I personally struggled to find a job, and to this day I’m not entirely sure why. Some people can find a job really quickly, but others like me weren’t so lucky. Today is almost 4 months since I started my first job out of college, so what better time than to reflect on how I got here?
Let’s start with the big numbers. Starting early August before my senior year of college, all the way to January of the second semester, I applied to 96 positions. My strategy was to apply to trainee positions in my area and the nearby city that would accept economics majors. These trainee positions were specifically geared towards college students and began recruiting early, hence the August open date. I applied to a mix of various Fortune 1000 companies within insurance, since that was what my internship was about, but also other kinds of businesses since I had prior experience and interests in those, too. I of course also applied to the company I interned at, using the recommendation letters of the division’s VP. For a couple companies, I used the referrals of my dad’s close friend and an acquaintance.
Out of the 96 applications, I didn’t hear back until November (my application #60). After completing my video interview, I never heard back from them. I knew better than to hang my feelings on that one company, and continued to apply, network, and hone my cover letters and resumes while maintaining my grades, student organizations, and job. Out of the 96 applications, I got 6 phone/video screening interviews, 5 HR interviews, and 2 in-person interviews with the team. Of those 2, I got 1 job offer. That’s a 1% success rate! And mind you, I tried my best to use my network, and I was completely qualified for the vast majority of these positions.
Now, that 1 job offer wasn’t what I wanted. It was kind of salesy, and the compensation wasn’t too great – under $39k when rent would be $900 in the area that would also require me to drive around. But then things turned around quickly. My top choice at the time had then rejected me after I finished my last round of interviews with them, but suggested I apply to a different team within their company if I was interested.
I immediately jumped at the chance, and went into the 2nd round interview call with them. I passed that, then passed the 3rd round interview. After they went silent for a couple weeks, I stressfully drove myself 1 hour to the leasing office of what I thought was going to be my new apartment when I got a call in the parking lot. I got the job! (I had the best 1 hour drive back home.)
It was quite a journey for me, but 4 months in, I’m pretty happy with my job, and it takes good care of me. I don’t know what percent of this was luck and hard work, but this was honestly one of the most stressful times of my life, the first being thinking about changing my major! I know life probably has another curveball headed towards me soon, but for now, I’m enjoying my career and my day-to-day.