Perfectionism & Its Faults // Finding a Job After College

finding a job

If anyone knows me, they know that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I do not like to make mistakes, admit that I am wrong or fail for that matter. Recently I came across a blog post by John Murdock, The Young Professional (yes, I know, very close to the “tiny” professional, too funny) that I was able to connect with on multiple levels. As a recent college graduate, I am feeling the pressure and stress of finding a career in my field of study. I thought I was making the smart decision to finish up my college degree full time online while working full time, so that I could gain some real world and work experience. What I did not think about what the relevance of the field that I was working in to the degree that I was going to school for. I recently completed my Masters of Science in Human Resource Management but for the past two and a half years I have been working in the legal field. Personally, I believe that I have gained an immense amount of background within management, real estate and general law that has been a huge benefit to my human resource degree, but unfortunately employers do not seem to feel the same way.

When I apply for a position, most employers want at least 2-5 years of what they consider “relevant” experience. Although I have completed human resource internships and job shadows and have been exposed to recruiting and interviewing individuals through my current board commitments, it does not seem to be the experience employers are looking for. As Murdock mentions in his post, “many young professionals go through multiple job searches in their first few years out of school”. This is true and being a perfectionist does not help! Having already been exposed to a great job and position, makes it difficult to leave for another job that is not so appealing due to my lack of experience. Murdock brings up another good point, “even if the young professional know what job he or she truly wants, it is almost impossible to start there”. I am starting to find this statement truer and truer. No matter how much motivation and drive a young professional may have, employers still want to see the experience.

The problem? How do you gain that experience without being given a chance to prove yourself as capable of doing the job. It definitely is tough to break into the human resource field, but it is even harder to prove that you are capable of holding down a position when you might have experience in all the areas the job description covers. I look at a young graduate as the perfect candidate for a mid-level position. Why? Because:

  • They are able to adapt to changing environments with ease
  • They are used to doing a lot of research and writing (if there is a specific area of the job they are not so familiar with)
  • They have motivation, drive and enthusiasm
  • Training and development is exciting to them, and
  • They are easy to mold, because they are not stuck in their ways

Is being a perfectionist and trying to find the right job wrong? What are your thoughts on employers and hiring an employee with less experience than another?

Sooner than later,

The Tiny Professional

15 Comment

  1. Michele says:

    No matter what anyone says-the job market just isn’t all that great to begin with. Why don’t you try to get a Human Resource job in a legal firm. It just might work–and then once you have the Human Resource experience you can move on—

  2. kungphoo says:

    I have family members who just graduated and cannot find a job in their fields of study. instead they have to travel into NYC and intern for peanuts, just to try and get in the door.

  3. Heather says:

    You know I will hands down tell everyone person that a college degree is necessary in any career field they get into, but you are right you can’t just land the job you want right out of college even if you have the “education” for it. Most people have to work up to what they really want to do in life and most of the time it means taking a job of lesser value, lesser pay than you want, and proving yourself by working up to where you want to go. I experienced it. Its kind of the norm now. But don’t let that discourage you, with your perfectionism, you will get to where you want to be and the others that don’t want to put in their years for the “experience” they’ll need on their resumes, will fall by the way side. Keep at at, take the job you may not really want but that will lead you to where you want to go and before you know it, you’ll be there.

    1. Felicia says:

      Thank you for those words of support Heather! I definitely want to encourage graduates to keep trying and applying for new jobs every day. Even if, as you mention, they are not exactly the positions you saw yourself having. Looking at the bigger picture, and potentially choosing an employer that can offer you room to grow may be a smart option to consider.

  4. Elisebet F says:

    I think the job market is hard for everyone right now, experienced or not. I agree with Heather. You may have to take another job in the meantime and work towards the one you really want, but it’s not the end of the world, so keep your chin up. You have your whole life in front of you and plenty of time to get to where you want.

  5. Being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, having luck on your side, and of course a degree in your chosen field – these all seem to play in role in landing an entry-level (or any position.) …The things they don’t teach you in school.

    1. Felicia says:

      Dan realize that there is a lot of truth to your response! Networking and knowing the right person definitely can help land you the right job, but I am finding that within the human resources field this is even harder. Most employees, once offered a position within the field, never leave!

  6. Here in India… being fresher is like a curse… freshers dnt get job easily

  7. I could never understand how they required experience, but wouldn’t GIVE YOU the experience. This is impossible. I guess maybe the only way is by doing an internship?

  8. Sheila says:

    i can totally relate to this post. It is discouraging sometimes that even if we graduated college and finish high education, experience still one of the requirements in finding a decent job. Being a perfectionist as your are it probably helps in some way as you have already set a goal for yourself, however you need to be open minded to learn and willing to discover more possibilities to achieve it

  9. Liz Mays says:

    My son is graduating now and I’m so worried for him about this. He has a little job right now but soon he will need to start paying back that student loan and there’s no way he can afford it. It’s all so scary!

  10. Rosey says:

    I think one opportunity always leads to another, so just getting in somewhere worthy of the degree is relevant. Depending on where you live though, the job market can be tough. I wish you well, and I don’t think it’s being a perfectionist to want to get them most out out of what you went to school for, not at all. :)

  11. Ashley M says:

    “If anyone knows me, they know that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I do not like to make mistakes, admit that I am wrong or fail for that matter.” Yeah, umm this is me to a T. It’s like sallowing the worst bile.

    1. Felicia says:

      Ashley, it is hard for me to admit too, but it is the truth. I AM a perfectionist and I have a hard time admitting when I am wrong, but I DO admit when I am wrong because I also cannot stand people who do not own up to their mistakes. If you make a mistake, own up to it, learn from it and move on. What else can you do?

  12. Meredith says:

    I love this post! As a recent graduate who is struggling to find a job, I can relate with so much of what you said in this post. I’ve had quite a few interviews that seemed to go well and even had employers say ‘you are exactly what we are looking for’ or ‘you’re on the top of the list of candidates we have’, yet I still haven’t found a job. I think a lot of employers tend to overlook recent grads as a valuable employee because they don’t see the worth of experience. I’ve had a full time co-op posisiton in the graphic design field, with many great pieces to add to my portfolio, freelance projects, etc. that total about 5 years of experience, yet people tend to want you to have those 5 years in a SPECIFIC section of your field- like how you mentioned that an HR job doesn’t want legal experience. It’s still EXPERIENCE, interacting with people, time management skills, etc.

    Good luck with your search for a full time job in your field! I guess it’s just that time of year where all recent grads are looking for a job so it gets pretty difficult to lock one down.

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