How Getting Waitlisted for College Prepared You For Post-Graduation Interview Season|
If you’re like 99% of the universe and haven’t lined up an official-official job offer by this point in your senior year of college, here’s a point of strategy that’s going to end up being absolutely crucial in your arsenal of interview tactics: consider yourself waitlisted.
Remember getting waitlisted? It happened at the schools you knew were the most prestigious, had the most applicants, or were on someone’s “top tier” list.
But take it from a career failure-ist: if you aren’t locked into your 10-year plan, getting waitlisted was one of the best things that’s ever happened to you. You know exactly what you’re going to be feeling, over and over, for the next six months or so (that’s just an average. Don’t worry).
Life is full of waitlists
So, what exactly will you be feeling? My best approximation of a normal, human emotion that comes with the very bizarre and unnatural-feeling process that is “interview season” is “unrest.” That’s not really an emotion. So, “anger.”
The likelihood is that you’ll be submitting applications to many companies. Or, as my story goes, many many many companies. And since I applied to a statistically representative sample size of firms, I’ll also tell you this definitively: the offer you’re dreaming of is almost certainly not at the company you dream of. Unless you’re extremely knowledgeable about both the industry you’re interested in and yourself, you’ve got to be willing to be surprised.
I got a job at McKinsey after graduation-but I had 100 interviews with 100 different firms first, and applied for the McKinsey position after finding a company-blind application for a position that sounded interesting. There was an unbelievable amount of luck involved, but there was an unbelievable amount of work. That work was paired with that “unresty” feeling we just discussed. But surprises still happen– so keep your eyes open. I had no inkling I’d end up at McKinsey when I sent in that cover letter. Be open to surprise.
Hurry up and wait
The bigger lesson you’ll have learned from being waitlisted during your college application rounds is this: once you’ve sent in all of your application materials, done your in-person interview, and sent the appropriate thank-yous, leave your excitement about the prospect behind. Forget about it. When it comes time to make decisions-should I accept this offer? Should I go with my #2 choice of school? Be reasonable and think of your full portfolio of ventures.
Every little sailboat you’ve sent out into the massive ocean of potential jobs, you must track. But don’t obsess. Don’t stress over what you can’t change. Just let it go.
If all of that fails, just remember: the future will be here soon: