Wednesday, April 18, 2012

guest post: avoid stressing over the job search.

Remember when I recently wrote a guest article about dating and keeping your standards high? Well Tonya is the wonderful woman who offered me that article, and now she is over here talking about avoiding stress when searching for jobs after college - some advice I need to listen to right now and I'm applying for a new job! What perfect timing, right? Everyone tell Tonya hi and how much you appreciate her advice. :)


Do you remember your senior year of high school? For many of us, memories of high school are filled with images of bullies, embarrassing moments, struggles and the good friends who helped us through. For whatever reason, nostalgia sits in during that last year causing you to reflect on the past years with something akin to fondness. Perhaps I was ignorant when I assumed my senior year of college would be the same.

After three years of college, full of new ideas, great friends and interesting classes, I figured my last year would be the best year ever. How wrong I was. I am set to graduate in one month. In one month I will have no idea where my life is headed. This unknown is thrilling but terrifying. I work, I go to school, I do homework and somewhere in there I try to apply to jobs. Every time I sat down to do something, be it work, school or otherwise, I felt like I should be doing something else.

I use past tense because I have finally straightened out my priorities and found peace. None of us are super-human. We require time to eat and sleep between the madness of life. As a college senior, the idea of prioritizing your education and job search, among other things, can seem like craziness. They are all important. Take a breather.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers found that only 24 percent of 2010 college graduates had a job upon graduation. You could cut back the hours that you work and only put partial effort into school all in the name of finding a job and still come up empty handed. Not only that, you will have less money to live on and a lower GPA. As a senior in college, the job search is important, but it is not number one on your list of priorities. You have to graduate first.

Until you have your diploma in hand, your education should be your first priority. Just because you’ve always been an A and B student doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you to fail. No matter how pointless a class seems, you have to give it as much effort as all the others. What good will having a job lined up do if you don’t graduate on time?

Second in line is keeping a roof over your head and feeding yourself. The reason this isn’t number one is that studies show students who work too many hours, have a difficult time graduating and many don’t. To get the most out of your education, it must come first. If you are living in a dorm, you’re in luck. All you need is some food. However, most college seniors rent an apartment. Make sure you are working enough to pay your bills and buy food. There are plenty of ways to save money on groceries, like buying off brands or planning out meals. At the end of the day, though, some dollars are going to leave your pocket. Don’t let your worries about the future cloud your immediate responsibilities.

No matter how hectic your life gets, do yourself a favor and get some sleep. You need it for school, for work and for your job search. No employer will even call you back if your cover letter is full of grammatical errors. Getting the usual eight hours may not always be possible, but try to give yourself at least five on any given night. Those five hours will help you write an interview-worthy cover letter.

Way down here at number four is your job search. Yes it’s important, but so are all the things above. The fact is, until you graduate, your job search is going to have to be something you do in your free time. Don’t panic if you don’t get at least one application out every week. Don’t let yourself worry, even as the graduation date draws near, if you have yet to find a job.

After graduation, find a small job that pays enough to keep a roof over your head. This may mean working one or two low paying to pay the rent. When you come home from those jobs, you no longer have excuses. There is no school, no homework and nothing holding you back. Apply until your eyes hurt from starring at the computer screen.

Yes, the thought of graduating with no idea of where you will live or work can be scary. Don’t let this take over. Focus on graduating and enjoying your last semester of college.

Tonya Vrba is a passionate writer. Her work has been published in newspapers and blogs. She writes frequently about health, career and dating issues. Tonya currently writes with Dating Sites Online. Learn more about her work at her personal website.


  1. or you could avoid the job search all together and run away and be an au pair, that seemed to do the trick for me :)

  2. This is encouraging to read as a junior in high school who keeps getting freaked out by all of these talks and seminars about how intense life is about to get!


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