Before you go any further I should warn you, this is not an inspiring column about chasing your dreams and doing what you love. This is about expectations management and some realistic advice on how to get a job (any job).
Every May, a fresh crop of university graduates emerge from the cosy bubble of undergraduate life, ready to face the rejection-letter reality of the working world. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
“What have I done with my life … why did I ever get an arts degree?”
But don’t fret, new grads, you won’t be broke forever. Eventually, you will get over your quarter-life crisis, get off the couch and you will find a job. It might not be right away, but employment will happen, just as long as you don’t do any of the following:
Spelling and grammatical errors on your resumé are inexcusable, as are limp-wristed handshakes. Never underestimate how far a firm grasp and a properly placed semicolon will take you.
Asking an employer to postpone your start date until after your birthday, indicating that you will need to bring your German shepherd into the office every Friday or any other outlandish requests will not be tolerated in today’s cutthroat job market.
A hard and fast way to never get hired is to indirectly insult the person doing to hiring. A friend of mine, a manager at a retail store, recently interviewed a new grad for a sales position. This is what transpired:
Question: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Answer: “Well, I’ll be 26 by then (gasp — the horror!) so I’ll probably have my life figured out — you know, have a real job.”
My friend was unimpressed. And by the way, I don’t know any 26-year-olds who have their lives “all figured out.” In fact, most of the people I know younger than 40 are still trying to get it together.
Be a social media saboteur
Avoid tweeting excessively about failed interviews, badmouthing former employers or any other spiteful online commentary that would make you a human resources nightmare.
Just because this isn’t your dream job doesn’t mean you’re too good for it. If you’re a desperate twenty-something living in your parents’ basement looking to pay off some student loans, then be prepared to settle.
And if all of your hard efforts don’t pay off just remember, there’s always grad school.