Job hunts can be hard, depressing and soul-ripping. Believe me, I know. When I first began job hunting, I was insanely optimistic. I created a wish list of the 20 organizations I wanted to work for and did everything I could to reach out to them. I uploaded my resume on their database, hunted down people I knew from the organization and added unknown HR folks working for those organizations. I wasn’t afraid of being viewed as a stalker. All I needed was to get my foot through the door.
I had prepared myself for a response rate of 10% from all the invites and LinkedIn messages that I’d sent. Less than 5% ever got back, but it was still 5% more than if I’d never tried my ‘foolhardy’ strategy. Out of the 5%, 0.1% yielded any leads. It got to a point where I wondered if I should expand the list from 20 to 50. So in the summer of 2014, as I interviewed with 2 organizations from the list of 20, I expanded the list to 35.
When one of those 2 organizations rejected me in favor of another candidate, I shed a few tears and expanded the list to 50. With every passing day, I would give up just a little bit more. The story has a happy ending for I did get a job with the 2nd organization in the list of my top 20, but I learnt a few things in the bargain.
- Job hunts are soul-crushing. Accept it. Give yourself a minimum of 8 months before you begin to panic.
- Always look out for a job before you hit the point of desperation. When you desperately want to move out of your previous organization, it shows! And you may end up taking a less than ideal offer.
- Referrals are the single best way to get your resume seen.
- Don’t be afraid to pull whatever strings you may need to.
- Be shameless. Ask for help.
And most importantly!
- Be kind. When you get a message on LinkedIn asking for help, help. Understand that someday you might be in that very same position.
The very best way however is to make your name your resume. Work hard to get known in the industry that you work in. Have the foresight to contribute to your field in ways beyond your day job. Network. Not everyone is successful at this but at least you’d have tried.
I still shudder at the thought of embarking on a job quest. Next to a heartbreak, it’s probably one of the toughest things life has to offer. Would you agree?