How to not panic if you’re jobless in January

Posted on January 27, 2011

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Photo courtesy of philcampbell

January is a tough month, but not because it’s cold and blustery (ok, we’re not talking to you, Stanford) or because winter is seemingly endless. It’s because we spend the month wandering around carrying backpacks and wearing suits, in and out of the same interview/case prep, over and over again. We spend the month in a heightened state of anxiety while watching our classmates go into the interview room with a resume, and come out of it with a job.

What can do to stay calm in the face of the January job blues?

For one, you’ll get a job, so try your best to just chill. Yes, it’s competitive, but this reputable journal, and this one, and this one all say the job market’s picking back up. But if the data’s not enough (it never is), here are some other tips to staying sane:

  1. The job you want isn’t always the job your friend is getting. Listen, we know how it is: even if you’d never heard of management consulting before setting foot in your business school, now it seems like the BEST. JOB. EVER! You solve problems for companies without getting your hands dirty. You rack up airline miles, and fly business class with partners. You are basically a corporate superhero! Except…you’re not. And you wanted to be a hi-tech guru or an asset manager, not a management consultant. Try to remember who you are, what you wanted when you arrived at b-school, and go find that job.
  2. On-campus hiring seems easier, but it’s actually tougher to distinguish yourself. Ever feel a little bit like you’re in the twilight zone sitting in your navy/black suit holding a leather portfolio stuffed with copies of your resume in a throng of other business school students in dark suits holding leather portfolios stuffed with equally impressive resumes? Well, think about it now from the interviewer perspective. How the heck can they tell any of us apart in these high-pressure, monotonous hiring environments? On-campus hiring may seem like a breeze, but remember, differentiating yourself in this context is virtually impossible.
  3. Even if your friends seem content and relaxed with their offers, take heed of what you’ve heard: most MBAs leave their first job out of business school after less than two years. The statistics are all over the place, but even recruiters know that the recent grads they hire see their first job as a sort of stepping stone. Even if you don’t get the dream job or the dream firm straightaway, your future’s still bright…and right on track with everyone else who’s got a gig already.
  4. Many companies – many cool companies – really don’t know their hiring needs as far in advance as January. This is a shout-out to both the wise companies that realize what a harrowing process on-campus recruiting can be, and the ones that wait until they know they’ll need someone to hire. While you may not feel like you have the luxury of time right now because everyone else has a job, think about how unnatural it is in real life that someone would hire you almost a year before you’d start. And then think about how many other companies you would prefer to talk to than the ones engaging MBAs in January.
  5. You’ll get a job. You will. We promise. Everyone does.
Posted in: Career, School Life