being persistent. My job hunt process was less than glamorous, and I can say that’s probably true for most graduates looking for a job. It’s hard to submit quality applications and hear nothing back. But I will say networking is essential. The saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and that couldn’t be more true for finding your first job, and probably every other job after that.
With that said, if the job hunt and the responsibility of adulting after graduation have you down, know that there is hope. As Morgan alluded to, there is so much opportunity in the new beginnings coming your way. It’ll all be worth it in the end.
I want to say a huge thank you to Morgan, Elaine, and Wes for featuring in this post and for willingly giving honest advice about what it’s like to graduate, look for a job and semi-adult at the same time.
Let me know your plans after graduation in the comments below and your thoughts on the job hunt process. Sometimes it’s good to know you’re not alone in this whole “adulting” thing.
Until next time, get up, get moving, and live your best life.