Ultimate Job Seeking Part One: Finding the Job
The process of job seeking is too often stressful, frequently discouraging and annoyingly frustrating. What begins as an optimistic endeavour into the workforce quickly descends into a depressing stream of non-responses, rejections and failed application attempts.
I've been there. I've been near tears or wanting to slam my fists down in fury at the injustice of such futile persistence and profusion in my job hunt. I've been ambitious and humble and determined and it has still gotten me absolutely nowhere. But throughout this infuriating job seeking process I've certainly learned a thing or two and a couple of years ago the barriers to my success as a job seeker started to break down. Gradually, the rejections became interviews and the interviews turned into job offers. From desperation to having actual choices, this advice is simple but powerful. Here's what I have learned:
1) Know where to look The best job seekers know their industry, they know where the jobs they want are advertised or where opportunities might arise relevant to them. Think graduate/intern schemes, local and national initiatives, the sector you want to work in, your university career service etc. As someone with a career in the third sector, I know exactly what my main employment websites are and I have several key organisations whose websites I check regularly for opportunities. My 'know where to look' checklist is ever expanding and once you have this knowledge you have more options and therefore a greater chance of securing a job you love.
2) Keep an open mind A closed mind is like a closed door. Opportunities might come a'knocking but you'll be too afraid to open it up and give it a chance without the right mindset. I've taken risks with jobs that may not have been what I was looking for but which have altered my career prospects for the better. Why not try applying for something different or unheard of before? If something piques your interest and you are interested in giving it a bash then take the plunge and send through your application. You might not be shortlisted. It might not be for you. But why not give it a try? Particularly with Arts or Humanities based degrees, an open mind is essential in seizing opportunities and moving forward in your career.
3) Apply for jobs you actually want That being said, keeping an open mind is as important as always applying for jobs you want. This desire usually manifests into stronger applications, a positive determination and also helps create professional networks with the right people. Mistakenly, I have applied for jobs I have had zero interest in and this has resulted in me doing outrageous things like walking out of group interviews and withdrawing my application on the spot. This was not very professional but it was always the right decision and so I no longer apply for jobs I instinctively know are not right for me. Don't waste your time or anyone else's - apply for those jobs that keep you up at night with the prospect of a shiny new life path! It should be exciting, not stomach churning.
4) Accept rejection Make friends with not hearing back following your glittering application submissions. Know that not hearing back - as discouraging as it is - is normal and nothing personal. You don't have to expect rejection but you will have to accept it. Detaching yourself from what can often seem like endless rejection is a masterful skill and one which will serve you in maintaining a positive job search. Saying that, I was not shortlisted for an interview for my graduate job. I didn't accept this, ignored the employment agency and contacted the employer directly. I passionately pursued that job. They gave me an interview and I accepted their job offer that day. This risk might have paid off but I was willing to accept an even deeper rejection directly by my desired employer. Believe in yourself even when it seems no one else does. Let the rejection fuel - not discourage - your own success and keep going even when it seems pointless.
To summarise: knowledge, mindset, attitude, CONFIDENCE. You need them all in their full strength to successfully secure a job you love. Job seeking should be an emboldening experience so take risks and pursue them with shimmering determination!
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