… continued from last time.
6. Don’t take it personally. This is a tough one. It’s HARD not to take being turned down as a personal rejection. It’s HARD to watch another great job pass you by. But, just because you thought you were a great fit, doesn’t mean that their wasn’t someone who wasn’t better. This doesn’t mean you weren’t good enough, only that someone looked to be an even better fit. Should the company have communicated better and more often? Yep. Should the person you spoke to about the job not been such a jerk? Absolutely. They didn’t and that’s a reflection of them, not you. Right now, your priority is to find a job and taking time and effort to be mad at the jerks of the world is a luxury left for another time. Plus, sometimes the jobs we don’t get are the best things that happen to us.
7. Understand it’s a long process and never stop moving. Getting hired can take a month or more even if a company is very interested in you. Hiring takes time and the company’s timeframe is most definitely not yours. Your efforts can take months to pan out. And things can fall apart at the last minute because of factors far beyond your control. The lesson here is to keep applying, keep looking even when it seems that nothing is happening and even when it seems that you are a sure thing. Ever forward.
8. Talk to people. If your field has a professional organization, talk to the leaders. Take them to lunch and ask for their thoughts on what companies you might want to target, what regions are doing better than others, etc. Ask them who else you might want to talk to. You’re not asking them for work, you’re asking them for advice and most people enjoy giving advice and helping others out. Let people know you’re looking. One of my best leads once came from the husband of someone my wife worked with. I met with him and asked for his advice. He put in a good word for me with someone in his organization and it went from there. Another leader invited me to attend a regional conference and was kind enough to give me a passes to attend. I had never met any of these folks before contacting them and introducing myself. This experience taught me that people like to help. If you’re only applying over the internet and aren’t talking to people, you’re missing out on a great job hunting resource.
9. It’s a full time job finding a full time job. If getting a job is your #1 priority then you should be spending 40+ hours a week actively looking. Keep a log and record your time.
10. Keep records. Keep a log of who you’ve applied to, when, who you spoke with, outcomes, when you followed up, next steps, etc. This helps prevent opportunities from falling through the cracks, lets you know who you applied to (after a while, job postings all start to sound the same), and it helps keep you honest. I suspect it’s human nature to think we’ve done more than we have (that’s why diet and exercise logs are so useful) and accurate records help keep us honest. Records also let us analyze which approaches seem to be working best and which aren’t so that we can adjust accordingly.
11. Keep the faith. This is the most difficult thing on this list. It is so easy to get beaten down and feel like you’ll never make any progress. But defeat and bitterness shows through. It affects every interaction and become a self-fulfilling prophecy and a nasty downward cycle. No matter how low you feel, it’s imperative to keep the optimism and enthusiasm during interviews, when writing cover letters, and in every email and phone call. This is really stinking HARD! And it must be done.
There will always be some level of unemployment even in a thriving economy. Your strategy should be to set yourself apart. Clearly, I recommend a systematic, flexible approach base on the idea that finding a job is the absolute #1 priority. That’s what worked for me and what I’ve seen work for others. That said, it’s not easy. It’s never easy. But I hope it gets easier for you. Best of luck!