9 Job Hunting Lessons
By Cheryl Yee
I was truly blessed when I was offered a job right after finishing my undergraduate’s degree in 2015. After two years working in the sports industry in Portland, I realized that some of my passions and curiosities lied in the tech industry in Seattle. The logical method when transitioning is to find a job before quitting. That wasn’t the case for me because it was too difficult for me to interview in a different city during work hours. (It’s different for everyone though!) I was job hunting for a month and half and it was one of the most difficult times. Here’s what I would like to share on things I’ve learned…
- Job Hunting is hard and time consuming for EVERYONE
Anyone who is looking for a job will go through this. You’re not alone and there is no exception. It’s hard because you don’t know what to expect and you don’t know when the grueling job hunting process will end. There are people out there who job hunt for over a year! But it’s okay, acknowledge that it’s a struggle but it’s also something that we ALL will eventually get through together. Great things don’t always come easily; you have to work for it. Make it worth your while and admit that it’s hard. Job hunting is a full time job of itself.
- Your “will” is your greatest asset
Don’t underestimate yourself nor allow yourself to give up. Job hunting comes with highs and lows and it’s a numbers game. I applied to over 40 positions or so and only heard back from maybe about 10 (some of the jobs I didn’t hear back from were part-time roles for goodness sake…). I went through 2 very extensive interview processes that included a phone screen, a test, and a 2-hour long panel interview. I got rejected to both. Pretty much, I felt like there was a gray cloud hovering over my head. I didn’t let that stop me from applying to more jobs. After being sulky for one day, I began applying to 10 more positions the next day – NO JOKE. I had a “will” to not give up on myself because sometimes you’re your greatest advocate. Keep going, it’s a probability game.
- Your Friends and Network
While job hunting, I was always thankful that I had friends and business connections that would offer referrals and contacts within their networks. It’s not always a guarantee but it definitely helps. If not an interview, there are also other ways they can assist. I was very fortunate and lucky that my former clients and supervisors were willing to write me positive referrals on LinkedIn and offer themselves as professional references. Believe it or not, it helps a lot because it’s tangible evidence of your character beyond what you say about yourself on your application. Last but definitely NOT the least, when you’re feeling down, vulnerable, or hopeless, talk to your friends and process your feelings. It’s very therapeutic.
- Learn about the Role, Company, and Industry you’re applying to
Don’t just blindly apply to a job just reading the mere basics of a job description. That’s like skimming a book. Generally, most recruiters and companies want someone who comes prepared and is able to grasp what they’re applying into on a deeper level. You don’t have to read dozens of books, but just enough as foundation. Google about 3-4 articles about the industry, read the recent press releases of the company and their “about” page, and for the actual role, utilize LinkedIn and search for professionals who have the same job and read what they do. Sometimes you discover things that are helpful to you too – things like “oh maybe this isn’t really for me after all”.
- Be picky, but not too picky
Choose a company that helps accomplish your career goals, a place that allows you to learn and progress in your field of interest. For example, if I moved to Seattle to work in the tech industry and eventually touch upon digital marketing topics, I shouldn’t be applying to event planning jobs at a 5-star hotel. It has to make sense. Your time is so valuable so it’s important to be strategic on how you’re paving your path. This is when you should be picky. As to when you shouldn’t be picky, is sometimes things like the popularity of a company and maybe pay (depends on you though). We all have companies that we place on a pedestal because of how well they are known or how great their perks and pay are. If your dream company offers you a job, great; if not, be okay with it and realize that there are phenomenal companies out there that are just as great that you may have not realized before. Sometimes small companies allow you to grow faster and learn more extensive skills. Opportunity and education is just as valuable as the amount of dollars.
- Be Yourself
Don’t try to pretend to fit into a mold or pretend to uphold a persona of a “stereotypical professional”. We are all human beings with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be professional during an interview or at a workplace, but don’t pretend like you need to be a certain type of person to land a specific job. For example: an interviewer once asked me what kind of books I read; I could’ve said I read books by some professional author or books on how to succeed in business – but I didn’t because I didn’t engage in these activities. Instead, I told them I kept up with industry news through LinkedIn and I would read books like Harry Potter for leisure. If you begin your journey with a company pretending, can you imagine how hard it would be to keep that up the entire time you’re there? Plus, they should like you for who you are and the positive contributions you bring to the team.
- Be okay with not being good enough
After receiving rejection emails from recruiters, I would always follow up and thank them for considering me in the first place and kindly ask for feedback for personal improvement. What’s the worse they can say? No? The bottom line is, sometimes you are not as good of a fit as someone else. Maybe that person was more confident or maybe they worked a similar job prior with more experience. Whatever the case, you can use this criticism or weakness to keep on learning and improving. Without these rejections, I wouldn’t be who I am today and land my current job. On the contrast, if they think you’re not good enough based on things like your personality or your interests, don’t ever compromise who you are and realize that there isn’t chemistry between the hiring manager and you. (However if being rude is part of your personality, then you need to adjust yourself). Getting a job is a longer commitment, and mutual acceptance from both parties is required for a happy career and healthy workplace.
- Give thanks and seek positivity
Be thankful for small things. This could be friends, shelter, food, etc. We always pay attention to what we don’t have which makes us very negative. Take a break from all those applications and just sit back and think about your journey and accomplishments. Check out “GoalCast” on Instagram and Facebook to hear stories of failure turned into success.
- The future changes all the time
Our lives are composed of hills and valleys. Life is a journey and you never know what will happen next. Our interests can change again in the next two years. Or you may realize that the job you DO get might be a much better job than what you were initially aiming for. Keep your mind open for change and ride the wave. Be a kind and respectful person to everyone. Sometimes a classmate you once had could be the link to an opportunity 5 years later. Embrace.
I hope my audience is able to take something out of my personal experiences. Job hunting is a difficult process and I believe that everyone is capable of getting through it.