Finding a job in New York city was stressful to say the least, and tear jerking to say the most. I thought it would be impossible for a single person in this massive jungle of concrete and garbage, to find a job. My fiancé’s roommates would tell me that “it’s not hard! there are jobs everywhere” but after my 3rd day of looking, I felt defeated.
Here’s the thing. I thought that in a city like New York, they were probably super advanced in terms of online applications. I figured they turned their noses up at the thought of a physical resume and a paper application. I solely applied on Indeed.com, for 3 days. There were online applications for major chains as well, which would end saying “you’ll hear back within three weeks”. I DIDN’T HAVE THREE WEEKS, I BARELY HAD TWO! I was toying with the idea of just packing my bags and heading back to Florida with nothing but my dead dreams in my carry-on and unending self pity slung over my shoulder. Crippling cynicism can make it through security, right?
One night I’m out with a friend from high school and her roommate. We were drinking and bar hopping and I felt like the new kid in school. Everyone was being introduced to the new girl from Florida, and it was kind of nice. I struck up a nice conversation with one of her friends over $2 bud drafts inside an orange bar famous for its drink prices and the accessibility of scoring coke in the bathroom. Don’t worry mom, I barely made it past the foyer. And he told me that Craigslist was the way to go in terms of finding a job. Now, I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always associated Craigslist with serial killers and bug ridden couches. But genuine employment? Really? My friend also told me that New Yorkers are very “Old School” and going into places in person with a resume will make you much more likely to stand out. So I decided to give both a shot.
The next day I marched myself to a family-run pharmacy around the corner from Elijah’s (my fiancé) apartment. You’re able to use their computer and print things off for $0.50 a page. I spent $5 and printed off my pages of employment history and glowing self-praise, and put them in a neat little green folder. That night I investigated Craigslist for my next position. I was surprised how much was on there! I just started applying. I got a call hours later from a magazine hosting a major event in the city and needed people to help run it. I accepted. The next day I walked into various retail stores, folder in hand, asking if they were hiring. The answer was either yes or no, but always “you can apply online”. Hmm.
With my head hung low at the train station I decided to go on Craigslist once more and change my approach. In the emails addressed to the employers I just wrote crazy stuff in the subject line. Like I would write their post title, and something like “I’m your girl!” next to it. I figured I had nothing to lose at this point. After I got off the train, I was going through the bodega sulkily browsing plant milks when my phone started ringing. It was an interview for the next day. From the craiglist Ad I replied to just an hour earlier.
The interview went amazing, and I’m about to leave for my first day. But I guess what I learned from this is, in a place like New York, the jobs may be plentiful. But there’s only one of you. You need a way to stand out from the rest of the applications going in. Whether that’s going into a store you applied to online and introducing yourself, or writing something whacky in the subject line like “why you should hire a catch like me”. Confidence will take you that extra mile, even bordering on cocky to make sure it translates. Hold your head up high, smile, and act like you own the place. Even if you panicked a little before going in for your interview.