Now that I’ve moved back to the East coast, I’m noticing a difference in the way college grads out here hunt for a job. I’ve reconnected with my best friend Abby, who graduated from James Madison University in December, and sure, we still get together to have lunch and go shopping, but while I’m working on independent projects, applying for unpaid internships and working retail to pay the bills _(read: handbag addiction)_, she is involved in a completely different kind of job hunt.
Abby has an active profile on www.monster.com. She wakes up early in the morning to spend time fine-tuning her resume and searching for job postings online. She’s attended numerous job fairs and recruiting events _(unheard of in the West)_ and has followed up with many of her contacts. She got a phone call the other day from a company interested in hiring her. Her response? “Well, I’d like to sit down together to discuss this project in detail. When are you available next week? Friday? Friday works well for me.” _Who was this person???_ Then she hung up the phone and turned to me and said she wanted to go to the outlet mall because she was bored. _Now that’s more like it._
Here was a girl who swore to me that she didn’t want to be a part of the so-called “Corporate America,” but she was spending all her spare time filling out and mailing in 30-page applications for city social work positions and local non-profits, not to mention that her boyfriend had a great job offer from a great company four months before he even graduated! Is it East Coast vs. West Coast? Or is it proactive vs. slacker? When it comes to putting yourself out there for hiring, am I missing the corporate boat?
*The way I see it, job-hunting college graduates fall into one of two categories.* They’re either searching for a job that they are qualified to do, or they are looking for the job of their dreams. And it’s a constant struggle to decide which one you should look for: the job you _can_ do or the job you _want_ to do. Sure, the job you can do gives you health insurance and a 401K and something legitimate for your parents to put in their Christmas newsletter. But is it the job you thought of when people asked you “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, when they told you to dream big little girl…the sky is the limit and you’re the future?…Back when Abby and I were in Brownie scouts and the only “work” we had to do was to sell cookies door to door and fill our sashes up with merit badges that were relatively easy to earn…
Which reminds me, I need to order Girl Scout cookies from Madeline down the street. And when she brings me my Samoas and Tagalongs, I’ll be sure to mention to her that selling the most girl scout cookies gets you a white tiger stuffed animal and does not make you any more likely to get a job offer before you graduate from college. I’ll also tell her that the horsemanship merit badge is a jokeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦that I’m 22 and I’m still terrified of ponies. I’ll tell her that no matter how many of those merit badges she gets, she can’t put a single one of them on a CV. And most importantly, I’ll tell her to make sure to get business cards and character letters from anyone who tells her to dream big little girl.
_*My Life on Mondays is an “independent project” written by Stacy Hinojosa, the Executive Editor of UniversityChic.com and a “job-hunting”, handbag-buying, crying-herself-to-sleep college graduate._