Reader Question: How Long Does it Take to Find a Job After College?

This is a question that post-grads ask all the time. 

The time between college and finding your first “real” job can be really frustrating. However, it’s important to remember that, just like everything else, it’s only temporary! 

When I was in undergrad, I envisioned myself graduating and immediately finding my dream job in a big law firm! When that didn’t happen right away, I got a little discouraged. I eventually did get a job in that field, only to discover it wasn’t the career for me… 

So I went to grad school for education. After graduating from grad school, do you think I had more realistic expectations for the job search process? Nope! I expected the first school I contacted to say “Wow! You have a shiny new Master’s Degree! Let us clear some room for you so you can start teaching here!”. 

I had to start from the bottom all over again. That’s just how it works.  

(5 Things Recent Grads Need to Know)

If you’re struggling to get your resumé noticed, or to get called in/back for an interview, here are a couple of things to keep in mind! 

Experience is King

Even after you complete the education aspect of a job, there is still the experience aspect to get through. And because most recent graduates are pretty young, the only way to gain experience in your field is to get it however you can! 

Even with your degree, be prepared to start at an “entry level” position. Sometimes this is because you’re young. Sometimes it’s all that’s available. Sometimes it’s because the company sees potential in you, but wants to see if you’re reliable first. 

Never think a job in your desired field is “beneath” you. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t worry! You’ll get where you’re trying to go! Maybe just not as quickly as you thought you would. So, how can you get this experience that everyone seems to be so interested in? 

In my experience, volunteering has been the best way!

(5 Common Post Grad Problems and How to Deal with Them)

Volunteer Within Your Field

After college, when I was trying to get my first job as a paralegal, my interviewer really liked it that I had interned with another attorney in the building while I was in school. Everyone talks, too, so make sure to leave every situation (paid or unpaid) on good terms! Everyone that you work with or for is a potential reference that you can list when you’re searching for your next job! Put in 100%, even if the work you’re doing is free. 

When I was leaving the legal field and trying to get my first job in a school setting (before going to grad school or becoming a certified teacher), my interviewer really liked it that I had been voluntarily teaching Sunday School for a few years. That was literally my only experience working with kids (aside from babysitting), and it was the only relevant thing I had to put on my resumé, so on my resumé it went! 

(How to Create Long Term Goals)

Keep a Positive Attitude

This one’s hard. It’s really, really hard. And the longer you’ve been looking, the harder it can be to continue. But the next resumé you send out could be the one! And if there’s a specific company you know you want to work for, keep contacting them Blair Waldorf style! 🙂 

The time between finishing college and starting a career can be really discouraging, stressful, and unpredictable… Just remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It was hard for everyone! 

In the words of a very wise blue fish, just keep swimming! You’ll get there 🙂 

(How to Actually Accomplish Your Goals)

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing while looking for a job? Or, if you have your job, what was the best advice you received? How long did it take? 

Further Reading:

This survey from may make you feel better! 

The Balance has a really great post on Making it Between College and Your First Job

Summer Goals 2017

I love fresh, new beginnings… like the first day of school, starting a new month, or getting a new planner! Today is the (unofficial) “first” day of summer and, to me, that counts as a chance to have a fresh new beginning!

What do I want my summer to look like? What do I want to achieve by the end of it? How do I want to spend my time?
Those are the big questions I’m answering today.

Summer Goal #1
My first goal for summer is to spend less time on my phone. I have this really cool (and free!) app called Moment that tracks my phone use over time. It shows me my phone use in neat and organized graphs… which I absolutely adore! 
Because Moment is constantly running in the background, I know how many hours I spend on it each day, the average time I pick it up in the morning and when I put it down for the last time at night.
Like all apps these days, it has a premium feature that will even show you how much time you spend on Facebook, Instagram, etc. But my husband already thinks it’s ridiculous that I pay for Pandora (“Babe, commercials kill my vibe”), so I’m at my limit on purchased apps!

Summer Goal #2
My second goal is to get our house ready for our biggest and most exciting project yet. We are having a baby (boy) in October! And while I am super excited, I know that I have a LOT to do to get ready for his arrival! 
Since I have literally no idea how to get ready for a baby, or what to even expect, I’m relying heavily on a small library of apps, books, and the checklists from those apps and books! Ovia and The Bump have been my faves so far.
(I like Ovia because it tells me I’m a “Data Queen”. I know, girl. I know.)

Summer Goal #3
My third goal for the summer is a tie between having the most organized and efficient home in the world or having the most organized and efficient classroom in the world… Maybe there will be time to achieve both?
With the baby arriving in October, that gives me a little over 4 months to get my home life in order. Everything will be messier: the kitchen, the laundry, the house itself. I want to get everything as decluttered and streamlined as possible!
On the other end of that spectrum, a baby in October (middle of the first semester) means that I’ll miss 3 months of school. 3 months! Since I started teaching in my own classroom, I haven’t even missed a day… To say I’m anxious would be an understatement!

Summer Vignettes

I love this time of year because there are blooming hydrangeas EVERYWHERE! 🙂 

I know nothing is perfect and that I will feel ready for everything when it comes. But for now, I can at least make myself feel better by making elaborate checklists and spreadsheets, right? J
What are some of your goals this summer? What are some plans or steps you can take over the summer to achieve them? Teachers, any advice for a new mom?

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How to Create Long Term Goals

If you’ve been reading this blog for a few months, you know that when my life slows down, my writing slows down, too. Summer break and winter break are the hardest times for me to write… because I’m not busy enough, if that makes any sense. Around the beginning of the new year, I decided to dedicate the first 6 weeks of 2015 focusing on my career (aka finding a new teaching job in a new city). And I planned on writing about cover letters and resumes and what to wear to interviews, etc. I did a ton of research. I pinned a bunch of articles (you can find them all here).

I read them all. I took notes. And then I realized “there’s no need for me to say any of this. I’d just be repeating everything that’s already been said in these articles”. So, I didn’t write a post about the perfect interview or resume or whatever. HOWEVER, I did spend quite a lot of time doing something that wasn’t in ANY of these posts! So, that’s what I’m going to write about today:


I recently started this new “track” on Happify called Find Your Calling and the very first exercise in it was one where you write about your perfect daily routine. NOT your perfect job. But your perfect routine. Like, what do you see your days looking like in the future? The craziest thing about this activity was that it was SO easy! Even though you may not be completely sure about what you WANT to do… you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want your days to look like. Doing this activity motivated me to keep going on my quest of finding my perfect career!

1. Spend 20 minutes writing your 20-year goals

This past weekend, I set a timer for 20 minutes and wrote down what I want my career to look like 20 years from now. I just typed it into a Word documents. I wrote it quickly and messy. I didn’t care about grammar or punctuation or even if I sounded like a normal person. So, if you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed about the future, just take 20 minutes and write down anything and everything that you can. Once I finished writing what I wanted to be doing 20 years from now, I reset the timer for 10 minutes and wrote about what I want to be doing in 10 years. Go big here, btw!

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe.” -Oprah Winfrey

2. Cut that time in half and do it again… and again… and again…

Because I am slightly more obsessive than most people, I continued this at every halfway mark (including 15 months and 7 1/2 months). You could just go with something traditional like “1 year” and “6 months”. Another thing I did that was helpful was to begin every new time period by writing “In ___ years, it will be the year ___ and I will be ___ years old”. Another thing I did that was super helpful was to find someone I admired who was already that age. Sometimes age seems pretty vague and it’s difficult to know what to expect, so seeing it in someone else’s life makes it easier.

3. Read through and pull out your concrete goals

Once I had all of my things written in a Word document, I went back and pulled out the phrases and keywords that I could actually turn into goals. For example, “involve parents in classroom activities through class website, newsletter, and volunteer opportunities”. Those are all pretty concrete things that I can really make happen in my classroom. Or “certified professional organizer”, well… that’s pretty clear. I pulled out the things that were super specific like that and actually wrote them down on a piece of paper. I continued to do this at every checkpoint until I eventually got down to “today”.

4. Do 4 things today that will move you towards your goals

At the “today” space, I just made a square space big enough for a Post-It. Each day, I write down 4 tasks that will help me reach the goals. NOT big tasks at all, either! Sending 1 e-mail to someone or printing off 1 document counts. Literally, 4 small and doable tasks every day. It doesn’t feel or sounds like much which is why below it I wrote this quote:

“Great things are done by a series of small things coming together.” -Vincent Van Gogh

The future is a scary and magnificent thing! It’s easy to let it come and go and dream about the things that we could have done OR we can decide today to attack it head on and spend each day purposefully making it the best we can! Which brings me to another quote I love:

“Put on lipstick and attack!” -Coco Chanel