When I first graduated college, I don’t think I fully realized the extent of how difficult finding a job would be, due to a few factors.
Exhibit A: Location.
I was born, raised, and live, in Stockton, CA. It’s a mid-sized city 45 minutes south of Sacramento. In the past year, Stockton has made it on at least two top number lists, including #95 on Mashable’s “100 Most Tech Friendly Cities” (which means it’s one of the least), and #1 on Forbes’ “America’s Most Miserable Cities“…for the second time in three years. Now, this means that especially now, with the economy tanked and most places struggling, cost of living is low, but you can have the hardest time finding a job. Most of the time when I’ve looked for jobs in Stockton, Craigslist ads have been spam and others have been ones that just haven’t panned out. (See Enterprise Rent-A-Car in a future blog.)
Exhibit B: Jobs I’ve Held.
I’ve been working since I was eleven years old, but mostly in school work-study programs or at summer camp, because I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 21. While my classmates were working at In-N-Out and Cold Stone, I stayed at school grading papers and ordering supplies for teachers. Even when I got to college, my jobs included a short-lived cashier position in the cafe, desk receptionist in my residence hall, and a teacher’s assistant for my advisor/professor. In my senior year I ended up copy editing or writing for all three student-run college publications, working for Nimbus Arts, and several editing jobs for friends just because they asked. However, it seems a lot of employers don’t take this experience that seriously. Although I know what I’m doing and can learn quickly, the experience doesn’t always speak for itself. Which, doubly, makes my status as a new grad even more scary for employers.
Exhibit C: Distance.
When you don’t have much money to spend on gas or flights, getting to cities that you want to work is difficult. I would love to work in San Francisco, in Los Angeles, in Seattle, in New York, but often when you have that much distance between yourself and your potential employer, and you can’t dress up, walk in their office and place your resume directly on their doorstep, it presents the problem of getting noticed. Even if you have a great resume’ or an exceptional cover letter that tells them exactly what they’re missing out on if they don’t hire you, it doesn’t mean that you’ll even get a callback.
Of course, this doesn’t mean I won’t get a job. There’s great things called recommendations, contacts, and calling in favors from people who know someone who know someone who know someone. Eventually something will work, whether it’s a fantastic cover letter or writing sample, or someone who does me the favor of backing me to an employer, telling them that I am capable and they won’t regret hiring me. For this, I am thankful. My job now is to keep pressing on and not to get discouraged.