Getting That First Job, a Roadmap, Part II

What follows is the second and final installment of a guest post by my son, Matt, who managed to find a first post-college job, after years of effort, in the worst US economy since the 1930s. Read what lessons he learned that can help you. Click here to read part one.

In the meantime I began looking for volunteer opportunities and internships that might relate to my degree. This was the only other option for getting my foot in the door. I was able to find a paid position as a rain garden design consultant, working very limited hours each month for a non-profit organization. Simultaneously, once the weather turned warmer, I was juggling the consulting work with the coffee shop job and the landscape laborer position just to pay monthly rent and bills.

Matt and I on his graduation day.

It was at this point that I realized the need to broaden the scope of the type of work I was looking for and where I was looking for it. I would recommend that recent graduates keep an open mind when trying to land their first job – search for positions in the private, public and non-profit sectors, search for available internships and volunteer positions, and don’t turn down an offer simply because it’s unpaid.

A year and a half after graduating I landed an internship position working in administration for an environmental non-profit organization. Although I worked there for free one day a week in the beginning, I figured it was a step in the right direction. Eventually it led to a paid part-time position, and finally, two years later, a full-time salaried position. Although I never pictured myself working in administration and research after graduation, I am grateful to be employed and am gaining beneficial professional experience to boot. While I’m not working in the landscape design field, I’m still able to promote environmental practices through research and report writing. The lesson learned here is to stick with it – don’t give up on searching for a job in your desired field. If your dream job is unattainable at the current moment, seek for work related to your areas of study and expertise.
Matt Frank

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