Jessica Miller-Merrell | , , , , ,| By
I don’t remember who said it, but someone once told me that looking for a job is pretty much a full-time job in itself. Boy were they right.
Since becoming unemployed in October of 2009, I have managed to rack up hours upon hours of searching for the next job. I’ve managed to pick up the odd part-time job here or there, but for the most part, I spend at least 40 hours a week searching for jobs, crafting up cover letters, formatting my resume, and optimistically waiting for that phone call or email asking to schedule an interview.
When I graduated college, I was unemployed for 3 months. I landed a job I thought I loved, spent 4 years there, and then decided in October it wasn’t for me. So I quit my job willingly, moved home, and started looking for a new career. In no way do I regret the decision that has left me living on what little income I can earn because it has allowed me to explore all the other possibilities that I had missed out on when I choose to go the route I had gone after college.
Since October I have had numerous plans of attack for the process. I believe that the job search process is different for everyone. Some tactics work for others very well, while for not as much for others. I took advice from friends and previous colleagues as to where I should look for a job. I was told to check out countless online job search sites, go to networking events, and check out LinkedIn. And I’ve done all of that. Do I have a job yet? No. Have I received any acknowledgment that I submitted my information to any companies? Sometimes. It took me 9 solid months of submitting resumes, networking, and internships for me to finally get anywhere. I am happy to report that the month of September is a good one for me. I have had 2 interviews, have 2 more scheduled, and have 1 2nd interview.
So, how did I get to where I am today?
Network. Network. Network.
I firmly believe that the reason I have had the recent luck that I’ve had is because of two things: the work I’ve put in and the people I know. But I also believe that no one would’ve seen the work I’d done unless it was for the people I know. When you network and meet people, and they see the work you’ve done, they are more likely to vouch for you or submit your resume to hiring managers. No one wants to put in a good word for someone that they don’t know if they could trust to actually do the work.
Be Diligent and Patient.
These two were the HARDEST thing for me to do. You have to keep plugging away and keep submitting resume and cover letters and reaching out to hiring managers to get that interview. You have to be patient because sometimes it just takes awhile for someone to get to your information or to respond to you. I once had a phone interview and even though they said they wanted to bring me in for an in person interview, I still had to wait 3 weeks for them to get around to scheduling it. But they eventually did, and that interview is coming up soon.
Don’t take it personal.
Just because a hiring manager doesn’t email or call you back when you submit an application or after you’ve had an initial interview, doesn’t mean they hate you. Sometimes, it’s not even you. There are times when you could have an AWESOME resume and have tons of experience and be perfectly qualified for the job, but someone else has more experience. It doesn’t mean they’d think you’d do badly at the job, they just think someone else would do better. This plays back into being patient and diligent. If your interview didn’t warrant the hopeful outcome, just keep at it.
Pay it Forward.
Not only was this a great movie with a great message, I think it’s an important idea when it comes to the job search. Whenever someone asked for a favor, I always tried to help, and in return they would try to help. If someone I know was looking to fill a position that I wasn’t qualified for or just didn’t want to pursue, I would get the word out about the opening to help them find a person. That way, if someone came across their desk that fit my ideal job, they would hopefully let me know. Maybe I see the good in people that others don’t, but I believe that my job karma is about to turn my way partly due to this concept.
If all else fails, get an internship. Internships are a great way to get first hand experience in the field you choose AND make connections. I was fortunate to have three fantastic internships this past summer and I am convinced that I would not be getting this much attention from my resume if I hadn’t had them on it.
Like I said before, everyone’s job searching experiences are different. Some people are just really luck and can find a job right off an Internet job board, and others just know the right people. Either way you look at it, you have to put yourself out there in order to get noticed. I am very hopeful that one of these 4 interviews will pan out for me. If not, I will keep on chugging away, and I know it will pay off eventually. To those of you who are still searching, good luck! You will get there someday.
Our guest blogger, Liz Glomb is a resident of Washington, DC. She left her job as a full time collegiate rowing coach to pursue a career in Public Relations, marketing, and social media. Her latest internships have given her experience in event planning, online social community management, social media, and website design. When she isn’t in front of her computer writing her latest revision of her resume or a new cover letter, you can find her coaching local high school kids in rowing on the Potomac or toting around her DSLR taking pictures of just about anything. You can also find her connecting with her local community on twitter. You can follow her at @eglomb.