Wait, I’m an Adult?!

by Meredith Winnett

Between classes the other day I decided to check my emails to see what was new. There were a bunch from Target, a few from WordPress, and oh… two LinkedIn messages. I read them. I wanted to cry.

The first one was pretty uplifting. It contained articles relative to my major and areas of interest. The first one was titled “Eight Reasons to Hire a Journalist in Your Marketing Department”. Cool! I have Journalism experience! Maybe people want to hire me…

The second one had local job openings.

Nederlands: Linked In icon

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Out of curiosity, I clicked one of the openings. It seemed like a pretty interesting job – entry level at a PR firm, working as someone’s assistant, and you were not a good candidate if you had over two years of experience. Perfect! I thought, “Hey! Maybe I should apply! … No way, it’s too early for that… Oh. Wait. It isn’t.”

I started scanning LinkedIn and the rest of the interwebs for job ideas since I probably should start applying like now. I found a couple that interested and I even applied for one. I didn’t realize it until later, but applying where I applied is a HUGE deal. I quickly started freaking out and wanted to take my application back.

When I finally relaxed, I noticed that all of the positions I was interested in (including the one I applied for) had online applications. No more handwritten, hand-it-in-in-person. There was no real interpersonal interaction. It was me sending a fancy email to someone I had never met and they had no idea I existed until a few seconds prior.

This is when I started looking up tips.

  • Read the Job Description Thoroughly
    What are they looking for? Someone who’s energetic? Someone who can multitask? What will you be doing exactly in the position? Answer these questions to yourself, then relate them to you. This will come in handy when writing a cover letter or statement of interest. Prove to the HR department that you are the exact person they are looking for.
  • Research the Company
    Is there some kind of philanthropy work they do that you admire? What is the work environment like? Look to see what people do and do not like about working at that particular company, then use that to your ability in an interview or cover letter.
  • Highlight Key Words
    Is there a phrase used in the job description that stands up to you? Look for important phrases or key words in the job description, and use them to your ability. Using the wording of the description in your resume will make you stick out to the HR department.
  • Have Someone Edit
    For me, I had my boyfriend and my best friend read over my cover letter and resume. The extra eyes can find errors or even help you add so that everything is the best it can be. Do not rely on your own brain.
  • Update your Social Media
    I hadn’t been on LinkedIn all semester, so I updated everything to include what I have been working on (this blog included), added my courses, and posted an article. Make sure any professional sites are up to date because they will be looked at.
  • Clean Up Social Media
    Take down any inappropriate pictures or statuses. Do not complain about schoolwork in anything that you post, remove all party pictures and statuses, and if you need to, make everything private. If you’re constantly tweeting about how you’d rather be drunk than doing homework, just make your Twitter private. It could even help to make a second Twitter handle just for professional tweets.
  • Network Network Network
    Every single person you have ever met is a part of your network. They have an extensive network and so does everyone in their network. Basically, the entire world is in your extended network. Talk to people you know. See who they know and what they have to offer you. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

It is not too early to start getting an idea of where you want to apply. I’ll probably be sending out 80,000 applications between now and May and if I don’t hear back from anyone I’ll just become a professional volunteer. They have those, right?

My second freak out was that I’ll never make any money ever and I’ll end up living in a box on the street. Seriously, the amount of shoes and food I want to buy is insane. Someone needs to support this. Entry level positions do not pay much. Get experience, get your Master’s, then demand the big bucks. Until then, try to live at home or in a two-person apartment with six people.