By Maggie Sandy (’16), Special Events & Marketing Manager, Crisis Control Ministry
College graduates from the class of 2020 went out into a world where businesses were cutting back on all things, including open job positions. Many of these new graduates, while still in their senior year of college, were sent back home due to the COVID-19 and were faced with the challenge of finding their first jobs. After graduating from Wake Forest in 2016, I have learned effective strategies to not only find job openings, but to also land the job that I want. In 2020, I found myself not enjoying where I was and ultimately found my dream job in the middle of a global pandemic. How did I do it? Here’s what helped me land my current role:
Review your resume.
I took up a side-hustle writing resumes through an online group to help me have some extra cash and to keep my writing skills in tip-top shape. When I told my friends about my work, I was asked shortly after to review their resumes, cover letters, and job applications. Every time I worked on a friend’s resume, it would lead me to review my resume. Now you don’t have to be a paid resume writer to get the perfect resume! Reviewing and adjusting your resume regularly can help you as you go through the job search process.
Send work samples and portfolios.
Going through the application process can be so long, but before you hit “submit” you should include samples of your work. I always send samples of my work with job applications, and again when a hiring manager or HR representative follows up with me. If you have a portfolio, try to submit as much of it as you can. There may be applications that have a limit on how many attachments you can send, so make sure you prioritize your work samples!
Walk into an interview with confidence.
So you have an interview! Now what? This tip may sound cheesy, but it can be one of the easiest things to do: walk into an interview with confidence. Interviews are nerve-wracking and can cause stress. But remember – this company already likes you enough to talk to you. No matter if you have a Zoom or an in-person interview; you need to remember that you were chosen to spend time with a person who has a busy schedule. You are a bigger deal than you may think you are! Additionally, be sure to prep for upcoming interviews. This includes coming up with stories to share, examples of past work experiences, and researching the company ahead of time. This will help you walk into an interview with confidence knowing that you’re ready for whatever they throw at you!
Take happiness with you into an interview.
When I have an interview, in person or online, I bring something with me that makes me happy that I can look at when my anxiety is high. For me, this can range from a pair of bright pink shoes, a WFU pin on the lapel of my blazer, a bracelet that my mom gave me, or a sloth necklace. This may seem a bit silly, but it can be a way to center you at any time during an interview. Additionally, these items can be a great conversation piece that shows off your personality and can make you more memorable. While interviewing for my current position, I wore a necklace I got from Disney World because it reminded me of having fun with family and friends. My hiring manager asked me about it and the conversation took off into a discussion about a docuseries that demonstrates the work ethic and drive of Walt Disney himself. I worked my interests into the conversation while referring back to my drive and desire to succeed.
No matter if it is your first time or fifth time conducting a job search, finding a new job can and should be exciting. It can be easy to get bogged-down and pessimistic, but you should always look to find the lessons in each opportunity. Not every job application you submit will work out, but the right position will always find its way to you.