When I finished college in December of 2019, I thought I had my life set up. I was getting ready to start an internship at a highly recognized communications agency and was hopeful about turning it into a full-time job once my three-month contract was up. Like many new grads, I was looking
forward to finally escaping the existential dread of student-life, the stress of homework and assignments, and was excited to start my adult life. Then March happened.
How it started
I’m not going to sugar coat it. The first week of lockdown due to COVID-19 was filled with tears, anger, and anxiety. How am I going to pay rent? Will I lose my apartment? Will I have to move back home and leave my independent life in Toronto behind? These questions kept me up at night – even with the comfort of knowing I could move back in with my parents. I spent a few weeks feeling sorry for myself until I finally forced myself out of my COVID-induced depression.
As many new entrants into the workforce, my job search was met with a ton of rejection and silence. My full-time job was applying for jobs: constantly re-writing my cover letter and resume for each application and getting no response. Despite my lack of motivation and feeling completely beat up by the process, I kept going.
Pushing through the Silence
The frequent rejection was a hard pill to swallow, but I did my best to keep up the momentum of my job search. My days became filled with researching new opportunities, making connections on LinkedIn, and envisioning myself in each position I was putting effort into applying for, even if it wasn’t my dream role. The greatest lesson I learned throughout this process is the importance of being open to any opportunity that comes your way – big or small – because the experience you gain can be used as a steppingstone on your career path.
By July, when I was ready to pack up to head back to my parents’ house in Ottawa, I got an interview for a job that I had applied for in March through the Canada Summer Jobs program. After many months of rejection, silence and being convinced finding a full-time job was not in the cards for me, I feverishly responded to the email, “YES, I’M AVAILABLE FOR AN INTERVIEW.”
The Secret to Success?
To tell you the truth, there’s no secret to how I landed my job in a pandemic. I persevered through a lot of rejection before I ever got an answer, and I think that’s the key. We’re no longer able to show up in person and show off our personalities to potential employers and portraying the authentic You through a short cover letter can be daunting, especially with the amount of competition in the job market we’re faced with these days.
My advice? Don’t be afraid of the “no’s” and get yourself out there!
Reach out to people who inspire you and ask them for an informational interview or send a cold email to the places you really want to work. As cliché as it sounds, the moral of this story is to not be so hard on yourself and jump on any opportunity that comes your way – no matter how small. Remember- every opportunity can be used as a steppingstone to your next one. It’s the year of being kind to yourself.
Now go get yourself that job!