Applying for a job, fresh out of college - Marija’s job application journey 

How do you find a job, fresh out of college, in the COVID-19 pandemic world? The world has been affected by the pandemic, demanding from people and businesses to change and adjust to the ‘new normal’. And one simply cannot but wonder about recent graduating students – here they are, ready to take on the world, only to realize that the world had changed too with lockdowns and economic downturns that negatively influence businesses’ propensity to employ.


So, what do you do? Do you see the current situation as a threat or an opportunity?

This is a story about Marija. Marija Donkov has just graduated from RIT Croatia – literally several months ago, and she has already had three job offers, out of which she picked what she considers to be her dream job.

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"The job hunt began two months before receiving my diploma”, says Marija. "Since I earned my Bachelor's degree in Business Admin and already had experience in Finance and CX, some of the fields I was interested in included HR, Employer Branding, Project Management, Account Management, and Communications. Throughout my studies, I had a chance to learn about all career paths I can take upon graduation (and I encourage everyone to do the same). Therefore, I made sure to gather as much professional experience as possible through my mandatory coops that later turned out to be crucial for many opportunities that waited for me.”

Knowing which professions and careers she can prepare for, and gaining working experience through RIT Croatia’s cooperative education program helped Marija understand what her job can look like, but it also helped her set very clear goals in what kind of job she was after.

"Most of the companies I targeted were small-to-medium in size, had their offices in Zagreb, and were mainly in the IT industry. Company culture, values, and ability to grow within the company were all key factors when deciding where to strike.”

Duration from the first application to the last job offer: 120 days

In order to keep track of all the job applications she has made, Marija put all the relevant data in a spreadsheet. After a month, she came to an idea to analyze the data.

"I started to notice patterns, possibilities for extracting a few fun facts, and an overall potential to express the most of it in simple numbers and percentages”, says Marija. "Since I put a lot of effort into researching, applying, interviewing, and solving tasks, this journey became very personal and at first, I hesitated about sharing the results. However, looking for a job and that perfect fit can be frustrating and stressful before it turns wonderful, so I wanted to motivate and inform everyone in the same boat.”

Two out of three job offers came after sending an open application that had no specific position advertised

•      Duration from the first application to the last job offer: 120 days.

•      Total number of applications: 65

•      Out of 65 applications, Marija received any feedback 43 times (66.15%)

•      No feedback at all: 22 (33.8%)

•      Entered the first round of interviews: 16 (24.62%)

•      Entered the second round of interviews: 8 (12.31%)

•      Tasks solved after CV screening: 11

•      …and tasks sent along with my CV: 4

•      Psychological testing: 4

•      In-person interviews: 4 (25% of all interviews)

•      The longest selection process: 105 days

•      The shortest selection process: 13 days

•      The fastest feedback after applying: 1:40h

•      Job offers: 3

•      Jobs offers accepted: 1

So 120 days after she started applying for her dream job, and Marija was able to choose between 3 job offers. This by itself is more than a remarkable result for a young talent, fresh out of college, making her way in a pandemic affected world. We were curious to find more about the dream job and why she picked that very offer.


"I’m super excited to join the team in Q, one of the top 20 world's best agencies, as a Resourcing Coordinator Assistant", Marija shares with us. „This company blew me away when I first found out about them because it was all I ever wanted from my employer: excellent culture, exceptional IT projects for international clients, and multiple benefits that ensure a work-life balance such as flexible working hours, remote work, educational budget, and a sports card with subsidized gym memberships. They also received The Best Employer of 2020 award according to internal surveys conducted through a platform for measuring employee engagement, which has a special significance when awarded in a pandemic year."


Marija's advice: be patient and take every single opportunity that you get


"Two out of three job offers came after sending an open application that had no specific position advertised", says Marija. "So, my advice for everyone searching for their first job at the moment would be to BE PATIENT and take every single opportunity that you get. This means that proactivity very often leads to great opportunities, productive networking, and hopefully, a job that you dream of."




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