By: Olivia Hodgkiss, 2nd year HPM
While I’ve done a number of incredible things since I moved to Atlanta for graduate school including traveling (to Charlotte, Gatlinburg, Destin, New Orleans, and these were just the road trips), eating at amazing restaurants (King + Duke, Iberian Pig, Sotto Sotto), and doing fun activities (Top Golf, Painted Pin, WhirlyBall), what consumed a lot of my fall semester 2015 was finding a full time job. Ultimately, that’s what all of us want after graduate school, right? Unless of course, you’re pursuing a PhD (good for you, I don’t know how you do it!)
My job search and interview experiences last fall were nothing short of stressful. Throughout the process I thought numerous times: What if no one hires me? What if I can’t get a job? Is this what I want? Will I be able to afford the cost of living? Am I making a fool of myself? Why didn’t they like me? While I consider myself an overall positive person, it’s challenging to remain calm and hopeful when your schedule is back-to-back with numerous rounds of interviews, rejections here and there, and a lot of waiting. Here are a few things I learned along the way:
- Apply to anything you may think you would want to do. I wasn’t sure if a fellowship was the right route for me, similarly, I didn’t know if I wanted the consulting lifestyle. However, I highly encourage you to apply to a wide range of different job opportunities. (In this case, quantity is often better than quality!) Not only did I get all different types of interview experiences, it helped me better figure out what type of job would be best for my career path. From my perspective, what does it hurt to send a few extra resumes to jobs you’re not totally certain about? You can always discontinue the application process if it does not work out for you, but if you never apply, you will never know if it could have been your dream job after all.
- Network, network, network. I truly believe all of the work I put into the job search process that did not have to do with my resume/cover letter helped me land the job offers I received. For the fellowship positions, I reached out to previous or current fellows and asked if they would be available for an informational phone call for me to learn about their experience. Not a single person I asked said no. I also met with people at different companies I was applying to, followed up with people via email if I met them at an event, etc. I have always found that building some sort of relationship with people at the companies you’re interested in always helps a) you to learn more about the day-to-day experiences on the job and b) allows the employees to more confidently vouch for you when they are making hiring decisions.
- Embrace your job and activity experience during grad school as it can often help you get your full-time job! I truly believe my job at Emory Healthcare was a key reason I got my fellowship. This invaluable experience is something pretty unique in Atlanta, as it’s one of the best places in the country to be immersed in public health and healthcare experience. I know classes can be stressful sometimes, but I think sometimes you learn even more through your work, research, or other activities (i.e. I have learned a lot of important Excel skills in my job.)
One last and final thing (while I have many, I’ll try not to ramble too much!) is that I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be personable and exciting about the jobs you’re applying for, and ensure that shows in the interview process. Emotional intelligence is something that cannot really be taught, and those who have it really resonate with employers.
I am so blessed and thankful for my experience at Rollins and the opportunities Rollins has afforded me. Best of luck to you all!
My future home: