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Things I learned while trying to score my dream job

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If money isn’t an issue, just let me work at a cat cafe (the above was taken at The Company Of Cats) forever

Finding a job after you graduate university is always really tough. You realise that “oh wow, so this is it right? I’m not going back to school and everything from now on will just be work”. So, to make things better, you lust after your ideal job. That job that you’ve envisioned yourself having since you figured out the kind of career path and industry you want to venture into. That shiny new job that in the words of my dear friend, Jacintha, you’ll be proud updating your Facebook status about.

But finding that job can be one of the toughest things ever. While I stand by the belief that job opportunities are always present, job opportunities you actually want can be scarce. I mean yeah, if it’s that awesome, chances are the person currently holding it wouldn’t want to give it up either. In our search, we end up either passing on available jobs we could have applied for or even deciding we don’t want a certain position after a successful interview, all because we’re not sure if it’s the ~right~ job for us.

But I decided that stressing myself isn’t going to make things work. Things happen for a reason, or they don’t, and beating yourself up over it when you see friends getting well-paying/dream jobs ahead of you isn’t going to get you anywhere. So I’m just gonna pen down the things I’ve more or less learned while in the midst of still searching.

1. You don’t have to have The Job (at least, not immediately) Finding the perfect job might take a long time – or never. We eventually either give up searching for that one job that will satisfy us and settle, or we get lucky.

But really, whether it’s the job of your dreams designing for a huge advertising agency or handling the accounts of a successful firm, I think it’s important to take the pressure off finding The Job. Sometimes, other things take priority. If you can earn more money in a job you don’t like as much (but don’t mind), it might not be so bad. As long as we don’t vehemently hate our job, we can grow to find things we like about it.

2. Take on a contract-based/part-time job while you search

If you, like me, need to try and independently fund your life as much as possible immediately after graduation, money always takes priority. Therefore, I am absolutely okay with taking on a job even if it isn’t exactly what I want to do in the long run – while making sure I am not completely deviating from my area of study or interest. I studied Media & Communications, so it’s important that I don’t just apply to any random job even if I’m desperate so that my resume still remains as solid and progressive as possible.

This way, I am able to earn and save, while still being on the lookout for a full time job. This also helps me gain experience (again I stress, in a relevant field) and possibly network.

3. If money is not an issue, consider an internship first

After I came back from Perth, Nigel’s sister asked if I would consider an internship as an editiorial intern after she saw a friend’s post on Facebook. I jumped at the opportunity when I found out it would be with a magazine that I bookmarked last year while narrowing down magazines I might be interested to work for. It felt right and timely, but unfortunately for me, they told me they didn’t have a budget to hire a full-time writer beyond my three months. I’m wistful to say that I left after one very, very short month for a part-time copywriting job simply because it paid better. I would have stayed, but I considered my priorities, and knowing that my internship wouldn’t lead to possible job prospects anytime soon led to the tough decision of leaving.

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Some of the best people I have ever met

But really, if money isn’t an issue (E.G your family doesn’t mind giving you an allowance for a couple more months), taking on an internship as a university graduate might not be so terrible. The downsides are that: a) people will ask why you still want to be an intern after you’ve gotten yourself a degree b) feeling like the coffee boy/girl all over again ala internships in your life c) your internship pay might be so little you feel like you’re working for free

The cons? You’ll likely be in a company you like (if not why did you apply for an internship there right?) and if you play your cards right, you might get an offer after your internship ends. If you make a good impression, chances are they’ll want you to stay on. And trust me, people take break for months after they graduate. Getting an internship beats bumming around if you want to learn/do something productive.

4. Just get yourself out there, no matter how hard it is

I guess this is a no-brainer. Eventually, we all just need to get our butts off our bed and just do something. You just need to remember that you have control over how your future pans out, and that everyone has to slave a little before going places. Given a choice, I never want to fully commit to the workforce either – CAN’T TIE ME FREE SPIRIT DOWN EVAR – but we can make it less painful, slowly.

Good luck to all my job-finding friends! (And enjoy your time, still-schooling ones)

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