I have yet to find a feeling that can match the satisfaction I felt walking across the stage at graduation knowing that I had a job. My friends and I were lucky enough that we didn’t have to deal with the anxiety and nervousness that many recent graduates feel not knowing what this new chapter of their life will entail. Job offers, grad school acceptances and paid internships awaited each and every one of us, when we became alumni of Syracuse University. The hardest moment for me was picking between 3 job opportunities, one in my hometown of New York City and two in Washington, DC. As I sat in my apartment with my roommates and weighed the options, I couldn’t help but wonder what made us different. Why were we graduating with jobs and concrete plans when so many of our peers had nothing? [Tweet "College doesn't teach you how to do the job or get the job, it only teaches you that you need a job."]
I'm glad that I realized early on in my college career. College students have a false sense of reality and naive optimism when they are graduating. That quickly changes when they are unemployed for months and find that getting a job isn't as easy as they thought it would be. You think that because you went to college, stopped by the career center and have a degree, you are at an advantage? But guess what? A college degree is a receipt. It is proof that you attended classes, but it isn't a golden ticket into the working world or evidence that you are worthy of employment.
[Tweet "College makes us comfortable. @EmmelieDeLaCruz keeps it 100 in this blog post."]
As a Latina from the lower middle class, I was taught that going to college immediately leveled the playing field. That getting a degree would open up a world of opportunities for me, but did it really? Did the degree do it or was it the connections I made? Was it a combination of both? A Syracuse alumna hired me, and to this day I wonder how different my life would have been if I never received that job posting email from my friend or accepted that first job offer in Washington DC.
Since that first job, I have transitioned industries, tried entrepreneurship full-time and have negotiated my way to a great flexible career. Each time I have started a new job however, there was someone at the company or within my network that helped me get there. Whether it was bypassing an unnecessary online application system or just making me aware that a position that fit my skill set and interest was opening up. Regardless, that help has always been greatly appreciated and changed the way I searched for jobs. Jobs somehow always found me. I’ve come to learn that the job search is a continuous process and begins months before you even apply for the opening. You must constantly communicate your value and promote your personal brand. Your personal brand and online presence keep you top of mind and allow you to offer an employer something different from other candidates.
[Tweet "Your personal brand speaks volumes about you when you are not in the room."]
That is the reason I started The Branding Muse in the first place. I needed a place to share all that I was learning and realizing about finding the career I loved. I believe that your dream job is out there hiding at networking events, in your alumni association, at the panel discussion you really don’t want to attend or even on Twitter; you just have to be actively prepared to let it find you by putting yourself in the places that will allow you to meet the right people. Then, you just let your brand do the talking for you.
[zilla_alert style="yellow"] If you really want to master the job search, consider the Job Search Bootcamp and I'll teach you exactly how jobs can find you. [/zilla_alert]