In January 2018, I was panicking.
I had graduated college in May of the previous year and spent the summer camping, hiking, and fishing with my friends in Pennsylvania. When fall rolled around, it was time to get serious and find a job. I studied marketing communications at a reputable school with an extensive alumni network and was confident I’d soon be starting my career. Fast forward two months and I was still looking. Two more months passed and still no job heading into the holiday break. When businesses re-opened in January, my anxiety was peaking when I reached out to a high tech PR firm in Silicon Valley.
On March 1, I walked into the Offleash office for my first day of work, and a year and half later, I couldn’t be happier to be here. I learned a lot from the journey, but there are some things I wish I’d known when I started.
Be bold. Opportunities aren’t going to fall into your lap. Finding a job is a lot like being your own personal PR agency – you need to be up early and pitching yourself every day. Be confident and assertive about the position you’re looking for and, when you find an opening, why you’re the best candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask an executive out for coffee to learn more about their business or follow up after an interview if you haven’t heard back. You need to be your biggest promoter.
Be prepared. Things can change at a moment’s notice and the biggest breaks are usually unexpected. If an offer would require you to move, have a plan in advance. If you’ll be commuting, consider how that will affect your daily routine. Brush up on the skills you’ll be using on the job and stay up to date on news in the industry. While you can’t see the future, you can be as prepared as possible in advance.
Back it up. Once you’ve landed an interview or a position, you need to start walking the walk. Read as much as you can about the company and show up ready to dive in. After applying to Offleash, they asked me earnestly if I was aware the position was full time in the Bay Area. I was. Within two weeks of accepting the offer, I found a place to live, packed my car and drove across the country. Live up to the expectations you’ve set for yourself.
Breathe. Finding a job and starting your career is frustrating and tedious and time-consuming and so on and so forth. There’s no sugar-coating it. But things will work out. Take a breath and remember that starting a career is a major milestone in your life. Don’t take your foot off the gas, but don’t be too hard on yourself.
I hope others new to the workforce can learn from my experience. Stop panicking and get prepared.
Peter Zibinski is an Assistant Account Executive at Offleash PR.