Myths Debunked: The Job Search

If you’re a rising senior, the job search is fast approaching. Although the prospect of finding a job may give you a large knot in  your stomach, don’t stress! Some of what you have heard about the job search is simply mythical. We are here to debunk a few job search myths and get you kicking off the job search the correct way.

Myth: There are no jobs

Even though it is seven years after the economic crisis and unemployment rates are their lowest since 2008, many college students think they won’t be able to find a job after college. Although an opportunity will (generally) not magically show up at your doorstep, finding one is definitely a very attainable goal. People are always moving and changing jobs, and the vast majority of those positions need to be filled again. Don’t only apply for jobs that specifically connect to your major, as the skills you learn in college are applicable to a variety of industries. Check out this great guide to sample jobs by major for inspiration. Also, apply to jobs you’ve maybe never thought of before: there are more positions available than the standard doctor, lawyer, banker, journalist, and artist. You might find yourself working as an editor at a science-focused nonprofit organization, doing PR for the National Park Service, or completing a non-medical stint as an administrator at a hospital. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ whole job is to keep track of what jobs are out there and all the details about them — find your dream job on the BLS website by occupational group, projected growth, median pay, number of positions, and more. The real key to finding a job is knowing where to look for them, which takes us to the next point.

Myth: Applying online is the best way to find a job

Plain and simple: the World Wide Web is not the optimal place to look for a job. Although applying to jobs online allows you to send off a high quantity of cover letters and resumes, there is a large possibility you won’t hear back from any hiring managers or recruiters. Oftentimes, hiring managers or recruiters hire people they know for the job. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are hiring their close friends or family, though, just people who are on their radar as good potential employees. If you’re interested in working at a certain company, get to know the hiring manager by sending an email asking for an informational interview. You can also use your network to meet hiring managers or recruiters at companies. Maybe a neighbor works at a company that you are interested in or a past coworker has a acquaintance that she would be happy to connect you with. Instead of sending out reams of online applications, use your network strategically to find your next position.

Myth: Since you’re only in college, you don’t have a network

Oftentimes, you land a job from somebody in your network, or somebody who knows that somebody. Because you’re in college, it may feel that you don’t really have any connections. While your network is probably not as large as a longtime professional, you definitely have one. How do you tap into it? Visit your school’s career office and ask for the alumni contact information. If there is an alum who has the type of job you’re scouting for, contact him or her! It may have been a while since high school, but don’t dismiss all of the people you met during those four years. It is never too late to connect with an old high school acquaintance or past coworkers from your high school job. If you completed one or more internships, keep in touch with your supervisor and past fellow interns. There might be a job opening at your internship when you graduate! These connections are just a basis for your network. To grow your network, check out our Student Guide to Networking Domination.

Myth: You have to intern or get a job in the field you majored in

Think of your college major as an area of interest, not a ball and chain. Your major, no matter what it is, will teach you valuable skills which can be applied to various industries: strategic thinking, project management, leadership skills, and more. If a position piques your fancy that isn’t directly related to your college major, go for it! A finance major can find work at an art museum or a marketing agency, it’s just about how you present the skills you have at your disposal. In fact, opening your job search to other industries will allow you to cast a wider job net and possibly find a job faster. If you decide you’re no longer interested in your major, use your network to find an opportunity in another industry. In addition, over time, your professional experience and background will matter more to hiring managers than what you majored in.

Avoid a frustrating job hunt by not believing any of the myths about the job search. Instead, follow our suggestions for a great start in the right direction. Happy job searching!