Next time you groan about finding a post-grad job, just be grateful you didn’t graduate in ‘09.
“Last year was a tough year,” says Wesley Thorne, assistant director for business and employer relations at University Career Services. Almost a fourth of grads found themselves still searching for a job. Though UCS won’t know for sure until seniors fill out a survey, Thorne says the job market looks a bit sunnier than it did last May — and fields like government, energy and healthcare are actually growing.
Despite the uptick, the market is still messy. But three lucky seniors managed to snag dream jobs in this rough economy — and shared their tips on how you can, too.
Know yourself — and your job.
When Weinberg senior Deepa Talwar went through job recruitment this fall, she saw a future in consulting. But when she had to fly across the country for interviews, she realized being on the move was not her cup of tea, leading her to choose a stationary job at Visa in San Francisco. “Really figure out what you want and who you want to be, and what lifestyle you want to have,” Talwar suggests. Soul-searching can not only help you find jobs you like, but it can help you market yourself to employers.
Intern like there’s no tomorrow.
Skip the Jersey Shore’s GTL and do what Weinberg senior Ricardo Creighton dubs GTO: get that offer. “Whatever field you’re going into, put your head down and do your job, enjoy it and meet different people,” he says. It paid off for him — he got a gig at Google, where he interned this past summer. McCormick senior Rafal Ciechowski impressed his bosses at consulting firm Accenture because “I didn’t feel that I was special in any way,” he says. “So I got right down to work.” He ended up heading a big project in his division, which led to a full-time offer by September.
Career Services pros stress the importance of building relationships, so check out Northwestern’s alumni database and ask former ‘Cats to chat about the industry. But don’t be creepy about it. “There’s a fine line between being annoying and being persistent,” says Jose Santos, assistant director for liberal arts at UCS. “It’s an art form, like a dance.” Santos adds that companies will give bonuses to employees who refer candidates who end up getting hired, so everyone wins.
Keep your head up.
Talwar says the recruiting process was the hardest time she’s had at Northwestern. She interviewed for 25 jobs and was rejected from 21 of them. But if she could do it over again, she says she would chill out. “I was making it into this huge, massive thing, and it was going to determine the rest of my life. And it’s not. Everything will be okay, and you’ll get the offer you’re supposed to get.”