As my job hunt continues, a few more ideas have come into perspective about the process. Below are a few tips I think can help my fellow job hunters out there following the application process!
- There is no such thing as a wasted application. Even when you don’t get the job, while you can look at the applications where you got a no as throwaways, they’re actually quite the opposite. Think about it this way: your portfolio is growing, and the more applications you have to review, the more templates you’ve got to build the one. After all, it’s likely that as you get more in touch with the kind of job you want, you’ll increasingly reach out to employers who will probably have the same requirements as the others, with slight variations; in turn, the more material you have to sift through which corresponds to the subtleties of these variations, the more likely you’ll create the application that reaches just the right employer when just the right time comes.
- There is no such thing as a wasted interview, because here’s a shocker: Learning how to rock an interview is just like learning how to ride a bicycle, tossing a frisbee, or dancing your heart out: it takes practice! And as always, the more practice you have, the better. But how can you measure whether you’re getting better or not, you ask? By recording your interviews. Do this by writing about the process, calling a friend or family member immediately after the interview wraps up to chat about it, or even by vocally recording your thoughts as soon as you get the chance. Make a note of what was asked during the interview, how you responded, and how you could have responded even better; just like the application, it’s going to help you track the oh-so-little things which can and will make all the difference next time.
- Always, always, always thank any potential employer who takes the time to speak with you. Saying ‘thanks anyway’ with a smile shows confidence and class, and it also makes you more competitive for potential opportunities at another time. This step might be the easiest to overlook, but it’s a crucial one. Unless you plan on job hunting for about a year before you hit the lottery and move to the Cayman Islands, you’re probably better off keeping a likable record with the employers that could have been so that at least you build rapport from the process. More importantly, it’s about constructive thinking: when you walk away from something, do so with hindsight, and let the experience enrich your perspective.
- Take all of these tips and use them to find yourself, believe in yourself, and narrow down your focus. As you review your applications, interviews, and thanks anyways’, think about what felt right about them and what didn’t. In my own experience, I’ve found that in certain cases where I wasn’t exactly feeling the job was the best fit, my skepticism showed in the applications and later even came off in my tone during interviews. For example: the earliest applications I sent out had quite a bit of fluff in them, and whereas before I didn’t know why potential employers didn’t “buy it”, I can now see that employers can easily spot the fluff. Yup. Two weeks later, that old fluff has been kicked to the curb, and it’s reflected in my latest applications as I’m now more sure of what I do have to offer and what I don’t. Call me overzealous, but I’m confident this can only make me a better applicant as I continue on.
- Cliche as it might be: Never give up! Ever! No matter how many “nos” you get, remember that history is filled with stories of successful individuals who got bouquets of “nos” before they finally got the “yes”. Now it’s your turn to receive, and I say you take those bouquets and thank every single one of the senders for helping you right along the way! Because you’re always on the way. Every single day. Believe it. You’re worth it. You. Freaking. Rock. Now get back out there. And win. It’s what you’re supposed to do.