There I am: seatbelt buckled, sunglasses in hand, waiting at a red light. Twenty minutes ago I made a deal with myself not to check my email until 7:00pm… who has that kind of self-control? Not me. I unlock my phone. The light turns green for people turning left. I tap my email app….
Flash forward ten seconds.
I didn’t get the job. Apparently there’s a typo in my resume. I switched an “i” and an “l” but the word processer didn’t pick up on it… or my nine proofreaders. Of course the CEO is the one who found it. I’m mortified.
…I’m also annoyed I went over my data this month FaceTime interviewing for this company and checking my email like a madwoman. My Dad’s going to be pissed.
Horns. Empty road in front of me. The light turns yellow and I gun it. The guy behind me doesn’t make it and jams an angry middle finger in the air.
Not only am I jobless, but I’m now a jobless a-hole.
I’ll give it a good cry (sunglasses on to avoid judgment from fellow highway travelers) and make a plan when I get home.
*I’m no expert when it comes to jobs and careers for young professionals. And honestly, I don’t think anyone is or even can be. #millenialproblems
Here are five tips to move closer to your career goals as a young professional and millennial:
1. Find a friend that supports your goals.
Okay, super important note: make sure your friend is actually your friend and doesn’t see you with rose-colored glasses. Most of my friends consider my spelling, grammar, and editing skills better than their own. I think this is why I didn’t catch my resume typo and why I’m not currently living my dream… damnit, friends! Stop thinking so highly of me!
This friend should be available for approving cover letters, editing thank you notes, and, perhaps most importantly, providing tall glasses of wine when the rejection emails start piling in.
2. Personalize your resume and cover letter… every single time.
Yup, this is annoying as all heck. Why isn’t your normal resume good enough? Because you’re a millennial, babe. Get used to it. We all know we just want the job because… well, because money! It sucks that we have to pretend that money isn’t the reason we want the job, but we must. Tailor your resume and cover letter to the company you are applying for — I always like to include specific points from the job description and address the company mission statement. It sucks, but I’ve never interviewed for a position I didn’t do this for.
3. Find a site and stick to it.
Okay this seems easy, right? Well, not quite. It’s so easy to get discouraged from one site and move on to the next one. Stick with one way of finding a job for at least 90 days. Follow through and be patient! Some of my favorites to start with are indeed.com, monster.com, and then a content-specific site.
4. Always follow up, even when rejected.
Thank you notes are a must. Sometimes they feel repetitive but never give up the opportunity to thank an interviewer for their time. Don’t annoy your interviewer though, thank them once within 24 hours. If they say they’ll get back to you in a week and don’t, don’t send another email. Give them double the time they asked for. Interviewing you isn’t a full time job– they’ve got to do something to bring home the bacon, so be patient.
A good thank you note will be composed of specific conversation points from the interviews and an address of the next time you plan on speaking (hopefully you asked this during the interview). If you’re following up to a rejection, it’s still important to thank them for their time AND ask for feedback! If they provided feedback, don’t make excuses. Admit to fault if necessary and thank them for the insight. It’s important to maintain a level of respect and professionalism. You never know whom your interviewer is networked with.
5. Find and use your resources.
It’s tough out there alone. Use anyone who is willing to help you. Set aside your pride and ask parents, friends, and acquaintances for help. Don’t be too prideful to make back home for a little while when you’re searching for the entry level of your dream job!
This is definitely the hardest piece of advice I can give… we are cultured to he independent, self-made, and strong. But seriously, that’s impossible. Ask everyone you know, even if they’re not in the field you’re interested in. Maybe they know someone in another department who can help. Check openings in friends companies and ask them to make nice in your department of choice to help you get an “in.”
Obviously this list is not comprehensive, but hopefully it gives you some inspiration.
I’ve been job-hunting for 4 months — so to put that in perspective for you I’m about 128 applications deep (yes, all personalized resumes and cover letters) and have only had 2 interviews. I don’t plan on giving up anytime soon though. Keep your fingers crossed for me and I’ll say a prayer for you.