Job searching

The dreaded job hunt: you’ve graduated and now you have to become a productive member of the adult world. It’s an exciting time, but also an anxiety-inducing one, and may lead to more than a couple meltdowns where you question whether or not you’re good enough to ever get a job (or maybe that’s just me).

But there are ways to get your confidence back up and stay motivated to find the job your education and experience prepared you for.

First of all, remind yourself that you are more than qualified and worthy of a job.

Just keep repeating this mantra: I am the best person for this job – for every job you apply to. From what I’ve found, it’s all about timing – being the perfect fit at the perfect time. The truth of the matter is, there is always someone out in the world who is more qualified or skilled. But, that person may not have applied to this job. It’s very possible that you are the best person for this job. And, if not, you can certainly pretend otherwise.

Second, prove that you are the best person for the job.

There are a number of things you need to stay on top of to achieve this.

  1. Let them know who you are and make them remember your name. People tend to go with things they recognize – that’s one of the secrets behind a good branding campaign. The same applies to applying for job. Put your name on everything – your resume, your cover letters, additional portfolio pages, start and sign your emails with your full name – any and all correspondence needs to have your name on it. Consider making a unique letterhead for your resume and adapting it for your cover letter. Brand yourself and ensure that they know who you are.
  2. Check in periodically and be active. Unless they specifically tell you not to call or email them to check in, give them a call or email your contact throughout the process. This will let them know that you are interested in the position and are eager to move the process forward. Don’t contact them the next day, by any means, but if it’s been a week or two and you haven’t heard anything from them, it may be time to start dialing. Know, too, that sometimes offices are running behind and, unless there’s an urgent need, hiring someone is low on the priority list; calling them might rearrange that list a little bit. Don’t think you’re being annoying – communication is key in the adult world and it may even move you forward faster.
  3. Make sure they know how excited you are about this opportunity. Every time you call or write them, be sure to reiterate this. Common sense says that they’re going to choose someone who wants the job and will do it well over someone who will hate what they’re doing and half-ass it. By telling them that you fall into the former category, you’re upping your chances of being the winning candidate.
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Ask for the job.

I’m not talking about straight up asking, “Hey, so, can I have the job and start tomorrow?” But, there are subtle things you can say and do that may help you. In your cover letter, say that you look forward to hearing from them to continue the conversation. Word-for-word, say that. While this sounds like a generic line – and, honestly, it is – it’s just another little seed you can plant (I know that sounds manipulative, but sometimes, when it comes down to it, it’s the little things that can put you ahead). Always be pushing for the next step. Be sure, too, whenever you sign your name, that you put your contact information (phone number, email address) right underneath. Don’t make them work to find your contact information; make it as easy as possible.

But also don’t push your luck – if you’re getting a bad read and start feeling that you are not who they’re looking for, it may be time to back off.

Cross your t’s and dot your i’s.

Make sure you’re covering all you bases and checking everything off the list. Reread the job description a few times to double check that you’re sending everything they’ve asked for. For every official conversation you have (such as a phone interviews, in-person interviews, etc.), send a thank you note. Everything in writing that they receive should be proofread and edited. For every email they send you, send one back thanking them for their time and help. Again, it’s the little things that go the farthest.

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Be confident, but not cocky.

There’s a fine line between acting like you’re the best person for the job and acting like you already have the job. If you go in to the in-person interview with an air of “They’ve basically promised me the position, so this interview is just a formality,” it’s going to be a major turn off to those looking to hire you. But if you go in, confident in your experience and abilities, and show to them how comfortable you are in situations like these and your willingness to succeed in the job, they’re going to see that as an asset and see you as someone they would enjoy working with.

Lastly, if you don’t get the job, don’t let it get to you.

Jobs will come and go. Some will be ones that you applied to just to apply to and weren’t expecting anything to come of them, but others you’ll be excited about. Those are the ones that’ll feel the most disappointing to be rejected from. And it sucks, it really sucks. So give yourself a little bit of time to wallow, but not too much time because you need to get back to work. Instead of letting the feelings of rejection and loss go to your head, use them to motivate yourself to apply to even more jobs. My mother-in-law always says, “Trust in your journey.” Yeah, that one job didn’t work out, but maybe the next one will. Or the one after that. Who knows? Maybe if you had gotten that job, you’d find out it was a terrible place to work and you would’ve ended up back at square one anyway.

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It is so important to be fearless in your job search. It’s scary – this is real life – but it doesn’t have to be debilitatingly horrifying. Just keep at it, tell yourself that you are worthy of being hired, and keep cracking away at those job applications. It’ll work out, I promise. And, if nothing else, I’m pulling for you.