Why My Second Post-Grad Job Hunt Is Much Tougher Than My First

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Anna Marden Business Card

Anna’s done everything short of pinning her actual business card on her shirt.

In the last couple of months, I’ve juggled a full-time temp job, freelancing, online classes, and a job hunt. I’d like to tell you that I’ve found a way to balance everything and that finding a second post-grad job is easier once you’ve successfully gotten your first.

But in reality, dealing with all of this has just turned me into a high-strung, stressed-out person.


How I Got Here

Before graduating from college last August, I didn’t apply to any jobs. I finished my senior year by studying abroad and ignoring my reality. I came home jet lagged, depressed, and in no condition to dive head first into my big-girl job hunt.

Luckily, I had done myself a favor the previous January by making a portfolio website and printing business cards with QR codes linking to it.

I applied to some jobs in the beginning of September, but I was too picky. I floundered at phone interviews I hadn’t fully prepared for. I tried networking—I sent my website URL to my cousin who works in the magazine industry, which he sent to colleagues. When I checked my site a few days later, I noticed a big fat typo in the first sentence of my home page.

I temporarily gave up on my professional future and got a part-time job at a coffee shop.

An Alternative Job-Seeking Strategy   

In a delirious stroke of genius, I decided to write a story about being a broke, underemployed college grad, which The Boston Globe published. Lo and behold, someone at my current job read the story, and BAM—a job fell out of the sky for me. (Incidentally, the editor of this blog read that story too and recruited me to freelance.)

Unfortunately, the job that fell into my lap is temporary. And now, my time there is fast running out. I started my second round of job apps back in February. People keep saying, “The best time to look for a job is when you already have a job.” At the same time, everyone also says, “Looking for a job is a full-time job.”

The Search For Post-College Job Number Two

This time, I’ve been persistent with preparation and follow-through. I constantly edit my website and my LinkedIn page. I redesigned my résumé so it’s pretty and easy to read. I downloaded an indeed.com app and check new job listings compulsively. I apply to everything that seems like it could be a good fit for me, even jobs where I don’t have the required number of years of experience.

I now proofread like a maniac. I get other people to proofread, too. I sent my newly edited website to my cousin again, who helped me set up an informational interview with Condé Nast.

I wrote a list of potential questions to ask employers, and I practice answering possible interview questions in the mirror. I’ve had over a dozen phone interviews and probably eight in-person interviews, with more coming up. I always send a personal thank you to my interviewers.

Continuing My Education

I also looked at my weaknesses and started taking online classes in some subjects that I feel will really boost my résumé. I’ve taken classes to improve my knowledge of HTML and search engine optimization, and I’m partway through an intro course in CSS.

So, with all this on my plate, being stressed out makes sense. Luckily, I’ve found a pretty great class to help with that too: I started taking yoga. I highly recommend it. Finding a job is always going to be tough. My best advice is to find any way to stay grounded and be positive during the entire process.

I can do this! You can too!

What did you learn during your first job hunt that helped you find your second? Let us know.

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