Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college

In the Nick of Time


Zach Garbiso April Post

Zach Garbiso ‘14, Assistant Media Planner, NEO@Ogilvy

Oftentimes, seniors feel like they are the only ones without a job at graduation.  Guess what?  You are in the majority.  Companies don’t hire based on graduation date.  They hire based on need and available positions.  If you don’t have a job secured yet, fear not.  Most seniors secure jobs within six months of graduation.

Zach shares his experience and perspective on finding a job in your desired city.  He didn’t have a job secured before leaving his fellowship last year.  He decided to move to NYC in order to better network and apply for jobs.

What would you have done differently your senior year to prepare for life after graduation?

One thing that I did while I was a senior was really tap into the Wake Forest network in NYC, which is where I wanted to end up after I graduated.  Doing so really benefited me because I was able to make connections with people in the industry I was interested in breaking into, which resulted in my ultimately getting the job I have today. While you’re at Wake, take advantage of the resources offered to you, and really focus on expanding your network.

I think that Wake does a fantastic job of giving students the opportunity to really create experiences that can make them stand out in the job search.  However, what makes certain university students stand out as more desirable candidates is the ability to shape their experiences into an appealing story that demonstrates their worth for a company.  All that to say, focusing on shaping those stories in your resume, and really honing in on how to convey what makes you different by taking advantage of the OPCD’s mock interview process is key.  You can even reach out to a mentor, or someone you’ve worked really closely with in the past and ask him/her to ask you interview questions and give you feedback.

What advice do you have for seniors who are still seeking employment in April?

Looking for job opportunities in April seems right to me.  Most students looking to go into the media/publishing/advertising/public relations industries will need to continue looking well into April, and maybe even later.  The best thing that seniors can do is to put themselves out there and reach out to as many alumni as they can, to talk to them about their experiences, their industries, and their professions.

What I’ve come to learn from being on the other side of the process is that the student really dictates the conversation. That being said, whenever you schedule an informational interview with Wake alumni, I would encourage you to sit down before the conversation and come up with three objectives that you would like to get out of that particular meeting.  Another piece of advice I have about networking is to always follow up.  If you and the said alum agreed to any action items to be taken after the call, include those in your follow up. Not only does it give you a great reason to follow up, it reminds that alum that s/he has agreed to help you with something.

When do most companies hire for positions?

In my experience, generally most companies hire for positions on an as-needed basis.   When you get a job really depends on timing.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t the right candidate, or that you’re awful and will never get a job.  It’s really easy to question yourself when you aren’t getting any phone calls or emails saying “Hey! You’re great! We have the perfect position for you!” but you really shouldn’t let it get to you.

If you have the ability to be picky, to choose the right job for you, do it.  While I know it isn’t always feasible, if you can hold out for a little bit longer until you get an offer you’re excited about instead of taking the first position that comes your way, you’ll be better suited in the long haul.  It’s always best to stay in one position within one company for a while before making another jump, and the best way to accomplish this is to avoid taking your very first offer if you’re hesitant that it isn’t the best fit for you.

You moved to NYC before receiving an offer on a job.  Do you recommend seniors, if they don’t have a job by graduation, move to their preferred city in order to job search?  Why?  What made it easier?

Absolutely. It may be really, really scary and intimidating at the time but moving to your preferred city after graduation (even if you don’t have a job lined up) is the correct thing to do.  It’s easier to set up meetings and network with people in person, it shows that you’re dedicated to the city, and it gives the employer an idea of how committed you actually are to that industry and that particular position.  While moving blindly to a new city isn’t an easy thing to do by any means, there are ways you can make the transition easier.

Give yourself a timeline. Say to yourself, “I’m going to move to NYC and for the first three weeks, all I’ll do is network.  Then I’ll give myself a month to apply to very specific jobs that I’m interested in and think would be a good fit for me.  After that month, if I still don’t have an offer that excites me, I’ll go back to networking and expand my job search to other, related fields that I’m interested in pursuing.”  Throughout that process, you’ll meet a lot of different people and before you know it, the perfect opportunity could end up falling into your lap.

Category: Professional Development

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