How To Ace Your Job Hunt

One small step (or crawl) for humankind (Image via Unsplash)

Some people say that it takes three to six months to find a job, however, depending on how stiff the competition is, and depending on how much experience you actually have, it might take you even longer. It took me some time to find work that is in line with the things that I am passionate about, but if I was to settle and apply to any old job then I know that I would have taken on more work a lot sooner. As it goes sometimes, family would tell me or suggest that I should do something else while waiting for the job to come along but I refused because I felt like I should be all-in on getting the right job for me (one that would be a passion and culture fit) rather than spend a lot of my time doing something that I’m just not that into.

Thinking about my own job hunt got me thinking about what it is that job hunters should know when looking for a job. It’s August, and a lot of people have graduated from university or college, and they might be totally unaware and unprepared for what to expect when you’re expecting to get a job after university or college. Keep in mind that these do’s may not suit everyone’s life, but it is my hope that they apply to at least one other person (or more!). So, here it goes…

#1: Rejection is a thing (but don’t take it personally)! 

It is important to not take rejection personally: no matter how slick your resume and cover letter are, human resources/heads of the company interview the people who they feel might be the best match for the company.  A rejection means that right or wrong, the potential employer doesn’t think that your skills or your background would be right for them. That’s it! I know, when you’re on the hunt for a job, it’s very hard to not get picked because you really want a job, but you’ve got to remember that another place might feel differently, and you have to know that interviews and job offers are judgement calls. Of course, if you didn’t sell yourself well enough, you can work on that too. But, whatever it is, whether they tell you what went wrong or not, you just keep going. Every interview is an opportunity to learn, and every application is a fresh start.

#2. Stick to your guns. 💪

If you know you want a certain kind of job in a certain industry, then focus on that. I know that some people say not to keep all your eggs in one basket, but I say applying to as many jobs as you can, within your chosen field, makes it so that you’re focusing all of your energy on what matters. Of course, that means that you have to research a bunch of companies, in order to gain a better understanding when you write your cover letters (which is something that I believe in), but it’s so worth it. Why focus on mediocre opportunities when you can give it your best shot with opportunities that are the best use of your skills? Work your part-time job to pay the bills if you have to, but keep applying for the kind of job(s) that you really want. Stick to your guns.

#3: Have faith in yourself. 

If you don’t believe in yourself how can anyone believe in you? It is so important to have an unshakeable faith in your skills, your background, and your ability to do exactly the kind of job that you are passionate about or went to school to do (because there are a ton of people out there who are doing just that).  If you went to a good school and if you have a good work ethic, and if you’re passionate about the work that you would be doing, then stay positive and have hope. You have every right to believe that you would own the heck out of that job and that they (your future employer) would be lucky to have you. And remember that as much as you want a job/need a fulfilling job, they need someone like you too.

#4: Know what you want.

This is really difficult and really simple, but what exactly do you want to do with your degree or diploma? It is important to do your research, get to know what’s out there, and focus in on what you believe will be the right fit for you. I talked about this, in my Things I Wish I Knew Before I Embarked on My Professional Career post, but for me, because I had no clue what I was going to do with my degree when I first graduated, doing internships has reaffirmed that my passions could easily line up with an industry that is great for creatives (and it gave me the boost that I needed to really go for it).

#5: Cast your net wide.

When you know what you want to do you can cast your net wider (in terms of being willing to move to a different city, and how far away you’re willing to move is up to you) so that you are open to every possibility within your field. The wider the net the bigger the fish…or is it the more fish you get? Anyways, just be open to expanding your geographical area, because competition might be so stiff in your town that there are twenty people like you trying to get the one job that’s available, and all you had to do to get work is be willing to move or work in a bigger city (which we all know is where more opportunities live).

#6: Dress to Impress.

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This might seem very obvious (or not), but I think that you should dress better than anyone else that your interviewers will meet. Even if the job description says that the office dresses casually, unless they specifically tell you otherwise – and this has happened to me before, you should still dress like you’re going to a business meeting but with some personality. I love wearing classicly cut dresses, vintage blazers (almost always in bright colours), neutral flats or ankle boots (depending on the time of year), and a lipstick that matches whatever brightly coloured blazer or dress that I happen to be wearing. My interview uniform is that simple! When I am out and about in the fall or spring, I like to wear blazers with jeans, corduroy skirts, and denim dresses or skirts. So, you see that my interview style repurposes what I have and expresses my style in a more elevated kind of way. It is so important to express your personal style so that when you walk in you feel like you’re the best thing since a hunk of chocolate cake with sweet cream cheese frosting! When you look good you feel good, and when you feel good you will perform well in an interview.

#7: Be true to yourself.

If it comes down to making less money in exchange for working at an organization that’s going to value you and be a good passion and culture fit, then you have to do it. Honestly, what is life if you’re not true to yourself? It’s a rat race, that’s what. It’s an ugly situation that can only be avoided if you don’t settle for a job that doesn’t feed your passions. So feed yourself by doing the sort of work that comes naturally to you.

Did I miss anything? Let me know (in one way or the other!).

– Adaora

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