College/20's-aged & the "Job Search"

  1. Hi everyone! I wanted to start a thread to hear about others' experiences with the job search, specifically after college!

    I will be 22 this year & will be graduating from college in May. I plan on being a high school Spanish or English teacher & to do so through the alternate route. Since the alternate route isn't as promising as already having the education degree & teaching certification, I've started the job search, applications, etc... now. lol. The prospect of having a "real" job by September is soo exciting, but at the same time, very nerve-racking. What if an interview goes bad? What if the employer doesn't want to hire me because of the alternate route? What if it's HARD? Worst of all... what if i DON'T get a job?!? I'm pretty on top of things, OCD about any task at hand, and so getting a job, a huge deal, is, well, making me a bit spaztic :nuts:

    I would love to hear everybody's experience with the first job you had & how you got there, whether past experiences or someone going through what I'm going through now, the end of college jitters upon entering the "real" world. Any interview stories? Difficulties? Successes? Landing your dream job or ending up living at home working at your old job from high school? Anything shared would probably be very comforting!

    I usually hear from family & friends & more "Oh, you want to teach Spanish? You'll get a job, don't worry, you'll be fine!," but when going through the actual process of getting the job, which can be daunting... let's just the say the emotion is not as reassuring. Please share! I appreciate it soo much!! :smile:
  2. When I graduated, I almost immediately moved to another city. I crashed on someone's couch for a week, found an apartment, and within a month started my first job. It was an internship at a social networking site (like Facebook, Myspace, etc.). It was a great experience. I then randomly interviewed to train to become a corporate headhunter and I primarily took the job because the money was quite good. I stuck that out for a few months but it was clear that it wasn't for me... I then won a writing competition for a fashion magazine and did an internship there, and then I interviewed for the job I have now. I do the marketing for a "design firm" (don't want to be too specific!) but it's not a fashion company. I LOVE my job, it's great, but the hours are quite long although there are frequently periods where I have nothing to do (hence being on Purse Forum).

    I don't believe in waiting for the perfect job or the "right opportunity." Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet to gain experience, even at a less desirable company.

    My pet peeve about other young career women my age is that they seem to think they're overqualified for everything, even if they didn't graduate from a stellar university or have never had a serious internship in the industry they want to be in. There are so many girls out there who refuse to pay their dues. I think the wisest thing you can do is suck it up.

    I definitely do some things I don't want to do (although my title is "director" which is sort of silly since I'm the only marketing person) but that goes with the territory. I received a much larger than anticipated Christmas bonus not because I do the fun stuff well, but because I don't complain about having to do some crappy tasks, too.

    Sorry, I don't mean to lecture! I just wish somebody had told me to get off my high horse earlier, also.
  3. I'm not much older than you. I graduated last May with a degree in finance. I started interviewing in February. I went to job fairs, my college career center, friends, etc. I interviewed at many places and kept getting rejected because I'm a shy person and don't present myself too well. It was hard, but I had to suck it up and keep going.

    I finally interviewed at a foreign company that had just acquired an American company and was doing a mass hiring. The company was moving its USA headquarters from St. Louis to Houston and a lot of the St. Louis people were quitting on the spot. I was hired in March but started in June. It was stressful to be hired during an aquisition because the expatriates who were brought in to help get things started barely spoke English and didn't know what they were doing. I really believed I lucked out because at that time, we were hiring 10+ people a week.

    The only advice I have to give you is to be yourself in an interview. Don't say things just because you think that's what the interviewer wants to hear. It will come back to bite you when you realize the job is not the right fit for you. For example, I thought I liked working with numbers, but after looking at spreadsheets all day, I want to puke when I have to look at them outside of work.

    Also, don't set your expectations too high. Be realistic and realize that you have to pay your dues and a lot of grunt work for the company before they give you better assignments.
  4. I graduated and moved back to Hong Kong about 1.5 years ago. I put off looking for a job because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I looked around in PR and interviewed but since I can't WRITE Chinese (I can read it. Weird, huh?) I found it very difficult to land a starting position.

    As Intlset wrote, I got off my high horse and started to work as a part-time sales while learning make up on the side. I guess I performed well in my exams etc. so they started to call me out to do jobs. I did this for about 6-7 months and during this period I got to do the makeup for a lot of fashion shows (including Burberry and Loewe), fashion spreads, work with local artists and TV shows. One day they called and asked me to work on a movie that was being filmed in HK. Well, I jumped at the chance and I was doing that up until the end of last year.

    Now, I'm thinking of switching careers but am kind of in between choosing them and wanting to go to Beijing to improve on my Mandarin. I don't think that we as young women should settle on a career too soon. Life is full of unexpected surprises and I can't wait to see what awaits me around the corner! Good luck on your job search!
  5. Beginning in mid-January, I will be working in a mid-sized firm as a marketing coordinator. I graduated in August 2007 but I took a month off to travel to Europe before I started actively looking for a job. My job search was extremely tough. Because I do not have easy access to a car and I do not want to receive help from my family members in terms of transporting me to work, I had to limit the areas I was able to work. Luckily, in mid-December, I found the perfect position (well, perfect considering I had almost no experience) in the right location. The job pays almost nothing, but it is a job and I am getting the experience. Plus, I figure since we are still young in many respects, these are just jumping off points and it takes years for people to truly find their dream job.
  6. Oh geez, I am in the same boat. I'm 22 and will be graduating with a degree in Meteorology. I am so scared I won't be able to find a job...I don't even know where to look. I don't want to do retail anymore!
  7. IntlSet, this is wise and sound advice! I work in corporate recruitment for a large multinational professional services company, and spent a little over 5 years leading US campus recruiting programs to recruit fresh graduates from universities.

    Year after year, the biggest complaint I hear about our entry-level Analysts is that they feel that the work assigned to them is "beneath" them, so their Project Managers have to work extra hard to "coach" them to see how their tasks fit into the larger picture, and that by doing the "little" stuff, they are gaining experience and knowledge, that will be valuable to them as they progress later on. By understanding this up front, it will help acclimate to the entry-level tasks and expectations.

    ash14vwb, congratulations on coming into the homestretch to finish your degree! :yahoo: I echo the other posters' wise advice. There are many different opportunities out there, and by having reasonable expectations, I'm sure you will find an opportunity that you will really enjoy, or at least like it enough to get some experience to use as a stepping stone into something else.

    With your teaching goals, do you need practical experience or state certifications? Teach for America is a fantastic 2-year program for new college graduates, and educational institutions and the corporate world alike recognize its value to train and hone valuable skills. Other opportunities related to teaching are to work abroad, teaching English (or Spanish ???).

    Best wishes to you!
  8. Haven't read the responses - nor your entire OP yet, but from the first few lines it appears to be we're in similar positions. I am 22 (23 in April) and about to embark on my student teaching semester as a secondary education Spanish major. I'll graduate within program though, with my initial certification (from grades 7-12) in Spanish, pending my masters degree (you have 5 years from when you begin teaching to finish the masters program). The great thing about graduating with my BA in program is that every field work position you do + through student teaching you're offered a job. There's 2 field work internships and you student teach at 2 schools - so by the end of the program you've worked in 4 different secondary schools who are willing to take you... so it's pretty good for recommendations...

    My DF, on the other hand, just graduated in December in sociology/criminology and is at a total loss with what he wants to do with his degree. He's applied at a temping agency and is waiting for a placement. We're getting married in October 08, and our lease is up here (we live in New Paltz in an apartment off campus) June 1st - and we're thinking of relocating to Jersey to be closer to his family (we're thinking Bergen County area)... which means I need to apply for my paying teaching job come this February/March-ish for September... so it's very hectic and confusing... scary... money's an issue - especially being student teaching is unpaid...
  9. K - read everything - what type of job are you looking for with your BA? By the alternate route I'm thinking you mean to work somewhere with your BA degree and going to grad school for the ed certification?

    For my BA/certification in Spanish ed it was pretty grueling - and a lot of kids didn't make it and decided to go the alt. route (the grueling part mainly being the 5 state exams - most importantly, the make-you-or-break-you OPI - for which you must prove dominance of the target language, reaching an advanced low proficiency level). Most students could pass easily 3 out of the 5 state exams, but the OPI (oral proficiency exam) and the Written Assessment were the toughest to pass - and so kids would graduate simply with their Spanish degrees after failing (failing the OPI means you scored below the advanced low proficiency level - most students reach intermediate high, which unfortunately, isn't good enough - and failing the Assessment means scoring lower than an 85% on any of the 3 sections) and without their ed degrees. The good news in this is that you can still teach at many private schools with just a Spanish degree - for instance - Catholic schools, which are not regulated by the state. Unfortunately, at least here in NY, without the ed certification no public school will consider you - even pending grad work - without the initial certification.

  10. Thanks so much for the input, everyone! It's nice to hear about other people's experiences. I'm definitely not on any high horse right now, thinking I'm owed a job for whatever reason... if anything, I need a confidence boost, & your posts definitely helped :smile:

    To LivinLuxuriously- I thought about doing Teach4America but didn't get much info about it at my college. My situation is: I will be graduating with a BA in English & a BA in Spanish, so a double major. I was originally a secondary education & English major planning on teaching high school English, but I couldn't stop taking Spanish classes because I knew I'd miss it so much. Soo.. I'm left with these 2 majors, & the way I can become a teacher is the "alternate route." I've taken the Praxis in both subjects & will take the ACTFL for Spanish as soon as I graduate. In NJ, those are the only things you need to begin the alternate route. What it is is basically a school district hires you as a full-time teacher, the same as teachers with certification, and you are given the same pay, benefits, etc. The only difference is that I will have to take 2 night classes & 1 weekend class every week for the whole first year. I'll also have a mentor who's in my classroom most of the time. At the end of the year, I will receive NJ Certification in whichever subject area I end up getting a job in, English or Spanish.

    I have everything mapped out, it's just that I want to get there already, you know? I'm not being un-realistic & thinking I'll only settle for one district or anything like that; I'm applied to almost every district within an hour & a half radius of my house (seriously, lol). I also already have interviews lined up at my college. I'm willing to take anythign I get, within reason, since there are such differences between school districts & I can invision where I would want to be.

    As for long-term goals, I do want to pursue a graduate degree (I still have a couple different ideas of in what, though, haven't decided), but only after I have had a job for a couple or few years (like once I gain tenure).

    So that's my LONG story, phew! I think if I am just myself, like a poster said, work hard, don't expect too much but also don't sell myself short, everything will turn out all right. I really needed some comfort last night though when I was getting overwhelmed with applications & the costs of everything. :nuts: You guys really helped :smile: Thank you for sharing & the kind words!!
  11. PS...

    This is why I absolutely LOVE:heart: tpf. It's a great escape when I start overthinking about other stuff; it sort of keeps me in check & reminds me that there is fun in life too (like handbags:heart: & not to take everything so seriously!! :smile:
  12. ACTFL stands for American Council for Teaching Foreign Languages - it's just the association - do you mean the OPI (oral proficiency exam)? Which is hosted by ACTFL?

    This is more about the OPI:

    It's funny - I'd wanted to be an English major and teach English - but ended up doing Spanish upon getting my AA in Liberal Arts. I have friends in the English program - which, IMO, is much easier (and there were times I'd considered switching) because the tests aren't as insane. SUNY New Paltz is nationally accredited though (meaning with my ed degree here I can teach in any state without re-certification), which may be why there were so many exams (I still have 1 left, the CST - content specialty test - but I'm not overly worried after passing the Assessment and OPI).

    I'm also an over-thinker. 3 semesters went by at my university where no Spanish majors passed the OPI - and so I'd already pre-planned what I'd do in the event that I failed - which would be to go to grad school and continue working on my skills. Luckily, 5 people passed the OPI this past semester, and one of them was me *thank God* - and so off to student teaching I go! I think I'd like to do my masters in special education, and focus a bit on child classifications, psych and behavioral disorders, etc. (In NY at least, but I believe it's everywhere now with the no child left behind act) It's now a requirement that classified students take a foreign language - even if they're low functioning. In my field work last semester I had a few extremely low functioning students in my classroom - but it's now the law that you must provide such students with a years trial of FL instruction before ruling them as "unteachable".
  13. I can't offer much helpful advice, but I just wanted to drop by and wish you good luck with your job search! :yes: I am 19 and I'm at FIDM right now, but I am not going to major in fashion or design. I still do not know what I'm going to major in, but next year I will be going to UC Berkeley. I have to worry about picking my major before job hunting after graduation. I wish I was done with the university part and in the same boat as you. :amuse: Sorry I couldn't offer any advice! :sweatdrop:
  14. LivinLuxuriously - what are the chances! Both love English & Spanish! :tup: Yup, I meant the OPI. So far... My professor told me he'd place me at Int. High/Adv Low, but not quite Adv Low, and to speak alot before taking the official test over the phone. I did well on the Praxis... I'm not too worried about the OPI, but you are absolutely right - the tests, teaching methods, lots of things seem more difficult in the Spanish major, and it's always best to have a back-up in case of not getting the necessary rating on the OPI!!! Grad school is a pretty good back up, too, if I must say so ;)

    Thanks for the advice sooo much!! I will hopefully be posting a new thread on here within the next 6 months-year saying "I got the job!!" :smile:
  15. Hopefully me too!! :lol: :tup:

    Good luck - and yeah, practice, practice, practice. The worst thing about the OPI is that it's done over the telephone - so practice conversations for no shorter than 15 minutes, if you can, over the telephone with a professor or someone fluent in Spanish. The phone thing can really throw you off. Speak as much as you can. In prep for mine I actually own the Sex and the City DVD set - and I watched seasons entirely in Spanish to hear new vocab, cultural relevance, etc. I got an advanced mid :yes: