20something profile: Erin
Two years ago I crossed a stage, shook the university president’s hand, hugged my favorite professor and received a diploma. In that moment I joined the ranks of thousands of over-educated and unemployed millennials.
The next day, during my 13 hour drive from Western New York to Charlotte, North Carolina the panic began to set in. I was a 21-year-old college graduate with a double-major in journalism and theater, a 3.87 GPA, internship experience with one of the biggest names in news, and I was headed back to my parents’ house. The biggest thing I had going for me was an interview for a sales clerk position at Books-A-Million.
For the past several months I’d sent out close to a hundred job applications for various jobs in broadcast news, but I’d only received a few nibbles. Then, two weeks later I sat on the deck at my parents’ house, and my mom shouted out that my phone was ringing. I didn’t recognize the number, but I knew the 212 area code, Manhattan.
A few months earlier, I’d applied to be a page for a popular late night talk show in New York City. A boy I’d worked with in residence life had graduated the year before and currently paged for the show. During an alumni function in February of my senior year, he gave me his boss’s contact information and told me to send her my résumé and cover letter.
A week later I’d had three people proof my cover letter and résumé and clicked send on the email I hoped would lead to employment. After months of no response, I chalked it up to another case of hundreds to thousands of job applications for a handful of spots.
A few days after I received the “212 call,” I flew up to New York City and interviewed to be a page (yes, similar to Kenneth from 30 Rock). Two weeks later my bags were packed, and I moved to the Big Apple.
The page job only lasted a year, but I couldn’t have had a better first job out of college. Not only did I get to see a constant stream of celebrities and major players in the entertainment industry, but I made some great friends. Plus, I learned how to work insane hours and odd jobs in order to survive living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Towards the end of my year, when I knew I’d have to find another job, I went back to my network from college. Through another friend I secured an interview with for an internship with a mid-size public relations agency in Manhattan. Today, I have worked my way up from intern to account coordinator.
College is a wonderful experience, full of learning and new adventures. But truly, the major advantage of college is learning to build a supportive network. Networking will help you find employment, not just right after college, but throughout your career. I don’t know where I’ll be headed next, but I’m confident it will be with help from my professional and personal network.