By now, you may have an idea of how strenuous job searching can be. You’ll spend hours and hours online looking and applying while occasionally feeling defeated. And once you do find that perfect position, you fit the majority of the qualifications, submit all application materials, etc. the waiting period begins and your patience ends. College is already stressful and adding this to the list of other worries will not help. It will feel like a chore and the thought of giving up will cross your mind too often. Every experience will lead you to become more aware of how to handle this task. I am not here to tell you that it will be easy but to hopefully shedding light on unexpected outcomes will save you a headache.


The Good

  • You find strengths, weaknesses, and passions you never knew you had. You’ll become so familiar with reading job descriptions that you’ll start to understand what you’re looking for and what you’re not.
  • You learn the true value of networking. We sound like broken records, I know. But knowing someone already inside the company helps boost your application to the top of the pile, you’ll get more comfortable asking for help.
  • You realize the importance of resume building and cover letter writing. By being active in your job search, you’re not allowing your resume and credentials to gather dust. You’re going to be more mindful of your activities and interactions and think “how can this be valuable to me?”
  • You discover not all companies fit your interests and vice versa. Remember, you’re shopping for employers just as much as they’re shopping for employees. Active, daily job searching will introduce you to companies you may have never considered before and you’ll become more open to new opportunities.
  • You are taught extreme patience, determination, and self-worth. You put an application in and hear nothing back? You’re worth more than that. Move on to better things. The application process is taking weeks? You stay sharp and remember that sometimes things just take time.


The Bad

  • You notice how complex applications are. Be wary of any “quick apply” or “one application fits all” options. It’s likely, especially for government positions, that you’ll end up filling out pages of information – as well as become subject to background checks, referral checks, or multiple screenings before an interview is even an option.
  • You wait for a substantial amount of time for a response. It would be lovely if applications were reviewed week 1, interviews happened week 2 and jobs were offered week 3. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. The most you can do is make professional inquiries as to their time-frames, and practice that patience you’ve gotten good at.
  • You begin to lose hope. Not much more needs to be said other than if you start to doubt that you’ll ever find that perfect job, make sure you’re reaching out for help. Our department, your friends, faculty members – we all want to see you succeed.


The Ugly

  • You never hear back from companies you’ve applied to. I’m sorry to have to tell you that businesses are under no obligation to respond to their applicants. Now it’s professional courtesy to send an acceptance/rejection notice, but it’s not a guarantee.
  • You find out you did not get the interview or position. Speaking of rejection, those will happen too. If you get a rejection notice, it’s likely that you’ll get an automatic, HR generated¬†email that thanks you for your interest but that they’re considering candidates whose skills and qualifications are better suited for the position.
  • Your degree isn’t as valuable as you were hoping. This is the toughest pill to swallow. Earning a college degree does not guarantee you a position. This is why we stress the importance of making connections, taking internships, and using your time in school as wisely as possible to stay ahead of your competition.

In the end, you will be eternally grateful for the experience. All of the lessons learned from diving in first will be valuable. So take all the time you need. Focus on where you want to be, have a goal in mind, and stay open to unexpected opportunities. Navigate your way through the waters of rejection and heartache. You never know when a hiring manager will send you the long awaited and anticipated response back to come in for an interview or even better – you landed that dream job.