Why you should “trust the process” while job hunting

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If you’re receiving a lot of rejection while job-hunting, this blog post is for you. Trust the process — You’re headed in the right direction.

One of the things I realized about working in Marketing is how much of it is like a science experiment — There’s a lot of testing involved. But it’s hard to know when you’ve allowed enough time to pass by to determine if something is or isn’t working.

You can move too quickly and miss out on results. Or you can move too slowly and fall behind. Finding a job after college works the same way. This is one of the reasons it’s hard to stay motivated while job-hunting.

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At what point during your job search can you determine that what you are doing isn’t working and it’s time to try something else?

I asked myself that question many time during my post-college job hunt and it sounds like my friend, Alyssa, might have asked herself this question many times too.

It took Alyssa almost a year to find a job that had to do with her major. Read on to find out why it was important for her to keep applying to jobs despite the length of time it took her to find a job related to her major.

1. What did you get your Bachelor’s degree in?

B.A. in Psychology

2. During your senior year, how did the thought of graduation and life after college make you feel?

I was apprehensive and excited at the same time. I was excited that after spending pretty much my entire life in school, I would finally have a full-time job that would allow me to make money and pursue things that I was interested in and made me happy. I viewed it as a giant window of opportunity.

On the flip side there loomed the reality of finances, student loans, and finding a job that would pay enough. The final months of senior year were definitely a cocktail of emotions. 

3. Can you describe the expectations senior-year-you had for life after college?

The months before graduating I had this idea that I would find a job either in Spokane or the Greater Seattle Area right off the bat. Then I would:

  • save up money
  • move out of my parents’ home
  • eventually go to graduate school to pursue my masters.

I essentially thought that if I ran a tight ship by managing my money well and not impulsively buying things, I would be fine. 

4. What job were you hoping to get and why?

why you should trust the process while job hunting-pin

I was hoping to get a job in the behavioral or mental health field because that is what I studied. Since I just had a B.A. I had low expectations. I figured my first job would be an administrative or assistant-type role to a mental health care provider.

Eventually, I hoped to work up to direct care and have contact with individuals and groups with mental health challenges. I had these expectations because many of the jobs I found on my search typically required a master’s degree in social work or psychology or experience of five years if one only held a B.A. 

5. What was your expected timeline?

Graduation was in May so I expected to have a job (in Spokane or Seattle) secured hopefully by June or July at the latest.

  • If I stayed in Spokane where the cost of living is cheaper, I expected to find my own place right away and save up for graduate school (which I planned to take a year later).
  • If I ended up back in Seattle, I would give myself until about the end of the year to save up before moving out of my parent’s house. After that, I still planned to pursue my master’s degree the following academic year. 

6. Did you have anything lined up after college?

Nope. I had nothing come graduation. But since I worked at Starbucks while I was in college, I planned to get a job back in Seattle as a placeholder while looking for a job that related to my degree. And I did exactly that. 

7. What emotions did you experience during your first year out of college while applying to jobs?

The biggest emotion I remember experiencing during the first year was disappointment. I felt disappointed with myself.

Throughout my undergraduate years, my parents had told me to look for internships during the summer to supplement my resume. I did try but probably not as hard as I could have. I banked on the idea that anyone with a degree could get a related job. Come graduation I felt like I wouldn’t meet the requirements of any job related to my psychology degree until I got my masters.

This feeling then brought with it apprehension and anxiety for the grad school application process. I didn’t have the worst GPA or grades during my undergrad years but I had always heard anecdotes of graduate programs being highly competitive with limited spots for students. I wondered if I would be able to make it into any program to move ahead in my career field.

All these emotions mixed together made me fear if I would ever have enough financially to meet my basic needs and also the post-grad goals I had set for myself. 

8. Tell me about your first job (that required a four-year-degree) out of college. And how long did it take you to get that job?

My first full-time job that required my Bachelor’s degree was as an Instructional Assistant at Overlake Speciality School (O.S.S.), a behavioral school established by Overlake Hospital. Prior to that, I had gotten a part-time job in a related field as an advocate for college students with autism at Bellevue College.

It took me a little under a year and a half to find these jobs. I was blessed to have networked with a previous Gonzaga dormmate who worked in the advocacy program at Bellevue College. This helped me get my foot in the door at Bellevue College (which gave me experience for the full-time job I eventually got at O.S.S.).

At O.S.S. I worked with students who face behavioral, social, and mental health challenges. I support them in building a “toolkit” of personal skills and advocacy and coping tools they can utilize when facing everyday challenges that may occur within or outside of an academic setting. As students make continual growth and progress, they are eventually transitioned back to their home district.

It is definitely a challenging work environment. But it is unique in that no day plays out the same way. Additionally, I have the privilege of working with a great team of mental health professionals (special education teachers, mental health counselors, and behavior intervention specialists) who are all integral in the success of our students. The teamwork aspect also allows me to grow in my skills as someone who works in the mental health field. 

Management at O.S.S. also understands that many of the employees are using it as a springboard to advance their careers in areas like education, counseling, and social work. As a result, they are very supportive in providing their employees with resources to further their education whether that be through attending graduate school or through educational conferences and workshops. 

9. What were your takeaways during your first year about the expectations senior-year-you had vs. how things played out? 

One of my takeaways was to never give up with job searching. I applied continuously for a year until I finally got a job related to my degree. I actually forgot I had applied to O.S.S. until a few months later when they reached out to me. “No,” is the only answer you will get if you give up and stop trying to job search. So keep at it. You’ll eventually get a job. 

Another take away I had during this time was to keep in touch with classmates. And don’t be afraid to reach out, even if you feel like someone may have forgotten who you are. Networking was ultimately what got my foot in the door. And I have seen this be a successful means of obtaining jobs for other people as well.

While it can be intimidating, it opens up so many doors. I think the alumni network (thankfully!) is very supportive. Even people who I just met in passing are willing to take time to chat about possible opportunities that can promote your own growth. I highly recommend getting in touch with your alumni network.

10. How did you keep yourself motivated while job-hunting during that first post-college year?

The first thing that popped into my mind with this question was, “fear.” I feared several things after graduating:

  • The idea of never finding a good-paying job and living paycheck-to-paycheck
  • Being unable to live a life that I valued and enjoyed
  • Being homeless and running out of money
  • How others would perceive me if I didn’t eventually find a real job
  • Letting four years of college school working going to waste

I had gone through 4 years of college with a skeleton of a plan in mind for my post-grad. I also had the mindset that with my four-year degree I was meant for more than just a job as a barista at Starbucks. It is morbid to think that fear was a motivating factor for me to job hunt.

But, really, what kept me motivated was that I wasn’t satisfied with the life and job I had right after graduating so I knew I needed to push myself to search hard to break that barrier.

11. If you could talk to senior-year-you, what would you say to yourself about life after college?

If I could talk to senior-year-Alyssa, I would tell her not to worry so much. Not to beat herself up. And not to give up on finding a psychology-related job. I’d tell her that she will find a job and all these experiences that caused anxiety, worry, and self-doubt will lead to an immense amount of personal growth that she could not yet imagine at that time.

The life you have after college really depends on what seeds you sow to meet those goals. If you put in hard work by not stopping, being humble enough to ask for help along the way, and doing your best to maintain a positive mindset, it will help significantly in the journey that is post-grad life. 

Even though it took Alyssa longer than she expected to find a job after college, she trusted that she was doing everything she could to keep moving toward her goals. And she eventually got there. So I’ll ask the question again to you, reader:

At what point during your job search can you determine that what you are doing isn’t working and it’s time to try something else?

Similar to marketing tests, there is no set time period that says you should try something new. But as long as you are doing what you can to make progress towards your goals, it’s important to trust the process.

Pro tip: Download this FREE Career Roadmap to discover your path to your dream job.

You can check out other post-college journey stories here:

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.

Want to start a career in marketing, but don't know how to get there?

Get the exact steps you need to take with the FREE Career Roadmap.