Mad to think it’s been over a month since I wrote something on my blog. Actually that’s a teeny lie. It’s closer to two, I believe. Time flies when you’re ferociously job hunting and trying to figure out your life. However, last month, I actually had an epiphany. I realised that no matter how amazing my CV looked or fabulous I am in real life, the job hunt was getting the better of my sanity. In effect, I have been searching for that elusive role since January 2016 but with more gusto since August. Breakups and moving back in with your folks will do that to you. Thank god for them, though.
I am not exactly sure how I want to write this piece. I don’t want it to sound like I’m bitter or woe is me. I couldn’t find a job. Life is hard. But, I suppose I want to highlight my experience, the difficulties I faced despite having over ten years experience, a relevant Degree and a Masters. And really, I am grateful to be on this journey. I have learned that I can take the power back. I can have control. I don’t necessarily know where this will all lead but there is light … to coin a phrase.
So, some lessons I have learned.
1. Get professional help for your CV.
I had very kind family and friends willing to look over my CV but it wasn’t until I sought out professional advice that my luck started to turn. A career coach helped me focus my experience. He showed me how to break down those tedious job descriptions (often just full of jargon) and how to relate my experience. He redefined the personal statement and taught me how to focus my experience in key bullet points so that it related to each job application. He also introduced me to an excellent cover letter template. Simple and easily modified for each job.
I spent a bit of time with Ronan Kennedy but obviously there are lots more out there.
2. Never trust a Recruiter
This is a sad but true fact. Maybe I was completely naive to have ever thought they might have some scruples. I remember being surprised when my sister asked was a Recruiter I was in contact with still answering my calls or had she done a disappearing act yet. This is such a lovely woman, so nice and friendly, I had thought to myself. She would never do that. Oh how wrong I was. The bizarre thing is it is so completely unprofessional of them. Whether their client isn’t interested in meeting you or you haven’t gotten past the first round of interviews, it doesn’t take much to send an email and let you know. I’m still shocked I haven’t heard back from Recruiters that set up interviews for me.
3. This is a tough world
People don’t give a shit if you’re the nicest gal or guy in town. If it doesn’t mean anything to them they won’t bother replying to you. It surprised me how many people I contacted directly, following several professional people’s advice, when applying for a job and heard nothing in response. Nada. Zilch. Not a freaking iota of a thanks for this, we’ll get back to you. That said, when someone did connect with me (rarely) and/or send a rejection, (I got a few out of the hundreds of jobs I applied for) I was delighted. And I honestly was touched they had taken the time. Even if it was automated. Pretty sad when you think about it. I was delighted to receive a rejection. This is how bad things had become.
4. Don’t assume anything
My biggest assumption was that once I had been professional enough to attend an interview, do my research, dress smartly, arrive on time and try my best, someone would let me know whether I had made it to the next stage or not. Oh how naive. That would take all of five seconds to write an email. Or make a call. This was the hardest part to digest. How such professionalism can produce such disrespect. And really it was a serious knock to the confidence. That when you finally got an interview they couldn’t even be bothered to let you know how you got on. Obviously silence speaks volumes. What’s worse, in many cases I followed up with the Recruiter but heard nothing in response. It beggars belief.
5. Be ruthless and believe in yourself.
Look out for number one. Don’t worry about pestering the Recruiter, they won’t get back to you if they don’t want to anyway. Do your research, know your shit and hit those jobs applications, again and again and again. The right job will find its way to you, if its meant to be. But be open to new opportunities that you might not have considered before.
Some say it is a numbers game. Maybe my number just ran out. That’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s great. The whole job hunt and the time spent with Ronan, made me realise what it is I really want to do. It helped narrow down my options, which obviously isn’t always a good thing. But I realised that my way forward wasn’t through getting a job, but carving my own path. Setting up my own business. Making my own opportunities.
I took back the control. I didn’t need hundreds of rejections or one simple acceptance to validate me. I am my own person. I have lots of valuable experience and I know how to use it. And what’s more my ephipany gave me the chance to take a break, get some space and spend some time with family in South East Asia. Win-Win.
It’s scary to think of what’s in store, how will I earn a living or move forward, but it’s rewarding to know that I’m in charge of my destiny. I hold the power and can make my own decisions.
Best of luck on your journey! And remember you’re worth more than what’s on that piece of paper.