THE JOB RUG PULLED OUT AT THE LAST MINUTE
At best, the off-campus search for Yang was annoying and inconvenient. At worst, it was stressful, exhausting, and challenging. Nevertheless, Yang seemed set. He interned for the summer and continued doing part-time work for the company from Ann Arbor during his second year. In January, he was informed he’d have a full-time offer. In February, he learned he’d have to interview for the position. In the spring, his classmates began receiving offers from their internships and Yang figured his was on the way, too. And then it wasn’t.
Suddenly, it was May and Yang was never offered a position. While his fellow classmates were looking towards graduating and beginning work, Yang was about to start another off-campus job search. “How do I deal with doing a job search I didn’t want to even do in the first place?” Yang remembers asking himself.
Hell-bent on the task at hand, Yang graduated, packed and headed west to crash couches in San Francisco while continuing the job quest. And so two weeks after his move, he had broken down on the Caltrain. He hadn’t relented or rested since moving to the Golden State. Then the conversation with a helpful friend put Yang’s situation in perspective.
WHAT WAS FIRST THERAPY BECAME A BOOK
The friend illuminated the microcosm Yang existed in. He had an MBA from a top B-school and was comparing himself to a very small sample size. But that was also the crux of the emotional and mental struggle Yang was facing. This wasn’t supposed to happen to him. “I wasn’t ever worried I wouldn’t get something,” he admits, reflecting on the beginnings of his job search. “The fear was, ‘Oh shit, I’ve got to start on this all over again.’ It wasn’t the practical. It was the mental and emotional road blocks.”
To deal with the hardship of hearing “no” so many times, and with the struggle with a job search he didn’t want to do in the first place, Yang wrote. He wrote about his experiences, his thoughts, his feelings, lessons, whatever. It was therapeutic. After speaking with a few friends and former classmates, Yang decided to organize his thoughts into a book called How I Met My Job: Sharing Tips and Advice From the Off-Campus MBA Job Search.
“It’s something I think a lot of people go through but it’s not something I think a lot of people share,” Yang explains of the struggles of searching for a job. “So it can feel like you’re the only one experiencing it. Part of the goal of the book is to show everyone they’re not going through it alone and that it’s a pretty common thing. You shouldn’t feel like you’re going through it alone.”
KEY TIPS FROM THE EXPERIENCE
The book weaves from practical advice to suggestions on how to stay mentally and emotionally sane throughout the process. Obviously, Yang doesn’t want to reveal all of the secrets in the book (which can be downloaded at a very cheap price on Kindle), but did have some pointers for those aiming to do their job searching off campus. The first important step, Yang says, is to accept the differences in off-campus and on-campus job hunting.
“You’re on a different timeframe than on-campus,” Yang says. “So when you don’t get the offer at the same time, it doesn’t mean you have done a bad job or failed.”
Next, Yang says, is to take ample self-reflection time. “You have to have a focus and figure out what you really want to do,” he explains. “Taking the time and thinking about what you really want to do is important because once you figure it out, it will allow you to be a lot more focused in what jobs you want.”
And the focus helps when competing for highly sought-after jobs. As Yang notes, when searching off-campus, you’re competing with more than just fellow MBAs. “You’re competing against such a bigger pool and such a talented pool,” he says. “Your ability to talk specifically about a company goes a long way.”
Of course, an aggressive approach is key. “It’s also being relentless and aggressive,” Yang believes. “No one is just going to give it to you. It’s not going to fall in your lap. You have to be actively pursuing it.”
ROSS ALUMNI NETWORK PARAMOUNT IN SEARCH
After nearly two months of the emotional and mental roller-coaster that is job searching, Yang landed the Bay Area tech position he was set on. At the end of August, he accepted a position at grocery app Instacart, in catalog operations. His book on the off-campus job search has sold 41 copies since Sept. 15.
When asked if he felt career services at Ross could have done better with on-campus recruiting, Yang seems shocked by the question.
“It was always the Ross classmates or the Ross alums that helped me out in the hardest instances,” he says. “It was a learning process that the Ross community was there for me.”