2020 graduates, congratulations on completing an academic journey during one of the most bizarre and unprecedented times in our lives. Finding a job post-college is a challenge in itself but during an ongoing pandemic? Now, that’s rough. Hi, I'm Shizuka, a recent UCSB graduate and as the newly hired Account Management Intern at Speaq, here are some tips for those looking to find a job during this time.
When the outbreak reached the US and the economy started to collapse, I felt completely hopeless about my career goals. I had lost my internship for my senior year of college and all I felt was stress, anxiety, and uncertainty about my future plans. As an international student, I had goals to find a job in the US and to continue living here after I graduated, but it didn’t seem the slightest bit feasible at the time. Nevertheless, I knew I couldn’t give up and not continue to pursue the next chapter of my life.
Here are some things I learned while I applied to jobs and some tips that might be helpful for individuals who are currently looking for jobs:
1. Be Open-minded and Flexible
- I genuinely enjoyed the past internship positions in Digital Marketing and Social Media Coordination but I also wanted to explore other territories. During my recent job hunt, not only did I apply to similar positions in the digital marketing space, but I also considered Account Manager positions and Public Relations positions.
- Your college major and the classes you take provide skills and a general foundation about a certain position or industry. However, the experience and the opportunities you take on can be a better predictor of your career path. Be willing to explore different positions and industries to have a better understanding of the type of job you want to pursue.
- Take the time to expand your professional circle to not only gain insight on a certain position or company but to also get your name out there. LinkedIn is a great platform to reach out to college students and professionals. Before connecting with someone, make sure to have clear intentions. No matter what your motives are, send a brief message along with your invitation to ensure you are making purposeful connections.
- Don’t forget to reach out to people you already know as well. Professors, previous employers and co-workers, friends, or family members, are valuable resources because they already know who you are and your capabilities. Networking played a vital role landing this internship because I was fortunate enough to be referred by a friend who currently works at Speaq.
- A mentorship, among many relationships within your professional network, can be extremely helpful to your personal and professional growth. A mentor is usually an individual with years of experience working and can help guide you in achieving your professional goals; they are there to consult, counsel and support you. I recently found a mentor through a program on LinkedIn and he’s been a true lifesaver! While networking, keep track of those who you think can be your next mentor.
4. Build a New Skill
- After spending time applying to jobs, I would spend another few hours learning new skills. Recently, I have been spending time completing a Google Analytics certification for beginners. Continuing to learn and to expand your skill sets can help you gain confidence in your abilities and optimize yourself for multiple positions. There are a number of boot camps, certification programs, and competitions that are available out there. There are infinite classes for anyone at any skill level and price ranges that can usually be completed at your own pace.
5. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
- Finding a job is not easy, especially finding one in the middle of a pandemic. Take your time researching positions, companies, and industries that interest you. Organize and dedicate a few hours in your day to apply to jobs and refine your professionalism on a regular basis, to prevent burn out and overwhelming yourself.
All of the hard work, persistence, and efforts this class has put into their academic journey will not go unseen and is truly a monumental milestone to celebrate. Graduating is a huge achievement and being able to accomplish this journey, especially during a global pandemic, is something to be proud of. With any path you choose moving forward, the resilience and strength achieved throughout college and the pandemic will bring you great success. Best of luck to you all!