As I write this, I’ve been a college graduate for a whole 48 hours. I’m now qualified, wise, and ready to take on the world. HA. YEAH RIGHT. Graduating is a pretty terrifying experience. You’re plucked from the safe, predictable environment of a college campus and tossed into the real world in what you’d swear was the blink of an eye. Say goodbye to all your friends living within walking (or drunken stumbling) distance, pre-made meals waiting for you at the dining center, and being free every weekday from noon to midnight. While the unavoidable reality of $60,000 in student loan debt hangs over my head like a financially crippling raincloud, I do have one thing going for me: I have a job. Like a real, grownup, not-paid-by-the-hour job!
As a matter of fact, this blog post is my first official assignment as a salaried employee of foodjunky. So how did I manage to have a full time position waiting for me the Monday after college graduation? Here are 5 basic rules to follow.
Don’t think you’re above a low-paying (or even unpaid) internship
I started with foodjunky back in March as a marketing intern. I worked from school most of the time, but drove back to Chicago (250 miles) every other Thursday/Friday to work in the office. Sure it wasn’t the easiest situation, but I absolutely wouldn’t have this position now if I hadn’t jumped at the opportunity. Also, an internship isn’t supposed to pay you enough money to live off comfortably. It’s a way for a company to try you out before making a full financial investment. Balancing an internship and a part-time job is very doable! If it isn’t, you may not be ready for a full time job.
Don’t take what you learned in class too seriously
I’m not saying that you should skip lectures and bomb tests. Do your best and get good grades. Just don’t treat everything you learn in class as the gospel truth. There is often more than one way to do something. Just because you learned it at a university doesn’t mean it’s the best. It doesn’t even necessarily make it right! Regardless of what industry you’re heading into, a huge majority of learning will take place outside the classroom. Be ready to abandon some of what your beloved professors taught you!
Don’t be afraid of rejection
You’re going to hear “no” (or nothing at all) a lot before you hear “yes”. Or get an interview. Or get a hiring manager to acknowledge that you exist. I applied for jobs left and right for months before foodjunky got back to me. Don’t get discouraged! Your odds of getting called back go up every single time you submit an application. (Don’t believe me? Just ask Forbes!)
Don’t get tunnel vision
One of the worst things you can do is pigeonhole yourself into a specific career path. Keep your options open! If you’re in college or recently graduated, chances are that you’re still young. As much as you might think you have your future mapped out, you probably don’t. And that’s not a bad thing! Being open to new experiences is a fantastic trait to have. My degree is in broadcasting, but foodjunky has me doing marketing. I never thought this is where I’d end up, but I really enjoy it and I’m learning a lot! I probably wouldn’t be employed right now if I had limited myself to broadcasting jobs.
Be easy to work with
This one is easily the most important of them all. You could be the absolute ideal candidate, but no one is going to hire you if you don’t seem like you’re an easy person to get along with. Employers don’t want someone that’s great at their job but makes everyone else miserable. Be easy going, laid back, and friendly. Everything else will fall into place.
And there you have it. Mix in some sleepless nights and a burning desire to move out of your parents’ house and you’ve got yourself a full time job! Did I miss anything? Leave a comment down below!