Jobhunting: Insecurities and Tips

I'm the worst: Friday I promised you guys to share some of my tips on how to find a job as a recent graduate the next day, and then I totally forgot. But now I remember! Also, I'm not actually the worst. Forgetting a promise is totally not as bad as, like, killing kittens. Chillax! Besides, it was the WEEKEND! Who looks for a job on the weekend, right? Nolifers! Watching TV and browsing endless pictures of Rachel Bilson's perfect highlights is way cooler than that.

ANYWAY, now that this bit of silliness is out of the way, let me get to the point. Last Friday, I was hired for my first real job after graduating and it feels SO good. A huge relief and an affirmation of me being on the right track. I had been sending out my résumé to all kinds of open positions, and after about a month of doing so I had gotten pretty beat down.

//No  experience, overqualified//

Maybe it's the economy, but I could hardly find ANY job offers I qualified for. I have a Master's degree in communication sciences, so I was looking for positions in marketing, PR, communications and/or editing: I think I can be pretty versatile to a future employer. It didn't take long before I realized that pretty much 100% of those jobs ask for someone with previous experience in a similar job. Even my internship and 2 years of blogging experience in the world of editing and communications proved to be not enough.
I decided to lower my expectations and start looking for desk jobs as a secretarial assistant. Something that did not entice me AT ALL. I have once worked as secretary at a law firm before University, and it was the most boring job I have ever done. But I was willing to suck it up for the payment, because a girl's got to eat ya know.
So I started looking in that direction, but still I got back replies concerning my lack of experience or (even worse) about me being overqualified. SRSLY PEOPLE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET A JOB/EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS? Having heard stories from friends, I'm pretty sure everyone in my age bracket is familiar with these qualms. Rest assured: it's not you. It's THE WORLD.

 //Doubts rise as success slips away//

Looking for a job (and failing) can be ridiculously frustrating from time to time: you start starry eyed and ready to take on the world, but with every disappointment your confidence drops a little bit until you are ready to denounce your degree and wish you had just done the sensible thing and went to law school or something.
I remember telling my boyfriend I did NOT regret studying communication sciences because even if it would not benefit my career, I had loved every minute of it. I think I was just trying to quiet my inner fears and insecurities by saying that. I had worked hard for a year to save up for Uni, and seeing four years of studying, reading, writing and immersing myself in my studies go down the drain with no one to value it was like a stab to the heart. Like Springsteen sings: is a dream a lie if it don't come true?
But then I got hired. For my talents, for my ambitions and for my experience. After the past month, I truly realize how lucky I am for getting this outcome. And I hope you all get that same result, SO! After a super long winded intro, here are my tips for jobhunting as a recent graduate in one, two, three.

ONE//Pick your position

Start by making a list of your priorities: what field do you see yourself working in? Are you prepared to travel? How many hours do you want to work? What time can you spend on commuting? How ambitious are you? Compare different concerns to find out what matters most to you. In the end, I realized that a short commute time and a job where I'd get some freedom and responsibility were my no 1 priorities.
I would have been willing to commute longer for an AWESOME job, but the job would have to be EXTREMELY awesome. Having your list of priorities spelled out gives you the dedication you'll need in job interviews. If your future boss gets the feeling you don't know what you want, he won't be convinced. And neither will you.

TWO//Dare to be picky

After hearing horror stories of graduates being unemployed for months and months because they would not accept any job outside of the field set by their degree, I had convinced myself I would keep my options open and my expectations low. Of course this has benefits, but I actually only experienced the downsides of this mindset: you'll start applying all over the place and you lose track of what you would really hope to achieve in your heart of hearts.
If you have parental support or the luxury to stretch your means a little while longer: DO dare to be picky. Not too picky of course (sacrifices will always have to be made), but picky enough not to jump at a job that would just depress you while your passion lies somewhere else completely. Also: be honest to yourself about what you really want, even if it turns out to have nothing to do with your degree.

THREE//Go for it

Seriously, I wouldn't call myself a go-getter but I have never been to afraid to ask questions, to ask for advice or to go ahead and tell people I'm looking for a job. Don't wait until someone asks about you, but be out there and and keep your eyes open 24/7 for opportunities and possibilities.
If you LOVE a certain company, just send them a fun letter telling them why you respect their brand and attach your résumé, stipulating why you'd make a great addition to their team. Companies LOVE that shit, for real. Your application will be earnest and you'll immediately make connections based on common interests. Even if you don't get a job straight away, people will remember you and maybe recommend you to someone else. If not, you've just made a connection with interesting people: you always win something. So pick up that phone and connect!
Also, applying for a job spontaneously fills you with positive energy. Even if the position feels too good to be true, you can't help but fantasize about the possibilities that lie ahead. It stimulates your ambition and inspiration. And let me tell you one thing: Keeping positive energy flowing while looking for a job is incredibly important if you don't want to end up wearing your PJ's 24/7 because you're too depressed to shower.

Was this of any help? Do you have tips, fears or experiences to share? Good luck on your jobhunt!

Let me conclude with this completely unrelated picture of me wearing a poncho and a hat.


  1. Thank you for writing this post! It makes me feel a bit more positive about the near future. I'm in a journalism and mass communications master's program right now and I'm so worried I won't find a job when I finish up. I'm pretty sure I'll get the overqualified and not enough experience comments too. I'll just keep trying and stay positive like you did though!

  2. I'll keep this in mind! Ik moet nog wel minstens 2 jaar studeren voor ik aan werkzoeken moet denken, maar toch, met mijn studierichting is het ook niet echt evident om een job te vinden, althans niet in België ;) nou ja, ik ging wrss toch in het buitenland wonen en werken dus ik zie dan nog wel! Ik heb alleszins al een job alert e-mail met keyword 'Arabisch', haha :D x

  3. PRECIES WAT IK DENK. Ik ben sinds enkele weken afgestudeerd als 'Politicoloog' en ik krijg zelfs bij de meest notabele bedrijven nog de vraag 'of ik nu in de politiek ga'. *zucht* En de vragen 'vertel eens, wie is Hanna Simons?' en 'waar zie je jezelf binnen vijf jaar?' ben ik ondertussen ook wel beu. Mijn tip: durf zélf vragen stellen want zij moeten jou uiteindelijk ook kunnen overtuigen. Een job-interview is te vaak eenrichtingsverkeer en je moet geen schrik hebben om dat in vraag te stellen.

  4. I'm crossing my fingers for you!

  5. goeie tip! zou ik ook niet meteen durven eigenlijk, ik voel me snel zo ondankbaar.

  6. Ok, having spent much of last year job hunting I can honestly say this is fantastic advice. So true about being open-minded but not just jumping at everything! So true about sorting out your priorities first rather than later. For me the number one best thing I did was tell absolutely everyone that I wanted a job. I got loads of good advice on places to look, and the job I finally got came through a friend's room mate. So yeah. I'm still not 100% thrilled, the economy sucks and I'm not even full time yet (but then I do live in a country with 25% unemployment so I should just shut up and stop whining), but these are great ways to maximize your chances.

    And yay Annebeth, on being employed!

  7. thanks for your sweet feedback! I'm just speaking from my own experience, so you having the same thoughts on the subject really supports my claims! :D I actually like working part time. I can afford to do so, since my boyfriend has a good job, and this way I can manage the house, his kids when they are with us and work extra whenever I feel like it in the form of freelancing. PERFECT!

  8. ik ben ook net aan mijn master strategische communicatie begonnen! De zoektocht naar een job is niet echt iets waar ik naar uit kijk... gelukkig heb je nog 'redelijk snel' iets leuk gevonden!

  9. Will sure keep your post in mind. Hope I won't be unemployed forever! I needs a job!

  10. Great tips. I've read it all the way down. I'm really needed this. I've been with my current employer for five years but I'm no longer happy with what I'm doing. That's five years down the drain.

    I have a job interview today and it feels like I just graduated from college. I'm back to that kind of feeling again. Wish me luck!

  11. Haha, ik was de hele tijd bevestigend aan het knikken terwijl ik dit las. Ik ben momenteel ook volop aan het 'jobhunten', and boy it sucks. Zo'n sollicitatiegesprek voelt, voor mij althans, altijd aan als een verkoopsgesprek. Goods to be sold: yourself. Het lijstjes maken vind ik een zéér goed idee, daar ik ga ik meteen eens mee beginnen! Ik vuur maar raak maar ben dan uiteindelijk tot de conclusie gekomen dat ik liever ook niet te ver wil reizen voor mijn job. Maar langs de andere kant durf ik niet te 'picky' zijn omdat ik bang heb dat alle goede en leuke jobs dan voor mijn neus worden weggekaapt. Bon, nog een lange weg te gaan met andere woorden!

    Alvast een superdikke proficiat voor jou met je nieuwe job! Go kick some ass!


  12. The problem is indeed that companies definitely want to hire people with experience and students aren't prepared for their future life. Everybody is ambitious, but they will found out sooner or later that their dreams will not come true once they are graduated and thrown in the world of working people.

    I find it difficult that companies are giving uni people with an A-diploma a hard time 'cause they are scared they will run away if they find something better. But that's the big issue, if a person is interested in a job why won't they give them a chance, even if that person knows that he or she will be underpaid.

    All those working people with experience have been students in the past, so why won't they support people who just graduated and have fresh ideas and opinions?

  13. I had the same problem when I was looking for a job. I had 4 years of schooling and clinical work behind me and all the places I was applying said I didn't have enough experience. It can be really frustrating! SO glad you found a great job. I can't wait to hear more about it!

  14. "it's not you. It's THE WORLD."

    Literally the TRUEST statement ever (esp in media/communication jobs).

  15. Congrats on bagging the job! I know that you experienced some newly grad job hunting woes, but I think it is all worth it. And thank you for giving job hunting advice. This will be a big help for fresh graduates who are now looking for a job and trying to make their mark in their respective fields. Yes, job hunting can be frustrating at times. But with the right attitude, determination and confidence, you can have the job that you want. But do not forget to make your resume and CV as stellar as possible. Let the paper do the talking first, and you can do the rest during the interview.

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