Since graduating from college in December and recently getting my first real job, I’ve summed up my post-grad job search process into six numbers: 123, 84, 24, 22, 8, 1.
No, you’re not having ‘Lost’ flashbacks. These numbers aren’t abstract – they mean something very specific.
I kept track of all the jobs I applied for, the number of interviews I had, all the job titles I applied for, and more, creating an Excel spreadsheet that unfortunately got longer and longer every day, which is where I got all of this data from. I created the data into two infographics which you can check out after the jump.
Looking back, it looks like I wasn’t on top of my job search game at all. I feel like I applied to way more jobs and that I had way more interviews! I didn’t apply to that many jobs my semester before graduation. Mistake #1. I remember thinking at this time last year, it won’t take me that long to get a job. I was pretty naive.
But to be fair, at the time, I had five internships, and they were in completely different industries, which made me think I would be able to get a job quickly and easily. I was also toying with the idea of staying with Ideas That Evoke in Madison where I had an internship, because I had a feeling they would offer me a full-time position after I graduated – that’s what they did with many interns prior to me.
It wasn’t until August when I started to apply in areas besides southeastern Wisconsin, and I wasn’t afraid to apply anywhere, like Alaska, Oregon and Maine. I had enough of my comfortable Midwestern life and knew I needed to get out to the West Coast or East Coast.
One thing I found interesting was how I mostly applied at advertising agencies. It’s definitely eye-opening working at an architecture firm because we function somewhat like an advertising agency. We have a bunch of different clients, each architectural associate works on a couple projects at a time, and it’s very fast-paced and creative.
Another thing I found interesting was all the different job titles I applied for and the most companies I applied to. As you can see, I really wanted to work for Laughlin Constable – I applied there five different times!
After searching for countless job titles, I found it hard to narrow down what job titles I should target. It was frustrating clicking on a PR Coordinator position, which I believed was an entry-level title, only to find out that the position required 5-7 years of experience. Some job titles reference a manager or specialist position as entry-level, while others require that a manager or specialist have many years of experience.
Almost a year ago, I was just about to graduate, crossing t’s and dotting i’s and making sure everything was complete and done, because once I left Whitewater on a cold December day, I was never going back.
I wouldn’t wish being unemployed and constantly searching for jobs on my worst enemy. I would also not recommend to graduate in December! They say the odds of getting hired are the same if one graduates in December or May, but let’s be real. I learned the hard way that companies are too busy with holiday parties, vacations, spending time with their families, end-of-year evaluations and preparing for the new year to even think about hiring someone new.
I can’t help but feel that my eight months in job search hell was worth it because I got something so great out of it. I feel so blessed and grateful, now that I have an absolutely amazing apartment and landlord, I live in a nice city a couple of miles from Long Island Sound, and I work at an incredible company with friendly and helpful coworkers. I’m so thankful for everyone who helped me along the way, especially both of my parents, who put up with my depressing self during my post-grad funk and supported me along the way, and for my mom, who helped me move out here.
I ended up finding an apartment and moving a lot quicker than I expected. I applied to this job, flew out to Connecticut and interviewed, got the job, found an apartment, moved out to Stratford, and had my first day all within three weeks! I’m so used to applying for a job and then having the whole process take months. I’m definitely an exception when it comes to relocating – but I’d be happy to answer any questions about looking for a job out of state, finding an apartment, settling in, and anything else.
During those three weeks, I had no time to be nervous or scared. But when I did have moments of doubt and anxiety, I kept reminding myself, Kelsey, you spent four months in Ireland only knowing one other person. You can move halfway across the country to Connecticut. You will be fine.
Everything seems too good to be true, and to be honest I’m waiting for something to go wrong because for the first time in a long time, I’m so happy. I believe this is where I’m meant to be. I’m so grateful that I got this job on the East Coast and moved here rather quickly. Relocating has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I’m so excited to learn more about Connecticut, architecture, and myself!