How to Land a Great Job After College: Elizabeth Vargas’ Story

Everyone’s job search story is different, but we can all gain insights from each other. We love to hear how our readers have found rewarding careers in Portland, and we want to share these stories with you to inspire your job search and to help us all better understand the local job market!

Elizabeth Vargas, a Portland-based PR professional, shares the story of how she landed a great first job after college by using her undergrad resources, seeking out new people, and staying positive.

What do you do for a career? Who do you work for?

I am an account coordinator for Maxwell PR + Engagement.

How long did it take you to find this job?

I started my job hunt about three months before graduation. My interview process with Maxwell took about a month and a half, and I started at Maxwell a week after graduation.

How did you find your job? What resources did you use? What tool or tactic helped the most?

I utilized all the contacts I had gained throughout my undergraduate career – mainly my professors, former and current supervisors and professional contacts. I researched my contacts’ connections and facilitated several networking interviews throughout Portland this way. After meeting with someone from Maxwell, I applied for an account coordinator position and started my interview process.

What was the most difficult part of your job search? How did you overcome this challenge?

The most difficult part of the search was knowing that most of the applications I sent out were never read. As frustrating as that was, I knew that the personal connections I was making through my networking interviews were much more likely to lead to a job opportunity, and focused on creating more connections rather than sending in more applications.

What is the single best piece of advice you would offer other job-seekers?

Networking is far superior to sending in a large number of applications. It is also worth noting that in-person interviews are much more natural and informative than over-the-phone interviews. If you can meet in person, you should.

Why do you love your job?

I love the amount of collaboration at Maxwell and the amount of opportunity. We don’t have set roles the way other agencies do. If there is something you want to try or explore more of, you usually are able to.

Want to hear more? Find Elizabeth on LinkedIn, Twitter, and her personal website