Graduating college was easily one of the most exciting and happy moments of my life. Ever since I was a five-year-old, I had been waiting for the second I could throw my graduation cap in the air and hit the road. As a business major, I was ready to take on the marketing industry in the city of my choice. Deciding what city I would start my career was rather easy, the hard part was choosing the question that followed — where was I going to be working for my first big kid job?
Ultimately, finding a job after getting your bachelor’s degree isn’t easy — at least it wasn’t for me kick-starting my journey in marketing. Honestly, I am extremely surprised I was lucky enough to be able to start off at a marketing agency like I was hoping — marketing departments are more of a “luxury” than a necessity in businesses, especially startups.
I am ever so grateful to be able to work at an agency that specializes in my passion; content marketing. After college I was hoping to land a job like this, and more so, make my way in a city that would leave my five-year-old self jumping of joy just to get the chance to visit. I count my blessings every day, even on the hard days. So here are my tips for making your five-year-old self die instead from happiness:
1. Research, Research, & More Research
I can’t tell you guys enough about how long I waited to leave Montana. I mainly just had to figure out which city brought me the most excitement, one that I could comfortably live off of. Working my butt off all throughout college set me up financially, but I never wanted to feel like I had to work two or three jobs ever again. I wanted to be able to have my weekends and get off at 5 pm Monday through Friday as I worked hard to earn throughout college.
With that being said, on Christmas break of 2018, I remember sitting on the couch in my Mom’s apartment considering the two opportunities I had in mind; Austin or Seattle. There was always talk of me wanting to move somewhere dramatic, like New York City, but I honestly don’t know if I could ever actually pull the trigger. I don’t know if I could move to such an over the top city, aside from my financial requirements potentially not making the cut.
While sitting there I looked at various apartments and cross-referenced what the average cost of living, specifically for me, would be in these two different areas; Austin being the most effective. From that point, I knew I was most likely going to make my way down west, but I was still open to other opportunities.
Not only did I look at the average cost of living, but I also looked at open job positions I would potentially want to consider once moving. Looking at the base salary matched with each career opening and seeing if I would be thrilled or let down. Weigh all the positives and negatives of each area of consideration so you know you aren’t going with what just sounds “fun” over what is actually practical — something you most definitely don’t want to hear after scrapping by all of college.
2. Just Go for It
Over spring break of 2019, I visited Austin the whole week to get a feel for the town, community, and apartment opportunities. I was lucky enough to have connections down here that set me up in a positive living situation and made for a comfortable transition. I also had a great mentor that was consistently keeping me grounded and humble during my job search, which quite frankly, really puts you through the wringer.
Since my living situation was made easy, all I really had to do was build up my savings a little more than I had, pack up my car, and just go for it. Oddly enough, I love that feeling of spontaneity — just going with your heart and gut.
After about a week of not really doing much at all, reality started to set it — I hadn’t been unemployed for more than a couple days since the week before my 16th birthday when I landed my first job.
What was I going to do with all my time?
How was I going to plan for the future without even knowing what the future had to offer?
The questions were endless, and for a planner freak like me, the unknown was scary.
3. Be Patient
.. Which leads me to this point. BE PATIENT. Something everyone, and I mean everyone, told me to do. The right position would come my way and I really needed to chill the heck out. Me and my stubborn self took what they told me with as a tiny grain of salt.
I spent my last couple weeks of unemployment in a frantic. I started applying for positions that I knew I wasn’t going to want and I told myself I wasn’t allowed to go out and do anything fun until I landed a job. BIG MISTAKE.
I should have taken the advice from my friends and mentors to go out and see all of Austin. When would I have a full month off to do that again? Most likely never! For all of you that are just going for it like I did, honestly, take time and explore where you are at.
For goodness sake, I didn’t even make it to all the Austin known food places, which is literally what Austin is known for.
4. Know Your Value
From the time I arrived in Austin to the time I landed my job, I had applied for 100, if not more, open positions. Getting my first job offer letter was one of those moments we all want to celebrate by popping open a champagne bottle. But I could never forget the road it took me to get there.
Hearing no, after no, after no really gets you down. I was hard on myself, I thought I would never get a marketing position in a big city considering where I grew up never really offered full rounded marketing experience opportunities. But what I didn’t think about was how hard I worked to get my way throughout college, my go-getter attitude that landed me my position in Portland with short notice, and everything I had done to make Austin happen.
No matter what stage of your life you are in, know your value. Yah, you may not have what some other candidates have, but guess what? They don’t have the experiences and qualities you have either. You bring just as much, if not more, to the table— show it.
5. Lastly, Have Fun
Growing up is extremely exciting but stressful. Have fun when you can and live in the moment. The weekend I got my job offer as a Content Marketer, I went out and celebrated with my friends. Going from bar to bar in downtown Austin with a small group of us, we grabbed a bike caddy thing instead of walking our last round. As cliche as it sounds, that whole ride I got the butterflies in my tummy starring at the city right in front of me.
How did I make it here?
Did I really just land my first big kid job?
So yah, moving to an entirely new state is scary, and it’s even more scary when you don’t have a backup plan. But from my past experiences, you won’t make something happen until you put yourself in a situation where you literally can’t let yourself fail. If you are just starting out, read my post on the 11 Things I Learned Post-Grad.
And move to the city of your dreams, you’ll do what you have to do to make things work, even if that means getting a job you may not love in the meantime to get you there.
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