Life as a young alumni – The job search

I was asked by Elon University’s student newspaper, The Pendulum, to write a few articles about life as a young alumni. My first letter is about the job search.

Dear Alum,

I’ve done a few of these things called internships, but ya know, they don’t pay much. And my parents keep warning me that pretty soon I’ll actually have to pay someone to use my phone, watch TV and even use Facebook. I think they’re called bills. Where do you get the money to pay for all this stuff?

All About The Benjamins

Dear All About The Benjamins,

Contrary to popular belief, life after college is nothing like the movie Office Space. Money is not only an important part of life, it’s an essential one. For most of us, a job is a good place to start.

I was fortunate enough to work several part-time jobs, one full-time job for over 2 years, and now work for myself. With these experiences I learned a few things about the job search.

  • Love + Money. You should always try to do something you love. Just don’t do it for free. Make sure you get paid for your time.
  • Be remarkable. Don’t be afraid to do something the Career Center told you not to. There are thousands of career centers out there preaching the same ideas. But there’s only one of you, and you have ideas of your own.
  • Interview them. You should be interviewing them just as much (if not more) than they’re interviewing you. After all, you’ll be spending ~40% of your waking hours with them each week.
  • Submit a video résumé. They won’t throw that into a stack with all the others. I promise.
  • Be selective, not picky. Create opportunities for yourself by applying & interviewing at many places. Then you’ll have choices, in which you can be selective. But remember, you do need a job to make money, so don’t get too picky. You’ve got 3/4 of your life left to score the perfect job. It doesn’t have to happen right away.
  • Understand yourself. If you love working with other people, make sure you find a job which allows you to do so. And be sure you like the people you’re going to be working with.
  • Health insurance & benefits. A great health insurance & benefits package with your employer will save you lots of money in the long-term, not to mention keep you healthy. And most companies that offer a great plan care about their employees—a good indication it’s a solid place to work.
  • You’re a rockstar. You will graduate Elon better prepared than at least 75% of your competition (and your co-workers). Just because you’re 22 and companies will tell you you have no “real” job experience, doesn’t mean you aren’t a rockstar. You’re much more valuable than you think.
  • Be confident. You’re a better leader, harder worker, more of a team player and a superior problem-solver to most everyone else out there. Be confident in yourself, and your future employer will see the value you can bring to their organization.

The Alum ’06