For my first ever Throwback Thursday post, I want to share a story that I wrote in 2011; a story that I never published. It’s a story that most college graduates can relate to in some way, shape or form, especially individuals who graduated during a time of a rocky job market. Also, it’s a love story, just in time for Valentine’s Day. When I originally wrote the story, I titled it “I’m 99.” Today, I’m calling it…
Lesson #13: You will find your Romeo.
I’m 99.9% positive that one year ago today, down to this very moment, I was online searching for the opportunity to get my foot in the door at some company. How am I so confident? My parents, my older brother, my grandmother, my uncle, my professors, my friends, the media, and more wouldn’t let me forgot about the other nine percent statistic: the unemployment rate. To some, the sound of not landing a full-time job straight out of school is appealing. It’s their perfect chance to relax and travel the world. To me, the sound of that news was intimidating. I became motivated to explore LinkedIn, Indeed and Monster instead of Europe. But hey, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t as much fun as those other students. I had already visited Europe when I studied abroad the previous summer in beautiful Andalusia, Spain.
This is my story of how I approached my journey to the real world. I complied my itinerary: the list of things I needed to do to score an interview. I divided those tasks into two columns: one-timers and multi-timers. A one-timer is a task that I only had to do once, such as assembling my resume or buying a suit. In terms of travel, you can think of a one-timer as applying for a passport. A multi-timer is a task that I had to repeat throughout my trip, like conducting searches on job boards or researching companies of interest. In other words, a multi-timer is visiting the Alhambra, the breathtaking site in Spain that I had to see more than once!
The interviews began to takeoff. I interviewed for a variety of different roles, from door-to-door sales to Internet marketing. Although I didn’t want to be picky with the state of the market, I was curious to discover all of the career paths available to follow. Plus, each interview exposed me to new questions and new tactics that helped me prepare for the next one. My top choice, which we’ll refer to as Ruben, who you can think of as my Spanish summer fling, was with an advertising sales organization based in New York City. Ruben was extremely attractive, ranked as one of the best places to work in the city two years in a row. Ruben offered a comfortable yet professional atmosphere where I could see myself staying for a while. It was love at first sight. But like all summer flings, my relationship with Ruben didn’t last long. I didn’t get the job.
Just as fast as my heart was broken, it was mended. The Monday morning after graduation I had a phone interview with the person who little did I know at the time would become my boss. She asked me when I could come in for an on-site interview and I replied that afternoon. By Tuesday, I was employed ironically enough in the corporate talent department.
This November was my 11-month anniversary with, let’s call the company, Romeo. As I reminisce about my experience, I’d like to offer you my advice. Your first job search out of college is just another foreign adventure. We’ve all entered unfamiliar territory before and managed to survive. For a personal example, rewind four years to the time you first enrolled in college. The moral of my story is don’t let the nine percent statistic intimidate you. Use the skills you already possess to research and plan your itinerary. With practice and persistence, you will find your Romeo.