What My First Post Graduate Job Search Taught Me

I didn’t start looking for employment right after graduation. I had a part time job and I decided to keep it and enjoy the first few months of summer. Starting work right out of college without a break seemed like something I’d regret because everyone I know who did that regrets not enjoying that last summer. They all wished they had done something a little crazy and I’m glad to say I did. I also wanted to wait because I was moving cross country. I didn’t think it was wise to start job hunting in California when I lived in South Carolina. Why would a company hire me if they could find someone already in the area to do the job?

I quit my job in South Carolina on the 12th of July and I left for California on the 16th. I was nervous and scared but extremely excited. I took an awesome road trip with my then boyfriend now husband and arrived in San Diego on the 23rd of July. I decided to start my job search on the morning of the 24th because I was pretty anxious at that point. I had two interviews every week that I job searched. In total I had 9 interviews and one was a 2nd interview which got me my current job.

I feel like every interview leading up to my job offer taught me these lessons.

Perfect your elevator pitch. 

Nothing is worse than going blank or rambling when asked “So tell me about yourself.”

Remember to write a thank you note.

I forgot about 4 times

Stop using you .edu email address.

Once I made a new professional sounding email address I got calls right away.

Dress Professionally 

I didn’t mess up on this one because I have specific interview outfits but I had several interviews where I saw the people interviewing before or after me. Some people were dressed like they were making a quick run to the grocery store.

Use your best judgement when doing writing tests.

For one job I had to do a writing test where I responded to a customer complaint. In my opinion these should not be long. There should be an apology and a way to fix the problem. You should address the steps your company will take to make sure this doesn’t happen in the future. The recruiter thought my response was too short although it was 4 paragraphs long. I don’t regret it and would write it again.

Only apply for jobs you could be passionate for the first couple months of your job search. 

I didn’t apply for jobs if I thought the salary was too low or if they looked boring. I know the economy is tough and everyone says to take what you can get but… I just didn’t want to do that. You have to sell yourself during your job search which is harder to do if you don’t care. Personalize you resume for each job

Don’t have crazy salary expectations… but know what you want to be paid.

When they ask have a range in mind already.

Use your network.

Start in college. When you know people who already work in your field or for the company you want to work for it’s a little easier.

Apply to as many jobs as you can a day.

Post your resume online.

Don’t put yourself in a box when you’re deciding what to do after college.

Have a professional email, voicemail and online presence.


Especially when writing cover letters. They matter more than you think. You have to at least get the interview to impress them with your personality.

What tips do you have for the post graduate job search?