Things I Learned While Job Searching

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As a (self-proclaimed) goal-oriented, hard-working and driven individual, having a kickass job has always been a huge dream of mine. When I graduated from Northeastern University last May, I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to achieve that goal. Frustrations and self-doubt aside, here are 11 things I learned during the past year while job searching.

1) You are not alone. You might feel like you’re the only person in the world without the job that you want, but the truth is theres SO many people out there in the same situation as you. And, even the people that do have jobs don’t necessarily have their dream job yet either. It all takes time.

2) Always try to have hope and be positive, but also be realistic- even if it seems near impossible that you’ll ever get hired. This is how I felt. A lot. I’d go in confident and hopeful to each job interview- Yeah, I’m gonna nail this one. Why wouldn’t they hire me? And then a week later, I’d be sobbing and confused after I was rejected. It’s hard not to take rejection personally, and I know I did take it personally many times. I always let myself have that day when I was rejected to feel a little sad and lost, and then reboot the next day and jump back on horse. Keep on keepin’ on!

3) Network, network, network. Network until those cows come home and then network some more. This is literally the only piece of advice my school’s career services office gave me, and unfortunately it truly is the ONLY way I’ve found that I’ll ever get a job. That good old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” rings all-too true.

4) It helps to have a support system. Thank god for my parents, because I’d 1) be broke and living under a bridge right now and 2) still be crying about all of the times I was rejected. It gets depressing and hard to see the light, but luckily my parents are my biggest fans and assured me that it was okay that I was rejected, and that I am talented and will one day get a job. Thanks mom & dad.

5) Start a blog. People in business are obsessed with blogs (hence this blog). If you’re looking to get into marketing like I am, I have heard countless people say that blogs are a great way to boost your portfolio, and show employers that you can actually write- in English. Us Millenialls have a lot to prove since we unfortunately talk though texting 97% of the time. LOL, IKR?  #Yolo.

6) Adults will always ask you if you’ve tried LinkedIn. I can’t tell you how many face-palm moments I’ve had when adults (baby-boomers) who found that I was job searching asked if I’ve tried using LinkedIn, “Oh, yeah, have you tried this new website thing called LinkedIn?” Nope, I’ve only been living under a rock waiting for a job to knock on my door…

*Sidenote: If you haven’t tried LinkedIn- DO!!!! (And Indeed, and Monster, and your schools career site…) A friend of mine from SIB, Spencer, has created an awesome resource for people looking to break into the startup world called GenXJobs – I definitely recommend checking it out for great job hunting tips, insights into the Boston startup community, and tidbits of wisdom that we learned at The Startup Institute.

7) Don’t be afraid to cold e-mail/call. I have reached out to several contacts of contacts this way and have had really great connections because of it. It goes along with networking, but as long as you ask nicely, you usually should get a warm response and someone willing to help you!

8) This is by no means a quick process. Sure a lucky few will get a job before or literally the day after they graduate from college, but for most of us it takes a year (or more)! This is probably the only time in your life that you won’t have a set job or direction, so give it time.

After one particularly painful job rejection, my dad gave me a good little pep talk gem: “You’ve only been job hunting for 8 months and soon you’ll be working for the rest of your life. If you have to wait a little bit to get your dream job, then it’s worth it. This time in your life will seem ridiculous someday.”  I was able to see my dad’s wisdom and saw that it’s pretty silly to cry over being unemployed. No, I’m not a loser, and yes, I will get a job one day- and probably want a vacation…

9) Consider it Funemployment. Yeah, being jobless really sucks, but you can choose to completely slack off and fall into a Netflix blackhole, or you can set a schedule for yourself and have things to look forward to in the day. I always made sure to go to the gym, and I set out a chunk of time each day that I would be job searching. I also sold a ton of stuff on Ebay for my mom to make a little bit of extra cash. That way, the endless hours of “Funemployment” didn’t seem quite so long and unproductive. My only regret is that I didn’t get an actual part-time job because I was so hopeful and positive that I’d get whatever next job I interviewed/applied for. I definitely could have saved enough for that trip to France by now, but hey! At least I was positive…

10) Find people to commiserate with. I guess I was “lucky”, as bad as it sounds, to have one of my best friends from high school in a similar situation as me. She is living at home, looking for her first “real” job and feeling just as lost and confused as I am. It’s nice to get together and look for jobs, share networking tips, as well as plot our escape to the Caribbean if this whole employment thing doesn’t really work out.

11) Look for something to help leverage you as a candidate during your time off. For me, I knew my digital marketing skills, and to be honest, confidence in myself were lacking- so luckily I turned to the Startup Institute. I wanted to gain more relevant marketing skills that looked attractive to employers. I had seen things like HTML and Analytics required on countless applications, so finally I broke down and applied to something that would help me build those skills.

This program has truly been amazing-I have learned more about myself and business in 4 weeks than I did in five years of undergrad (darn you, student loans). There are always ways to better yourself, be it a course or even volunteering. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself and that motivates you to wake up everyday!

 

If you have any tips for job searching/being unemployed please feel free to share! Also, if you want to hire me, I’d be completely okay with that 😉

-L

11 Music Apps

In the spirit of my first list, I am dedicating this 11List to my love of all things music. I graduated from Northeastern University with a BS in Music Industry, and may or may not be mildly obsessed with making playlists (shocking, I know). Without further ado, here is a list of 11 awesome music apps that help you discover, listen and connect.

1.  Spotify {Free/Paid} logo

Probably my most-used app. Spotify was introduced to the US in 2011 and is somewhat of a mix of iTunes and Pandora. You can create playlists, discover music and listen to “radio” stations all for free. The only catch is that without their Premium package (about $10/month), you’ll be stuck with the occasional ad interruption, and you won’t be able to stream on your mobile device.

2.   Soundcloud {Free} soundcloud-logo

This app is definitely tied with Spotify as my favorite app. Soundcloud lets you stream tracks for free (on both your mobile device and computer). You can create specific playlists, or just “like” a song and it will be saved to a list. It’s also very social and has a stream, aka newsfeed, where people or artists you follow will have tracks recommended for you. Soundcloud is where you can find remixes and songs that aren’t on iTunes or Spotify- basically it rocks.

3.   8tracks {Free} tracks_01

This app was only recently introduced to me by my good friend Blake. It is definitely a music discovery tool, where you can go in and pick what kind of “mood” you want to listen to. A favorite of mine is always “happy”/”summer”.

4.  Pandora {Free/Paid}images

Everyone and their mother knows about this app, but it’s still definitely deserving of a spot on this list. Totally a discovery tool, you can pick a station, which will then choose songs or artists with similar sounds. Another one where the premium package is nice because of no ads, but still works just as well without!

5.  Shazam {Free}images-1

Since I am the queen of music, I generally know most songs on the radio and used on television (just saying). But, when I don’t, I rush to my Shazam app and hold it as close as possible to the sound and it will pull up the song name and artists in usually less than 30 seconds. This only downside is that this app doesn’t seem to know really obscure songs. Can’t win em’ all…

6.   Soundhound {Free}images-2

Very similar to Shazam, but has a cool feature where you can try to hum or sing the tune, and the app might just recognize it. The app also has lyrics available of the song you’re checking out, which is a nice bonus if you’re into that kind of thing.

7.   Songza {Free}songza-logo

Songza is another app where you can set the music to your mood. If it’s Friday night and you’re going out, the app will generate a party playlist. If it’s Sunday morning and you’re just trying to relax, it will generate a more chill, low-key set.

8.  iHeartRadio {Free}mzl.bjvvazth

This is one of the best apps for broadcasting live radio. You can find just about any station from coast to coast and listen to it in real-time.

9.  Rdio {Free/Paid}rdio-icon

Another music discovery app, Rdio is described as a “jukebox with over 20 million tracks to play”. You can pay to upgrade some features, but even in free mode you can still steam full albums- I listened to Pharrell’s new album- not bad!

10.  Bandsintown {Free}Bandsintown

This is a great app to find out what bands/artists are coming to your location for shows. If you connect the app to your facebook, it will scan artists you like and make it super easy to locate shows that you’re into. Definitely helpful when you’re trying to track down where in the world Justin Timberlake is…

11. Songkick {Free}Unknown

Last but not least, Songkick. Similar to Bandsintown, Songkick scans your music library (or your Spotify playlists-cool!) to track the artists that you’re into.  From there, a list of concerts coming to your location is generated. You can purchase tickets for shows in the app, making it a super easy way to find and go to concerts.

What music apps do you love and use?

-L