I want to talk about someone I know. She just graduated college and already has a job lined up. In fact, it happens to be a job with her dream company. I’m so proud of her!
But she worked her butt off. She did research and went to every interview she could sign up for that was at all close to what she wanted. And she went to every networking event she could find. And she contacted people she met at all these events and kept her connections warm. She kept researching places and kept those resumes and e-mails flying.
She not only had a good grasp of how to go about things ( she did major in marketing after all), but she also kept her momentum going so when people met her, they saw a positive, energetic, talented, determined (but pleasant) person – someone they would want to work with. And she didn’t even graduate from the most prestigious school or have the top-top grades. But she did know how to market and present herself to her fullest advantage. And she had the advantage of oozing belief in herself and positive energy.
Soon she starts that dream job. I wish her much luck. But we can all learn from what she did.
Sometimes we let our energy and determination slide. It’s tough selling yourself, especially after getting turned down by umpteen employers. Or when you’re in a rotten work situation that drains your belief in yourself and all you can offer a new employer.
But if you commit to yourself to do at least one thing every day (more if you can) toward finding that new job – and really see yourself getting it no matter how long it takes – you will create a positive feeling around you that potential employers can feel.
My young friend was warned that in this economy and especially not coming from an Ivy League school, she should be prepared to wait a long time before landing that first job. And she was also advised she might have to settle. (And she would have if necessary.) But she was way too filled with optimism and a vision of herself getting that job to let “common wisdom” stop her.
I too have had a lifetime of being told why I can’t get a job or enter a new field. But I also had a vision inside myself that there’s always a way to get where I want. It might not be the exact job I first set my sights on, and it often took patience…but somehow I always managed to land in a place that was interesting and led to cool new things.
And one of my tricks – just like my young friend – was to keep the momentum going. I looked for a new place to send a resume every day if possible. I contacted people I knew and asked if they know of anything. I mentioned my new quest wherever I went – even at parties (of course making it a positive fun story and not a pitiful plea for help). I contacted school placement offices. And job boards. And later on online resources – and not just online ads; I also researched companies and visited their websites.
I looked for names of people and sent them cover letters asking if I may send a resume. I looked for people in the industry to ask for informational meetings; these aren’t job interviews – they’re networking meetings asking the person if they can think of anyone to contact or ways to get where I wanted to go. Some worked. Some bombed. But I just kept going. And I always got somewhere interesting. And so can you.
You can also go back to school or take courses to help change your own course. And you can volunteer or take part-time or temp work in a field you want to get into. Or maybe you can undertake a project on your own or at your current job that will show how unique you are and then use that to sell yourself to a new employer. (Even if it’s a personal project that has nothing to do with your job hunt, this can help you feel better about yourself and reminds you just how much you have to offer.)
There’s always a way to get to a more interesting job. But getting there is a job too – one of the most important and potentially rewarding jobs you can choose to undertake.
Just keep believing in yourself (if you don’t, who will?) and don’t stop until you get there. The “there” may be a totally different place than you first imagined, but then again…who are we to put limits on our dreams?
Good luck to all of you!
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Although I had to stop answering individual questions (to preserve my sanity), as always your thoughts and stories are VERY welcome here.