When I first realized that I wouldn't have a "real job" (I use that term a lot) upon graduating I decided to keep my 8 hours per week job at the synagogue and find a full time position at a restaurant. I maintained this plan until I landed in Boston last week. Before I left the airport I had changed my mind and chose to accept the 5 days per week position at the synagogue. I have the same job as before but they've expanded the program. It's still only 4 hours per day which means that at 20 hours per week I'm one of the millions of underemployed in this country. It's certainly still possible for me to get another job on top of this one but I'm devoting that extra time to job hunting, cover letter writing and prayer. Ok, maybe not prayer. Definitely not prayer. I should be able to last 3 months with this income and some generous help from my mom so I set that timeframe as my goal for finding a real job.
During the fall semester I went to Northeastern's Career Services department and met with Tina. She looked at my resume, made a few minor suggestions and said, "good luck finding a job. The economy sucks, nobody is hiring, non-profits are losing funding, the sky is falling and if you want a nice cardboard box to live in you better buy now because they're going like hot-cakes down at the UPS store on Huntington." This was not exactly what I was hoping to hear. My roommate Dan met with Diane at Career Services where he was reassured that all was well in the world and that he'd find a job in a jiffy! This was all back in September. It's now January and Dan is at work while I am sitting in my bathrobe at 11:30AM on a Tuesday.
Now that I'm back in Boston the job search has officially begun. I accidentally found a job I was interested in without even looking and wrote my first cover letter a few days ago. I went to Career Services yesterday to have it looked over since this whole process was new to me. Writing a cover letter was really awkward. It's like trying to convince a hot woman through a letter that you're totally awesome and that she should sleep with you and also pay you $40k a year. At least that's how it felt to me. I met with Diane, rather than "sky is falling" Tina this time and that was definitely a better choice. I am far from reassured, however.
Diane told me my cover letter was perfect which was great because I wasn't sure if I had been too informal or if I had talked myself up too much. Bragging about yourself in a letter isn't easy. She informed me that my resume was geared more towards co-ops rather than a real job. Guess Tina didn't really know what she was doing after all. She made some suggestions on how to change it and then questioned me about my interests, what kind of job I'm looking for and what my future plans are. Diane showed me a lot of different websites to peruse for jobs (Tina: "Look for jobs on Idealist. It's great, it has everything you'd ever want and there's no need to ever look anywhere else. Even though nobody is hiring and you might as well buy a radiation suit to protect yourself during the coming nuclear winter. Those cardboard boxes just don't cut it"). Then she gave me some bad (see: realistic) news. "What's going to hurt you here is that you don't have any skills. You've done a lot of different things, but so has everyone else in college and that won't really help you." I'm not sure if she's saying that I should have chosen a different major or just tailored my studies and abroad experiences towards one topic. Either way, several people I've talked to about this have said she's full of shit and that I should ignore that. She asked when I was hoping to have a job by and I told her the 3 month timeframe I had in mind. She said 3 to 4 months is probably more realistic and that I need to be sending out my resume to at least 5 places per week to achieve that. I was thinking 2 or 3 per week so that came as a bit of a shock. It's time to step it up.