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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

Looking for a job... is a full time job

As I write this on Feb. 21st, 2023, I unfortunately still check the box as that of an unemployed king.

While many undergrad and graduate students who will graduate in May are set up to start full time roles this summer, I am not yet one of those fortunate folks. Professional job recruiting is a dance, and it is a dance that can be all parts soul-sucking, irritating, nauseating, exciting and enlightening. I don’t care if you’re going to work for a NGO, a MBB consulting firm, a think tank or for that pr*ck Jeff Bezos — recruiting processes for jobs are all alike. Unless your dad is a managing director at Goldman Sachs or Sequoia Capital, everyone in my shoes has played the game at some point. And I am talking about applying for a job, sending 30 networking emails, scheduling 6 coffee chats, maybe getting an interview, having a first-round interview, scratching your way to the second round, getting selected for the final round and waiting a week or so to hear about a job offer. End to end, these processes can take weeks and require high emotional intelligence, time management and endurance. I have been going at my current process now since basically July, and it so continues. I can’t begin to count the number of application rejection emails I’ve received since then. Running the race is not for the faint of heart, but what is worth having in life that really is?

So here I am, 9 months later and still an unemployed king. After graduation from the accelerated MBA this May, I haven’t the faintest idea where I’ll be working. And yet, I’m not discouraged. I can hardly believe it, but here I am, February of 2023, floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee. After 300 informational phone calls and nearly 2,000 outreach emails, I’m still kicking. I thank Kim Kardashian partially for my current state of mind. Her “get your f***ing ass up and work” moment on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" really keeps me up at night. For those of you wondering at home, yes, I’m being sarcastic. Partially. For some reason that puzzles me, this clip reminds me of a pregame speech of Knute Rockne’s that is at the beginning of "Rudy":

 “We're going inside of ‘em, we're going outside of ‘em — inside of ‘em! outside of ‘em! — and when we get them on the run once, we're going to keep ‘em on the run… And don't forget, men — today is the day we're gonna win. They can't lick us — and that's how it goes... The first platoon men — go in there and fight, fight, fight, fight, fight! What do you say, men!?”

Yes, I bombed an interview at my dream company in September, so what? Yes, I am recruiting off-cycle for my desired industry, so what? Yes, I turned down five job offers in the fall of 2021 to commit toward finishing my education. So. What? Your career is one of the few things you can control in life, so why not try to? As Rockne berates in the best of ways, “Go in there and fight, fight, fight.” If you want to be a consultant as a theology major, what’s stopping you? Refuse to take no for an answer. Force a seat at their table and pay it forward. Be the best of the best. 

With all this being said, I’m close. Like dangerously close to landing a role in my desired city with a great growth trajectory and team environment. And while the job isn’t finished, through the grace of God and the great experiences I’ve had, I just know my patience is going pay off. For those of you who may be discouraged, here are some tips you might find helpful.

“It's not personal, its strictly business.”

I’ve seen folks get discouraged about rejections by taking it personally. But as Michael Corleone chillingly points out, 90% of the time, this is not the case. Companies need change all the time, and in this labor market, this continues to be the case. You weren’t declined for a role because you put “Hogwarts Legacy Fanatic” on your resume. No, that company just needed something else. 

“Oh, I don’t have any experience."

I hear this all the time. Guess what, yes, you do. Everyone has experience, and whether that’s being an RA, babysitting, joining a startup that failed after 6 months or being a varsity athlete, its experience. Use it and leverage it. 

Email, email, email

This brings us to outreach. Currently, it is difficult to get application traction by just applying cold. So what can you do? Go to LinkedIn, find out the names of team members at company name XYZ, and write them down. Then, go to Google and find the email format for said company. Proceed to send a blast email to every member of the team and just ask to connect for their experiences. 70% of the time, you will see connectivity. I have followed up religiously with some folks and they appreciate the persistence. 

Leverage the Notre Dame network

Take whatever thoughts you might have about the Notre Dame network and toss them out the window. This network is so much more powerful than anything you could’ve possibly fathomed. And the best part? People want to help. Notre Dame alums love to connect. But they aren’t mind readers, and it all it takes to get some help is to ask for it. Brilliant, right? 

Gratitude and check-ins

Once you have made connections, follow up. Let people you’ve talked to know how you are doing. Tell them if you have landed a role, etc. And always thank them for their time. A little love goes a long way. Trust me. 

So to those of you still looking for gainful employment, good luck and happy hunting.

Stephen Viz is a one-year MBA candidate and graduate of Holy Cross College. Hailing from Orland Park, Illinois, his columns are all trains of thoughts, and he can be found at either Decio Cafe or in Mendoza. He can be reached at sviz@nd.edu or on Twitter at @StephenViz.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.