Don’t panic, just breathe

When Thanksgiving break comes to a close, the semester seems to move full-force toward the grand finale. Final exams and projects loom over students’ heads as they try to keep up with work they should’ve started sooner.

It’s hard to believe how fast this semester has gone. For me, it’s even harder because it’s my very last semester at GVSU. Five and a half years, two majors and a minor later. It’s bittersweet.

For many young adults who are finishing up or are already done with college, the struggle to find a good paying job in your field is real. Many questions race through my mind when I sit in front of my computer: how do I stand against hundreds of others who are applying for that same job? How qualified am I really? What if I don’t want to move out West? Is it all worth it?

These questions don’t have immediate answers, but there are resources that can help others who are fighting with job applications. First, try the career center on campus. They’ll pair you with an adviser in a similar field who can offer tips and other places to check out that you may not have thought of. I thought I had all the answers for what places to look, but they quickly proved me wrong. Don’t be afraid to seek help and make an appointment. That’s what they’re there for; they want students to succeed both in and out of school.

After that initial step, I’d recommend looking online at classifieds in newspapers from towns where you’d like to live and work. These are often freely available without a subscription. LinkedIn and Monster are also good sites. You can search by keyword, job title or location. It can be overwhelming to see all of the relevant options, but writing down what you’ve applied for is a good way to keep track.

Finally, just breathe. This is something I can forget. The process can get stressful, so it’s important to take a step back and give yourself some time off from applying binges. During that down time you might get some calls or emails asking you to interview for a position. I’ve gotten a few, which are good practice even if they don’t turn into a job.

My final advice is to knuckle down and apply. Ask for help if you’re overwhelmed. Talk to parents and friends, because as they say, “it’s who you know.” Networking is essential. If you’re an underclassman, start now by regularly talking to your professors and advisers. You never know who might have an idea or write a killer letter of recommendation that could make the difference between a “no” and a “let’s give them a chance.”

Good luck and happy job hunting.