Earlier in the week I posed a question via my social media accounts and the question was, “What are some things you think young adults struggle with when looking for a job after college?”
I could have went straight to the academic advisers to get well calculated data and analytical answers (which I did) but I decided who better to tell the story and give the advice but the subject matter experts themselves.
That’s right, I went and got answers from young adults who have graduated from college and are currently fighting the fight of finding their passion, living their dreams, and getting a paycheck all at the same time.
Below I compiled a list of concerns, struggles, and suggestions from college graduates that may help current and future graduates navigate their pace post-college.
1.Having Patience While Searching For The Job You Want: This was the #1 concern of post-graduates, including myself. It’s so hard to hold out on finding a job that you actually want when the bills are piling up and rent is due. This is especially even harder when it seems like your friends are already settled with good jobs.
The key to staying motivated and focused is picking up a job working somewhere that will add skills to your resume as well as money in your pocket while still looking for the job you want. Remember not to settle or get comfortable in this position because essentially it is only temporary. Use your free time to apply for jobs, go on informational interviews, and pick up some side projects and until the job you want becomes available.
As far as your friends having “good” jobs already, you have to understand that everything that glitters is not gold. What we see others with may not be all that it seems and even if it is, that is THEIR blessing. You have to remain patient and gracious in order to receive yours.
Also — remember that applying for jobs is a full-time job so you have to set time aside for this DAILY.
2. Wanting To Relocate Immediately– This one is HARD because I’ve been in this position more than one time. I interned in DC for close to a year during undergrad and I vowed that once I finished my last semester of college, I would be going back. As the time to go back drew near I found myself not being able to keep that vow due to the high costs of living and no guarantee of stability.
Many people find themselves in this position when it comes to wanting to live in a big city full of young adults that are filled with ambition and fun. It is easy to want to be there in hopes of following your dreams while rubbing shoulders with people who are following theirs. The thing is, companies DO NOT offer relocation as often as they use to nor do they offer high salaries to accommodate recent college graduates.
One way to combate the cost of living would be to acquire roommates, subsidized housing, or even family members who may live in the area willing to let you crash on the couch for a couple months (couch surfing). Though these conditions may not be desirable (they weren’t for me)they can help you cut cost in cities where the cost of living is expensive.
3. Not Having Enough Experience– Many post-college grads feel defeated when applying for jobs that ask for 2 years or more of SOLID experience and that does not include internships most of the time.
Let me tell you guys my solution to this — LEARN HOW TO USE YOUR WORDS. Even if you worked a full-time job during college learn how to describe the job in a way that translates to professional experience. Resumes should be all about deliverable outcomes.
Jobs do not care what team you were on and what THEY did. They want to know what your part was in the team, and how you being apart affected the overall outcome of the project and the company. Another way to put this is, let’s say you had a job working the cash register at Macy’s, companies want to know how YOU being on the register affected the overall company. Was there less fraud? Was your drawer never short? What kinds of promotions did you get? How many credit cards did you open? How do you stand against other employees? Did you save the company money? All that information is VALID.
Also, you have to learn to sale what you have done already. If you worked at a nursing home in undergrad as I did then what kinds of things did you do there that can transfer on to this new job you are applying for? This is why SOLID cover letters are important. Resumes are for WHAT you did, cover letters are used to explain how what you did is applicable to this particular position you’re applying for. Remember, you control your own narrative — make it count!
4. Finding A Career That Fits You– Finding a career that fits our passions as well as our strengths is sometimes hard. I am not passionate about a lot of things that I am not good at, and I am good at a lot of things that I am not passionate about. It’s hard to mix the two the the hopeful outcome of finding the perfect position.
Experiences are the only things that will help you navigate what you do or do not like. Interning for me was helpful because I had one internship in which I loved and then another one which I hated. The one in which I hated was doing fundraising work better known as “development”. It consisted of me making calls all day, sending letters ,and keeping track of the donations that the company received. I felt like I was overworked + underpaid at a point but it was helpful because I knew I never wanted to do this type of work again.
Your strengths will usually show for themselves as life goes on. I’ve been faced with some things that at one point I wouldn’t have considered myself strong enough to do or handle but then I look at myself now and I am handling it with so much grace. Give yourself some time to grow into your passions and figure it out because if you rush it then you may jump too soon and miss what you were suppose to be waiting on.
5. NEGOTIATE– When I took my current job, I did a counter offer because I felt like I was worth more than what they were offering and on top of that I was relocating and they weren’t covering that (my previous job DID and because I left early I had to pay that back).
Remember that negotiation is about FACTS not feelings. When you negotiate your price tag you have to make it clear WHY you believe you are worth what you’re asking for and it should come with facts and a solid resume. I asked for $10,000 more than what they originally offered and they met me close to $7,000 more. If you do not ASK then the answer will always be NO so you have to speak up. Don’t be so desperate to take a job and forget to ask about money and benefits.
Okay you guys, *wipes sweat* I am DONE here. I am thinking of turning this into a series though because I have so much more to say that I think you guys will find useful. Tweet me here and let me know what you think. Any questions, shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, be BRAVE and go get your dream job — -I’m rooting for you all. -B
The REAL Struggles of Young Adults Post-College: From The Subject Experts Themselves was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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