Stage 1: Excitement, Eagerness and Enthusiasm
Three months ago, I walked out of Kenan Stadium at UNC Chapel Hill where I was one of 35,000 graduates and their families to hear Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, encourage us to go out into the world and seek opportunity. So, in typical Gen Y fashion, I left commencement inspired and ready to get out there, eager to make a difference.
Stage 2: Frustration
Fast forward to a few weeks later. I’m on the couch in my pajamas at 3pm thinking “this guy Steve Case had some nerve telling a stadium full of students to go out and make a difference, has he seen the job market lately?” To his credit, he did mention this dilemma. But I wasn’t ready to take full responsibility for my lack of employment.
Stage 3: Defeated
Despite my frustration, I kept applying to jobs and thus continued my daily dose of rejection. Over the course of two months, I applied to over 75 positions, had multiple informational interviews and was even in the final round for a job that seemed perfect for me. When I didn’t get that position, I felt defeated. I mean seriously, I have pretty tough skin, but my confidence was running out fast. I was getting sick of people telling me I wasn’t good enough.
Stage 4: Re Energize
I think it was around the time I started searching for jobs at resorts in the Caribbean that I realized I needed to change my approach. I had been so focused on actually finding a job, I forgot everything I had learned about networking. See, us Gen Y’s enjoy instant gratification.
I began reaching out to everyone and anyone. I set up calls at agencies that weren’t even hiring, reached out to classmates who were in the same situation, amped up my LinkedIn connections, updated my website. You name it, I did it. I spoke with someone new every single day for about two weeks. After I spoke to one person, I asked if they had anyone else in mind who could be helpful for me to talk to.
Phase 5: The Offer
After all of my effort, I finally I got the results I was looking for. I got a call from a recruiter from The Richards Group, a full service advertising agency in Dallas, Texas, that represents brands like Chick-fil-A, Fiat, Ulta, and GameStop. I was offered an internship position with their Digital/Social Strategy team. An amazing opportunity.
Moral of the Story
When I was deciding between accepting the internship position at The Richards Group or continuing my search for a full time position, I remembered something Steve Case said during his commencement speech. He said “don’t be so fixated on a specific ending that you neglect to open the door when opportunity knocks.”
So here I am, three months later sitting in a high rise overlooking Dallas, interning for one of the best ad agencies in the country, working alongside some of the most brilliant people in the industry. After just two weeks at my internship, I know I made the right decision.
Ellie Jesse is a recent graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is currently a Digital Strategy intern at The Richards Group, a Dallas-based branding and full service advertising agency offering a full range of advertising, marketing and interactive solutions. Follow Ellie on Twitter: @EllieH_Jesse or connect with her at www.elliejesse.com.