Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Recent Graduate Having Trouble Landing a Job

DEAR HARRIETTE: I've been rejected from every job that I’ve applied for since graduating from college last month. I receive generic emails that say the companies have moved on to look at other candidates for the positions. I am eager to start working because all my friends have jobs.

I know that it hasn’t been that long, but I just want to start already. I’ve looked on different job websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, etc. For some reason, nothing is working. I’ve had internship experiences and did well in school, but can’t seem to find anything. It’s embarrassing when people ask me what I've been up to and I have to say I'm looking for work. Am I ever going to get a job? -- Desperate to Work, Dallas

DEAR DESPERATE TO WORK: Take a deep breath and be still. Your attitude is essential to your success, and you cannot be desperate. That energy repels people. You want to make yourself attractive to a potential employer.

As you are continuing your search, look for a place to volunteer. Think of your interests and abilities, then identify a small business or other entity that does something you find appealing. Offer to be an intern or a volunteer for a few hours per week. Let the company know that you are looking for a job, so you may need a bit of flexibility with your time, but pitch yourself strongly as someone who wants to help. If you land a volunteer role, treat it as the highest-paid job ever. You never know. It could lead to a paying role.

Also, be patient. It can take many months before you land a job, based on hiring practices of late. Do not get discouraged. Keep looking. Stay positive and put yourself out there. Go to mixers and meetups for your industry. If you are out there, you may meet someone who can help you secure that important first job.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I don’t think marriage is for me. My boyfriend and I have been dating for seven years, and we are completely content with how our relationship has been going. We live together, and we have a healthy, stable relationship. However, I cannot seem to brush off the constant questioning of when we are going to get married by my friends and family. I don’t know how many times I have to tell them that we most likely will not be getting married because we don’t want to.

My parents think it’s the worst thing in the world that I don’t want to get married, but I just don’t see the need. I don’t know what I’m saying wrong -- for some reason, I continue to get asked the question by the same people. Will they ever stop questioning me about marriage? -- No Marriage for Me, Los Angeles

DEAR NO MARRIAGE FOR ME: Check in with your boyfriend to make sure that the two of you are on the same page. What’s most important is that you agree on how you want to live your life together. Talk about marriage and your feelings on the topic. Address whether you think you would ever want to get married, including if and when you have children.

Once you are crystal clear about your shared views, share them with your parents. If you do not intend to get married, draw that line in the sand. Tell your family pointedly that you have made up your mind. Ask them to stop asking you. Ultimately, stop answering the question.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)