Diary Post: Preparing for the job market

In creating my survey, I ended up targeting a very specific group of people: those who have recently been faced with finding a job after graduating from college. This was something I was interested in after graduating myself and seeing the struggle of my friends who did not choose to continue their educations. As I attended a university that is known for specializing in a fairly obscure field (music business), I was also interested in learning about the experiences of people who went to other schools. Additionally, I decided to focus on recent graduates who have been most directly affected by the economic downturn, though satisfaction with colleges’ career services departments was my primary concern. In an environment where everyone is brought up to succeed but then knows they will likely fail, there are certain things to consider.

I made my survey on Google Docs for ease of organization. My questions focused on the responder’s relationship with his or her undergraduate institution and how prepared for the job market he or she felt. Unfortunately, there was one typo that I didn’t catch before initially sharing the survey, and I think I should have made sharing an email address optional for potential follow-up opportunities. Playing off of in-person interview techniques, I made sure to allow for an “Anything else?” box at the end, particularly because I thought people would have frustrations to vent.

Of course, I started with sharing the link to Facebook. I only have a personal page right now, as I do not think my current level of popularity as a journalist necessitates a professional fan page. Additionally, my intended field, music and entertainment journalism, is not as strict about potential biases as hard news is.

I tweeted about the poll twice. The first one was retweeted by four people, the second by one. In the former case, it was retweeted by users that I have not personally interacted with–fortunately, a friend encouraged her friends to take the survey, and they shared it with their followers. At the point of this writing, I have 350 followers, though this number was somewhat lower when I first started. Due to the fact that I do not block spam accounts in order to look more popular, I am not sure what percentage of these followers are actual humans.

I did utilize one particularly unconventional method to spread around the survey. I have been a longtime member of a popular celebrity news and gossip aggregate blog that does a free for all comments post every Friday in order to foster a sense of community with its users. One Friday, I shared the link to the survey on the week’s free for all post, asking other users to participate. I figured that this would get me good results, as an online community frequented by people in their early 20s. As anticipated, this was a success and significantly more responses were submitted after posting the link on this site.

So far, I have received 40 responses to my poll. I may try to share the link around some more, but I think I have acquired enough data at this point to draw some conclusions.