Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back

A Fourth Year’s Perspective on Job Hunting

As the first signs of Spring are emerging, the reality that I am graduating this May is really setting in. I remember when I first entered university that I assumed that I would get my undergraduate degree and then immediately begin working in my field. If only it were that easy! 

Back in October, I decided that I wanted to stay in Hamilton indefinitely, so I began looking for a job in my area of study. I am currently an Honours Experimental Psychology Major with a double minor in English Literature and Biology. With such an interdisciplinary degree, I thought that it would be really easy to find a job—was I ever wrong! It can be really discouraging, and even scary to hear your friends and classmates talking about their “grownup” plans while you don’t have a clue as to what you are going to do. If this is you, I just want to encourage you that you’re not alone. I’ve decided to renew my lease in May and I still don’t have a job secured. It was definitely a leap of faith, but I know that Hamilton is where I want to be and more importantly, I know it is where God wants me to be. 

Just last week I had an interview for my “dream job” but it was not something that just fell into my lap. I first started looking for jobs in October. At the time, I didn’t have one specific career in mind, I just knew that I wanted to work directly with people. In the first month, I applied to about thirty jobs on Indeed and I only heard back from four employers. It was really discouraging to be putting so much time and effort into submitting my resume and creating cover letters only to be met with silence or rejection. 

Over the Christmas break, I participated in Redeemer’s CELC 101 Resume Writing course.  Partaking in this course helped me to refine my resume, which gave me a lot more confidence when applying for jobs. Knowing that my resume was well constructed reassured me that when I wasn’t hearing back from employers it wasn’t because of a poorly crafted resume. The 101 Resume Writing course is not the only service that CELC offers to students looking for jobs. On Thursday March 5th, Hamilton’s largest job fair will be taking place at the First Ontario Centre and CELC is helping to ensure that all students have rides there. Additionally, CELC offers opportunities to meet one-on-one with a Career Advisor to discuss whatever career related questions you might have. While I took advantage of the Resume Writing Course, I definitely should have considered using the Career Advising services. Applying for jobs on my own was really time consuming and a lot of times I was uncertain of what employers were actually looking for. 

One of the things that I have learned is that you have to accept the fact that there is a fair chance you will not be hired or even contacted for an interview for the first job that you apply for. However, don’t be defeated. Applying to jobs and attending interviews is a really great learning experience. The more interviews you attend, the better you will be become at answering questions on the spot, speaking confidently, and successfully articulating your thoughts. 

While most employers are looking for people with degrees, they are also looking for individuals with experience. There are so many volunteer and networking experiences at Redeemer. In last semester’s fourth year capstone class, we worked alongside Citylab. This was a really great way for me to network with working professionals in Hamilton as well as with other students from Mohawk College and McMaster University. From working with Citylab, I have made a lot of connections! 

Thinking about what you are going to do after graduation can be overwhelming, but Redeemer offers a lot of great services and opportunities that can prepare you for your job search. Maybe you’ll be lucky and be hired for the first job you apply to, or maybe you’ll be like me and apply for a solid 30 and work odd jobs before you get your dream interview. All I can say is, take advantage of the resources made available to you, get connected with your professors, practice patience and be unrelenting in your pursuit for work!