20something profile: Jessica
In 2009 I graduated university with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Film. After 5 years of living and breathing academia, I was so excited to grab my diploma and show the world what I had to offer. I got a contract job right out of university at a film festival and it was honestly one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. For an ex-film student it was a pure dream, but after my four months were up, that’s when my happy-go-lucky bubble burst.
I was unemployed for 8 months after that, I wasn’t eligible for employment insurance, so I couldn’t afford to move out of my parents’ house, and I had $5,000 of student debt accruing interest by the month. This was not how I pictured my post-grad life to be.
In all fairness, I do put a lot of the blame on bad timing. The year I graduated was the year the recession was in full swing, companies were doing mass layoffs, and funding for jobs in the arts sector was at an all time low. It was one of the darkest periods of my life.
I was so excited to finish school, but because I had such a hard time finding work, even landing an interview to be a receptionist, it really took a toll on my mental health. Looking back I think I applied to over 200 jobs and only got about 4 interviews. I was about a month away from either going back to school or begging for my old contract job back when I finally got a call with good news.
A full year after I finished my degree, I started my first full-time job in sales and marketing at a newspaper. During that time I also started getting involved in the personal finance world. I read stacks of books and a number of blogs talking about how to get out of debt and how to make more money by freelancing. At the end of 2011 I launched my own personal finance blog, Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses, and have been happily writing on the side ever since.
After three years in my role at the newspaper, I was desperate for a change and a bit of adventure. I knew I wanted a career in marketing, and I knew that to make the next step in my career, I would need to move to a bigger city with more job opportunities.
Three months ago I packed up all my stuff and moved from Vancouver to Toronto. Faced with the same fear of being unemployed for a long stretch of time, I made sure that this round I would get out of my comfort zone and do I everything I could to make sure that didn’t happen again.
I called up every contact I knew in Toronto to set up meetings; I spread the word that I was looking for work on my blog and social media; and most importantly I applied to any job I believed I was qualified for because I didn’t wanted to miss out on any potential opportunities. My strategy worked and very recently I landed a job at a big company I am thrilled to work for.
Based on my job seeking experiences, my advice for any Millennials out there finishing up college or starting look for work is to never give up, be open minded, and take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. No one in their 20s has it all figured out, and the ones that say they do are in desperate need of a reality check. Life is a journey, and the best way to enjoy the ride is to work hard, take risks, and stop worrying about the final destination.