On Finding A Job

A recent conversation with one of my friends where we were talking about our unemployed peers sparked this post.

Right now people are graduating into a shitty economy, with financial obligations, and sometimes little relevant experience. People are understandably upset that they don’t have a job, and for some of them, it’s truly unfair, but for others, it’s just reality.

When my summer analyst position finished last summer at ILS I knew that because I was graduating in December I had to start casting a wide net. I had 4 months to go from an intern at a life-settlements trading firm to an employed NYU graduate (preferably in the field of finance). I went back home around the second week of August and started applying like crazy to every position on NYU’s Careernet, as well as Indeed and other company-specific sites.

I didn’t have good grades, but I had good experience and knew that 1 out of x number of firms would value that more than a number on a piece of paper. After over 20 interviews, 150 job applications, and 2 full time offers, I had a full-time position. The day after Thanksgiving my boss met me in Boston to give me the offer and my hard work had paid off.

Now that my story is over, what I think those that I know need to focus on (besides the obvious things like knowing the company, etc.) is casting a wide net. If you get an interview, keep applying elsewhere. Have some quantitative goal like two applications a day. Nobody is going to just give you a job, so lob in applications to anywhere that will take them in any related field. Even if it’s not perfect, the longer you have a gap on your resume, the worse it becomes. It’s a lot easier to get a job when you have a job.

The moral of this post is that I believe that finding a job is 70% luck 30% merit, but you can greatly enhance your odds by casting a wide net.

My friend who I spoke with had a slightly different message. He got an internship and then interviews by directly emailing CEO’s and department heads at companies that he found interesting and wanted to work for. His moral, which I definitely agree with as well, is:

Don’t be afraid to reach out to decision makers. If they see you’re hungry then that will go a long way when they pass your info on to HR/the hiring manager.