9 Minute Read

How I (Somehow) Navigated the Job Search as a New Grad in a Pandemic

I graduated from college in my childhood bedroom in May of 2020.

It’s okay; you don’t have to say “sorry.” You also might not need to elaborate about how fun your graduation ceremony was and how meaningful it felt to close that chapter with your entire class.

It’s cool; save it for the class of 2019. They can relate.

Graduating from home was the easy part. The not-so-easy part — embarking on my real-life career journey in a world where nothing at all is certain. To my fellow recent grads and upcoming graduates: here are some insights I’ve gathered from my experience of searching for a job amid a global pandemic.

It’s not one size fits all; it’s more like one size fits one, but buckle up and enjoy the ride.

With an influx of applicants paired with a decrease of jobs available, it can be easy to become disheartened in your #jobhunt. @NatalieRBM says, instead, spend time focusing on what you can control. More from @RedBranch: Click To Tweet

OKAY… fine… a lot of it is *luck*.

I would be remiss not to say that a large element of finding your perfect job is the very question of if that job exists.

Even if you are applying for multiple jobs several times a day – the one that will be your perfect fit might not have been posted yet. AND THAT’S OKAY!

The good news is that you’ll learn something valuable from each application experience, giving you tools and tips to apply in your future job hunt.

Now that we have this variable element out of the way, let’s hop into the things you can influence.

Always Be Browsin’

Previous job-seekers haven’t had the advantages that our current generation has through job search engines. Nowadays, you can be scrolling through Indeed, ZipRecruiter, LinkedIn, etc. at any time – which is awesome!

As a job seeker, you should always be scrolling to highlight which jobs you think would be a good match and which you should save for later. The “save for later” element is key here. One part of my daily routine while job searching was to set aside at least an hour a day to apply. This focused hour allowed me to give my full attention to what I was applying for instead of just blindly tapping “Easy Apply.”

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Being intentional about your process will ensure you have a quicker path to your goal. Of course, due to the current climate and the influx of applicants paired with a decrease in jobs available, it can be easy to become disheartened in your job hunt. Don’t spend too much energy worrying over the parts you cannot control — the right job is coming; you just need to be ready for it.

Clean up your side of the street

So you might be wondering, “Natalie, what is actually in our control in this process?”

The short answer — lots. The slightly longer answer — way more than you think.

To make the stars line up with the right job, with the right employer, at the right time, you need to make sure everything in your hands is taken care of. This means refreshing your resume often, reestablishing connections on LinkedIn, and creating out-of-the-box ways to market and promote yourself. Considering the rise of remote roles, make sure you are clear on what you are looking for in terms of work from home or in-office status.

Despite how the pandemic changed the game in many ways, I felt the need to update my resume while I was deep in my job hunt. While my skills and previous work history were well-laid out, the changes I felt were necessary dealt more with the formatting and phrasing I used.

The tiny details are the ones that set the stage for you to get a standing ovation or a resounding “boo, hiss.”

Know yourself, respect your standards

It’s easy to feel lost in the shuffle when you’re looking for the right job. After all, thousands of people are in your exact position. To others, you might just be a name on a resume, but remember that you bring more to the table than what is listed in your “Awards” section.

The whole point of your search is to find a position that aligns with your principles and allows you to shine.

Many recent graduates feel they are underqualified for positions they are more than qualified for or are undeserving of a job just because of their age. Don’t fall into this trap of self-doubt, however alluring it may be.

Many #recentgraduates feel they are underqualified for positions they are more than qualified for or are undeserving of a job just because of their age. @NatalieRBM from @RedBranch warns, don’t fall into this trap of self-doubt! Click To Tweet

Just as you are looking for your perfect employment fit, your perfect employer is seeking you. Don’t settle for a job or employer you can’t see yourself loving if you can help it. Hold yourself to the standards you know you can fulfill. If this means taking a beat and not accepting the first position that comes along, that is perfectly fine and is entirely justifiable.

You know better than anyone what you are capable of accomplishing. Now, it is your responsibility to give yourself space and time to become that full version of yourself and prove you are worth the opportunity.


I was insanely lucky to have found my current position. Every morning I sign on to work, I hear that thought echoed in my head. My story is a rare combination of great things I don’t think come along too often. I love the culture at Red Branch Media, I love the people and how they interact, and I have been having so much fun learning all of our techniques and new skills.

Back in May, I wrote down a dream list of qualities I wanted in a position right after my graduation. I stored it in a journal and promised myself I wouldn’t look back at it until I accomplished my goal of getting an amazing job. I filled it with everything I could possibly think of wanting, not letting myself get bogged down with “realistic” expectations.

If you would believe it, Red Branch Media ticked every single box for me.

To those still searching: you’ve got this.

Believe that.