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Graduate's Guide to Unexpected Unemployment

Updated on October 7, 2014

Guide to the Job Search

I had found such a fantastic job, right out of college. That's not real life, is it? Too good to be true? Correct. I worked my way up from an unpaid intern to an assistant. Not a large jump, but I went from being unpaid help to actually receiving money for my work! Nine months at the company, and I now have nothing to show for it.

Honestly, I was asked to leave because of "irreconcilable differences" (for lack of a better term) with the coordinator I had been assigned to. Along with that, there were no other positions in which to put me. That second part is false, as we had at least 5 people quit salaried jobs in the time I was there.

So what do you do when you find yourself unexpectedly unemployed? First, I turned to my family, but they have managed to stress me out far more than anticipated. I gave myself a couple of days to gather myself, get over my sadness of losing my "dream" job, and really think about what I wanted to do. Then, I hit the ground running.

Since I found out I was unemployed, I rebuilt my resume. Here is a hint: Don't limit yourself to one page! Whoever invented that theory was wrong. Once you have achieved things within your professional career, you need to include them. You need to tell a story about what you have done. Include awards, certificates, notable events you were a part of, places and people you worked with...There are six degrees of separation in this world. Chances are, you will send your resume and application to someone who will have some sort of connection down the line. It is far more marketable to include that you "Built quarterly reports using Microsoft Excel for _________" than it is to say "Created charts for company". Use descriptive words. Research the company you are applying to as well as the job you are applying for and be sure to include buzzwords they will be looking for.

Sending out resumes is only half the battle. When it comes to interviews, my main point of advice is to research the company. Know a little of their community as well as the people involved. Figure out whether you should be expecting benefits or the level of salary you should be expecting. Beyond that, my other very important piece of advice is to have some stories prepared. Everyone knows that interviewers ask the standard questions: Greatest achievement? What do you hope to gain? What is your biggest weakness? Be prepared for these. They, of course, give you time to think these things over, but no one likes the uncomfortable silence that sits in the room while you're thinking. If you prepare yourself more for these stories, you will better remember the details and be able to apply them to the questions at hand.

This may be a superficial piece of advice, but I find it works for me. Choose and outfit or two that you absolutely love. Be sure you are dressing for the company appropriately, but also make sure that you feel confident in whatever you are wearing. You're already going to be nervous enough without having to feel uncomfortable in your own clothing.

Hopefully this is enough to get you started. I am a 22 year old, unemployed college graduate, and I'm on this journey with the rest of you.

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