If you had told me this summer that I would enter into second semester of my senior with no job nailed down for post-grad, I probably would have laughed nervously but ultimately not believed you.
I’m a planner, I picked majors that are wide umbrellas under which fall many different industries, and I go to BC, how could I not get a job before March? If anyone who knows me is reading this, they’re thinking about how stressed and panicked I was about not having a job. What a hypocrite, you might be thinking. But, hindsight is 20/20, and if my hindsight can help someone else not freak out about this process, my stress and panic will have been worth it. When I think about how much I have learned through being engaged in this process (and I will give myself that, I’ve been very engaged) it makes me realize just how many different types of jobs there are out there, and that there is no right path or job for a given BC student or a given major.
Having never had a clear cut plan laid out for me from internships, this year has been such an opportunity for career exploration. I am the queen of first round interviews, which has been how I kept my options open over the past few months. I finally feel like I understand what dating culture used to be like, or what it looked like in movies. This year was characterized by some flirting with companies (it sounds strange but that’s honestly is what it feels like) through informational interviews, phone screenings with recruiters and a LOT, I mean a LOT, of LinkedIn stalking.
At times it got exhausting. Just when I felt like I could not write one more cover letter, or pretend that I didn’t know all about a company at a career fair just so that I could get face-time with one of the recruiters, I found another company and thought to myself “Now THIS is where I should be working after graduation”. All that said, I would not have changed the ups and downs of the past few months for anything. Some industries or positions that were exciting to me or seemed to be my inevitable future have fallen to the background, and new jobs and companies have presented themselves to me in the most serendipitous of ways.
My tips for career exploration throughout all 4 years at BC
* all through my experience, so it may be different for other people
Your major should be something you enjoy, not something that you think will help you get a job.
Not one time during my interviews and conversations this year did anyone ask me how my major would prepare me to work in a certain job setting. The fact that I had a major was good, because obviously companies need students to graduate with a degree, but no one was all too picky about what the major was. Do you know what I was asked? What has been one of your favorite classes, your most challenging classes, your least favorite class? Sometimes I talked about a class from one of my majors, but sometimes it was a core class or a class I took abroad. Passion is infectious, and feeling lackluster about your academics is obvious. When you talk about a class that excites you, whether it is practical in a pre-professional sense or not, it will show.
This wasn’t something that I totally wrapped my mind around until this year, however in my freshman year an advisor told me that I didn’t have to double major, that I could “single” major and then take interesting and applicable classes along the way in clusters. I didn’t listen to her, and while I try not to dwell on regret, it definitely is a viable option, and would be a great way to take classes you are passionate about.
Follow up if you want the job, but don’t if you have a bad feeling.
This fall I had my first ever final round interview. It was at a good company, and a position that seemed right for me on paper. I can’t totally explain it, but I left with a bad gut feeling about the environment of the company. It wasn’t the environment I could picture myself in for the foreseeable future, even though it would have meant I had a job offer in November. A job offer before Christmas sounded great, but I realized that I didn’t want that job offer just to feel safe. I knew at that point I would not be able to accept the offer for this company, so it was easier to not continue with the interview process than to turn down an offer.
In another situation, this time a phone interview, a company said that I would be passed on to the next round if I could say on a scale of 1-10, I was a ‘10’ in terms of my desire for the role. I was unable to say that I 100% wanted this role, but I felt as though I should just say I was in order to continue the process. When I spoke with Joe Du Pont while at work at the Career Center during the week I had to get back to the company, he asked me the simple question that I hadn’t been asking myself. “Well, if you got this job would you take it?” I knew then that the answer was no, and because of that it was OK to not inflate my interest in the company just to get to another round of interviews, when invariably I would be unable to accept the offer.
Decide your priorities, and stick to them without feeling guilty!
One thing that became abundantly clear to me during the job process was that no two jobs are exactly alike. Some companies pledge extremely competitive salaries, next-level benefits, a great work/life balance, beer on tap in the office or maybe some great bean bag chairs. Odds are you won’t find a company that hits every single one of those things, but pretty early on I decided what was a priority to me.
I wanted to stay in Boston. That is probably the only constant I had throughout the search process. When all of my friends started to look for jobs, or get jobs, in New York, I allowed myself to be momentarily sucked into the fear of missing out. After the initial hesitation, I remembered I set location as a priority for a reason and continued my search.
“It’s just a first job” but it doesn’t have to be.
I have loved my past 3.95 years at BC, and I wanted that community mirrored in my post-grad experience. I felt a disconnect between the discussions of vocational discernment at BC and what ‘grown-ups’ would say about first jobs. “Your first job doesn’t even matter!”, they would say to me, as if to make me feel better. That did not make me feel better. With the amount of effort put into this process, I wanted my first job to matter. In the end, I can say that it is because of my investment in this process I think my first job will matter. Because I didn’t jump on the first jobs early on just to feel comfortable and because I was patient I (think) made a good decision. If you want confirmation, shoot me an email in 6 months!
I have always believed that if you’re not ready for something to be over, you didn’t maximize the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I will have puffy eyes under my sunglasses at graduation, but I am full of excitement, (healthy) anxiety and anticipation for my next steps. Someone once told my friend, who then passed it on to me that “Boston College isn’t a place you go to, its a place you come from.” People go to college for so many reasons, but isn’t the #1 reason we go to college to show us what we love, what we are good at and how we can combine those two into something that can make us happy? If you keep that in mind you will be able to come from Boston College as a person who had been touched by the great experience of 4 years on the Heights.