Post-grad: The best of advice for the hardest of times

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Graduation is borderline impossible fathom, and it only gets more difficult as you get older. The thought of leaving Ohio University and beginning your real journey as a working adult in the ever-daunting “real world” is about as enjoyable as getting your wisdom teeth pulled out.

Fortunately, though, there are ways to combat yourself for these painstaking times, and there are plenty of people that have gone before us, willing to mentor us. There are plenty of those that have braved the terror of post-grad life (especially in our Bobcat network), from repeated failure to that ultimate moment of success: getting hired.

But what’s the best way to combat this? From your attitude to your current (yes, current) involvement in college, you can make the terror of post-grad life a little easier on yourself. Not to mention, a little advice from our predecessors might ease the transition of life a little easier.

“My advice for seniors and early graduates is to start looking for jobs early. The hiring and interview process for many companies can takes several months, so you want to start looking before graduation. Another suggestion is to be willing to move. I don’t mean willing to move within a few hours of home, but be willing to move across the country. I know people want to be close to their family, but that can limit job opportunities,” said Jacob Hagman, a ’13 OU graduate.

As it’s also easy to get disheartened while searching for internships and jobs, it’s important to remember that maintaining a positive attitude is one of the best ways to fight off that inevitable job hunting stress (and unavoidable depressing thoughts about never getting hired and living with your parents… forever).

It’s imperative to remember that being perfect is, at times, outright intimidating. Accepting and improving from failure is the best way to better yourself. “You will fail to have a great career unless you fail to have a great career,” said Michael Litt in his speech at TEDxUW in 2011.

Failure is inspiration. And it’s difficult to fathom a statement so seemingly contradictory, but it’s true. You will be denied a job a hundred times before you are finally hired, and maybe all of the failure beforehand will make you that much better of an employee.

As for alumni, they’re the best people to turn to in times of serious career questioning (or when you just really want to give up).

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Getting advice from alumni is crucial. After all, you probably wouldn’t be at this point of your college career without some help from your alumni/ upperclassmen friends. From internships to real world experience, they have the ability to help you avoid post-college sadness and help you prepare for the job hunt even before graduation.

“I really just looked through the websites of some non-profit organizations for internships, read up on each and sent my resumes to them. I also called the one [organization] for the one [internship] I got,” said Andy Schmitt, a ’13 OU graduate. “It wasn’t hard to find/ get a job. My job isn’t even what my internship was for. I just worked hard and did a bunch of extra stuff I thought could help. To set myself apart, I just listed my specific experiences and trainings that’d be applicable to my specific internship and made clear my willingness to do whatever they needed.”

For both students and graduates, internships are always recommended. And no, they aren’t only for students (okay, some are), but what’s wrong with a little extra experience? It’ll make you more appealing to your employers and set your apart from other applicants.

“My last suggestion is to do something that sets yourself apart from other applicants. There was a period of time where being involved in a few major related clubs was enough to be different from other applicants. Those times have past and now applicants need to do something else that makes them stand out. Joining clubs and applying what you are learning in your major to those clubs is an outstanding way to stand out. It gives the applicant something to talk about in interviews that he or she enjoys and shows his or her passion for the field they studied,” said Hagman.

Besides setting yourself apart, another one of the best strategies for landing a job is networking. Using who you know to get a job is one of the easiest ways to land one.

“Every job I have gotten, including MTV and NBC, have been through a recommendation. They [big corporations] have hundreds of resumes, but having a recommendation puts your resume to the top of the list,” said Jake Nemeth, a ’13 OU graduate.

So whether you’re still in school or living the “nightmare” of post-Ohio University life, know that there are always people out there to help you, guide you and, more preferably, help you land your ideal job. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s something that most recent people have to face. Reality is harsh, but try keep this in mind: you have to fail to have a great career. It’s inevitable, so we may as well make the best out of it.

Also, check out some advice from these internship/job experts:

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