Limbo? You know, the space between heaven and hell? Hell being undergrad and heaven being full-time employment. Yeah, semi-permanent resident here (73 days and counting), and it has the be one of the most trying times of life. You study hard for four years to earn a degree in something you’re passionate about and want to do for the rest of your life, only to not be able to land your first job. A measly, entry-level job in the industry you love constantly slips through your fingers. And as you dwindle away day after day trying to be productive and proactive, your soul is being eaten away by disappointment after disappointment.
BUT HEY, THE WORLD’S YOUR OYSTER, RIGHT?
Yeah, I’d want to punch me for saying that, too.
Before I go any further, it’s worth noting that everyone has a different path in life–some live the face tattoo, no office job life–and to each his own. Some people (Think: Chem/Engineering majors) are scouted months before graduation, and MANY more people don’t get a job relating to their majors for a while. And pretty much no one gets their dream job just days after graduation. So, everyone has to spend a little time in limbo. Warning: It sucks.
While I haven’t been a well-vetted limbo resident–prayers that I never will, I have some advice for you (and myself, to be honest) for surviving in this god-awful state of post graduate life. May the jobs be with you.
Network as if your life depends on it, because it does
It might be different from industry to industry, but in the media biz it is all about who you’ve impressed. Apparently applying online to jobs is pretty much a waste of time. When you apply online, your application enters a virtual void, never to be seen by any HR person ever. There’s a village of unread resumes somewhere, and the Natalie Harmses make up a good portion of the population.
So, set up informational interviews with strangers, keep in touch with people who both give great advice and work for your dream companies, and email email email!
I know I just said it’s pointless, but do it anyways
Apply online daily. To jobs you might not even want THAT bad. Like, don’t apply to jobs you would never, ever want. But apply to jobs that might not be your dream. If you apply to a company that one of your networking friends works at, boom. Email them and get an in.
Take a break
I need some mental breaks now and then, but I like them to be productive. Like, going to the gym or cooking a healthy meal. Keeps me sane. And honestly, reading a good book or a magazine–those are actually productive in my industry. YAY!
Watch the spending and freelance
The absolutely worst part of limbo is no income and lots of free time. That equates to tons of money spent hanging out with your friends. Gosh, I wish I had less friends. Ways to balance that out: babysit, freelance write or edit or house/pet sit. IF you can find those jobs, DO THEM! A part-time is OK too, as long as it doesn’t detract from job applying/networking time. Also hangout at home everyone and a while–pool or movie time is awesome. Or, a good old fashion wine night–your employed friends are buying.
That means something different for everyone, but for me it means having a killer resume and witty cover letter ready to go, having a beautiful website and social media presence and an extensive portfolio. Not to mention, dressing well if you–eek–get an interview.
As cliche as it sounds, it is kind of great in limbo–some days! The little things, like having time to seriously consider what you want. You have a chance to prove that if you want something enough, you can accomplishing. Limbo may suck financially and it may eat at your soul, but we have to hope that in the end it will all be worth it, right?