Headin’ Back Home
Published: Monday, April 18, 2011
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Graduating may seem like a welcome relief, but many find that leaving the college environment and entering the world as a potential job candidate is much tougher than it may seem on the surface. Whether this means moving back home, moving far from home, endless interviews, or networking, the challenges don't end when students leave the classroom.
Sean Kenney, who graduated last year with a degree in accounting, moved back to his home in New York City despite receiving a job offer in Buffalo.
"I loved my time in Buffalo, it was great for school, and I wouldn't change anything about it… but I was kind of done with it and wanted to move back to New York City," Kenney said. "I've had the privilege to live at home, so I don't really have to rush into a job right away. I can live at home and it's affordable.
However, living at home didn't allow Kenney the same freedom he had experienced while living in Buffalo, which was one of the adjustments he had to make. In addition to making that transition, he realized that it's easy to lose some connections if they are not actively kept up.
"I think that's the toughest thing. When you move home, you kind of lose your networking if you don't stay connected with people. It's really important, especially in your senior year, to network as much as possible, because if you get out of the loop it makes it tougher and tougher to get a job," Kenney said.
In an economy that is only beginning to be revitalized, Kenney expected to have some difficulties finding a job but assumed that his accounting degree would make him immune from a number of the struggles.
"It really took me pulling strings and getting myself out there and being aggressive about it, which I really didn't think I'd have to do because I had an accounting degree," Kenney said. "Don't think anything is expected, especially in this economy, even though it's picked up lately."
Despite his challenges, Kenney interviewed at a number of companies and eventually found a job in New York City. His final piece of advice, in addition to the critical networking element, is staying committed to whatever you choose to do.
Jordan Stewart, who graduated last year with a degree in communication, also experienced the usual conflicts upon moving back home after college. In order to compromise with parents, he recommends having an open dialogue with them.
"The transition from living on your own to living with your parents can be tricky. After living on your own in college, you are accustomed to freedom, while your parents are ready to pick up the way things were before you left," Stewart said. "I think the best thing to do in this situation is to sit down and talk to your parents and let them know that things are a little different now that you have grown up a little, and in return, you have to expect to change some of your lifestyle as well. Compromise is the only way to survive without losing your mind."
In addition to maneuvering the challenges of a shared living environment, Stewart mentioned the paramount importance of networking. Although resumes and interviews are important, Stewart has found that finding a job usually comes down to who you know.
"The most important thing to do after college to pursue a career is the same as the most important thing to do while in college to pursue a career – network. When it comes to finding a job or a career opportunity it always, and I mean always, comes down to who you know," Stewart said. "To find opportunities and to get ahead, make sure that you put in a conscious effort into branching out and meeting as many important people that you can. Ask your manager if they know anyone in the company who is willing to sit down and meet with you for a quick five minutes. You never know who you will meet or where those five minutes could lead."