Sarah Weeden@srweeden • I write an advice column for 20-Somethings from a 20-Something. I don't know what I'll do when I turn 30.
I’m about to graduate this spring and I’m starting to feel super-stressed. There have been some good things happening (i.e. – informational interviews) and some not so good things (i.e. – people not returning calls). The bottom line is, it feels like something and nothing is happening at the same time. A couple of questions: 1) is it normal to feel this way? and 2) what can I do to keep the momentum going without feeling like I’m taking steps backwards.
Evan from SoCal
There are two things you should find when you’re looking for a job:
These two are musts. They are non-negotiable. You will not be happy if you don’t have both.
So, informational interviews will help you figure out the first point. They’ll give you a better look at the company. At the people there. At the way you might fit in.
The best advice I can give you here is to treat your informational interview like a real interview. Translation:
Don’t show up slumming around after a late night spent drinking.
You don’t necessarily need to show up in a suit, but you need to be on your A-game. Because they’re feeling you out just as much as you’re feeling them out.
Be prepared to sell yourself:
Your skills, your education, your personality.
Leave them wanting more.
Make them wish they got your number at the end of the night.
Be the one who could get away.
But of course, life’s not always perfect. If people don’t call back, that answers the second must – a place that wants you to work there.
It’s probably nothing against you if they don’t call. I can’t tell you how many calls I never had returned.
Better than that, I got stood up at scheduled interviews. Let me repeat that – they scheduled the interview. Reached out to me. And then didn’t show.
Seriously – that happens.
Don’t look at it as an, “Aww man, no one likes me, boo hoo” situation.
You’re an adult.
Have confidence in yourself.
There is something that you offer that no one else does. Figure out what that something is.
Besides, more often than not, companies not calling you back probably means that they don’t have their internal needs figured out.
It could be that they haven’t completely determined the role they want “you” to fill. It could be that they’re so busy, they don’t even have time to respond to emails – much less informational interviews.
These are not the places you want to work anyway.
You want someone to call you. Find you. Want you.
It’s very much like dating. And the reality is that you will most likely be married to your job in the beginning – so you don’t want to rush into anything.
I realize I’m only focusing on the first part of your question. That’s because it answers the latter.
Stop freaking out.
You will find a place that fits you – and where you fit them.
It may not happen tomorrow. But it will happen.
Just keep talking to people and finding out as much as you can about the companies you’re interested in.
When the fit is right, you will know.
Fight like hell to be a part of it.
The beautiful thing about the advertising industry right now?
We’re aching for new talent.
The world is constantly changing and your education already surpasses mine, purely because of what you have been taught in the year that I’ve been out of school.
But don’t come try to steal my job.
It will get ugly.