Job Search Highs and Lows from a Recent Graduate

Thanks to Kevin Monahan for publishing this guest post! Although I’m not an expert, I hope that some of my recent experiences can provide reassurance (or comic relief) to those in the job search jungle.

Rejection Management

I will be the first to admit that I probably entered the job search with an unhealthy attitude towards the rejection that I would encounter. Let’s face it – since long before I could stand up, my parents, teachers, Cub Scout leaders, and Mr. Rogers all drilled the notion into my head that I am perfect, outstanding, and special. As my cohort journeyed through our education, everyone was a winner. Getting rejected from my first major job prospect was one of the first times that I was made to feel that I had significantly failed, and I took the news about as gracefully as a relationship breakup.

My roommate provided an essential outlook overhaul: the job search is a tremendously long process that will likely be paved in rejection. Before he secured a dream job, he had interviewed and been rejected by every consulting firm and every investment bank that came to campus, and spent whole weekends interviewing at the offices of his top choices only to receive rejection letters in his inbox. The joy and progress of a job search lies in making new connections and learning new things about a fascinating industry- dwelling on every rejection would surely grind my efforts to a halt. From that point on, I saw each rejection as an ironic testament to my hard work and reinvested my energy in email outreach to alumni and HR managers.

In my journey of rejection management, having a social outlet to share my successes and failures was a must. The Notre Dame Career Center counselors provided a constant source of reassurance and advice, and comparing notes with peers who were also on the job hunt kept me on track. At times, my search seemed cruel and relentless, but a focus on the thrill of new opportunity, developing my professional self, and discovering my career maintained my drive and energy.

“What Are You Going to Do With That?!”

Although it starts as a joke the first 5 times we hear it, Arts and Letters majors begin to believe that we are unemployable as we are teased for four years by engineers and law students. By senior year, we can’t hear the reassurances of career counselors and recruiters who insist that a well-rounded liberal arts education is a perfect foundation for a professional career. I would like to echo these sentiments and attest that these are not just kind words, and whatever our mechanical engineer friends say about our philosophy classes, our education has expertly prepared us for a wide variety of professional careers. In interviews, highlight your ability to read, write, and communicate effectively, to collaborate in a group, and to synthesize complex themes from an abundance of data. Your education has soundly equipped you with these skills that will not only impress potential employers, but will forever serve you in a professional career.

Author Bio: Scott Mitchell graduated in May from Notre Dame and majored in Psychology and Sociology. He now works for One Click Ventures in Indianapolis where he is an analyst for sunglasswarehouse.com and other online stores. He believes that all those active in their career search should become best friends with the Notre Dame Career Center counselors and check the Career Seekers Guide daily.

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About Kevin Monahan

I have 10+ years experience in coaching clients in their career management and career change efforts. Personal career consulting services combined with employer outreach to help find opportunities for both constituents.
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