Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Quest for Employment

  So, I did it. I quit. After almost six months of thinking about it, and over 3 months of actively searching and pursuing interviews, I decided that it would be better for me to take the time to actually pursue jobs rather than treating it like a hobby in my spare time.
    It isn't easy searching for a job. I don't take the rejection personal unless someone's going to criticize me after rejecting me (yes, that one happened). Generally, I figure they went with someone who was more qualified, settled for less money, or had a more extroverted personality to assert themselves with. But, it's a much different experience now than when I was searching a couple years ago. I have the experience now, and in actuality, I have more experience than my resume's timeline might indicate. I learned a LOT at my last job, and that's given me every confidence to find another one.

However, looking for a new job has given me some insight into improving my game.

1. Don't rely entirely on your resume
    I'm not going to lie, I have a really good resume for someone who doesn't have five years, or even three years, of experience. I was given a fair amount of responsibility and I learned how to handle it by creating my own systems and organizing things that worked best for me. However, I think that's made me a little overconfident going into the interview. Relying on my resume skills means that I haven't exactly been selling myself at the interview as well. For a lot of people, your skills and experience speak for themselves and personality or confidence aren't as important. I've been approaching most interviews as a chance to interview them as to whether I think it's the right place for me.

    On the other hand, many hiring managers are looking to find a person who's "a good fit", whatever that means. Unfortunately, me not being all bubbly and sparkly, I don't always come off as being a good person to have around the office. However, smiling and at least appearing confident can help make a good impression, so I think I'll try that a little more often...

2. Location matters
    Applying for jobs in one city when you're still technically living in another is challenging. It makes interviews a half-day event with the commute, and it confuses employers who think you're going to be making that commute every day, possibly coming in late all the time or trying to leave early to beat the really long wait in commuter traffic. While some people will still give you a chance--and at least bring you in to ask if you're planning to relocate a little closer to the office--others may see this far-off, distant town listed as your address and think you're not worth the trouble.

    With this in mind, I have implemented a new strategy: put a more local address on the resume--i.e. Dad's place. It's not really a lie, because that's probably where I would be staying and commuting from until I found another apartment in the area. I just started with the new address plan a couple days ago, so no results yielded yet, but we'll see if it makes a difference. Considering I've been asked in interviews twice now about my commute situation, I have a feeling it might help.

3. Stay positive
    Rejection is rough and when you've sent out dozens, if not hundreds by now, of resumes and had only a handful of interviews, it can seem rougher. On the bright side, I have had two offers, but I didn't think they were the right fit for me. What this means is that while I may not get an offer for every job, or even the few that sound really great, getting an offer from time to time reassures me that I am qualified enough and smart enough and perhaps even bubbly and confident enough to get one that eventually will be the right one.

Just keep swimming :)

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