As many twenty-somethings can attest, the path from college to an entry-level role isn't always a simple move from Point A to Point B. In my own search, I sent over 200 applications, met with over 75 interviewers, and logged upwards of 2,000 miles of travel before I found the right opportunity at AlphaSights.
Along the way, I botched a few interviews, walked away from a handful of offers, and spent several months in a less-than-ideal role. At times, it seemed like the right opportunity would never arrive, but my appreciation for the end result grows with each day I spend at AlphaSights.
If you're a job seeker in the middle of a search process, I hope your job hunt can benefit from lessons I learned in mine:
Leverage as many resources as you can.
You may have one or two favorite methods for searching, but be careful not to miss opportunities elsewhere. A college career portal can be a great place to start, but sometimes it isn’t the most effective way to reach an employer.
Be sure to check company websites often, as the firms that recruit actively tend to add new opportunities frequently. Don't be shy about leveraging personal connections if you think they'll lead to the right opportunities. And don't forget about traditional job sites like Monster or Indeed – you can find plenty of interesting roles if you have the patience to sift through the listed opportunities.
Avoid setting arbitrary deadlines.
The pressure to land a job can build quickly, especially as friends and peers share the news of their future careers. It's important to remain focused on long-term goals, however, even if it means the search will last a bit longer.
In the long run, it doesn't matter if you're looking well past graduation or if you feel like the last of your friends still without an offer. Resist the urge to end the search before you've found something that you truly want to do, because accepting a job simply to end the search is a great way to set yourself up for a lot of unfulfilling work days.
Have the courage to turn down the wrong opportunities.
Not every job is a good fit, and for those who feel pressure to lock down an entry-level role, it can be very tempting to take the first opportunity that comes along. For some, this is an internship that turns into a full-time offer, while for many it's the end of a successful application process.
Do your due diligence – learn as much as you can about the role, and make sure you understand the day-to-day before you make a decision. It's easy to believe that any job is better than no job, but settling for the wrong opportunity is represents a true failure in the search process.
After a lengthy search process, I ultimately found an opportunity that I truly wanted and wanted me back. And while a lengthy job search isn't ideal, the end result of the search has turned out to be an engaging, fulfilling role with tremendous growth potential. And those results are tough to question.