The rules apparently don’t apply to everyone

As all of you know I started a new job Monday, but I spent a good time job hunting so I still like to speak to the issues plaguing those who are unemployed so that people who are struggling know they are not alone in their frustrations. 

What I will talk about here happened to me a couple of times.

Occasionally when you apply to a job you actually do get to interact with someone from the company. Either they respond to your application, even if only to say no thanks, or you make it through to interviews and get to interact with them.

This blog entry will address something to do with the rejection process that irks me. A couple of times over the last three years I have applied to jobs and got a nice email (sometimes a call) back saying thank you for my application but they won’t be moving forward with me, as they have chosen people with more experience in a certain specified area to move forward with.

At first when I got this email, I was like ok, I don’t have a lot of experience in that area, so that is understandable (I did though go through my rant of “To get a job I need experience, to get experience I need a job!” but anyways)

While I was disappointed with the rejection, I let it go and moved on knowing that there was something better out there for me.

Then, I would find out who they did hire and I would either know of the person or was able to do a bit of research (yay for everything being online now-a-days) and I would find out that they were less experienced than I was in the area I was told I didn’t have enough experience.

What?! You told me that I wasn’t moving forward because I didn’t have enough experience with X  – but the person you hired has even less than me?!

Ok apparently the same rules don’t apply to everyone. At which point a little rant would happen to get rid of the negativity that had taken me over, before I could once again let it go and move forward.

This was one of the most frustrating things to me; finding out who got the job I had applied to and thought I could get and absolutely rock. Sometimes I could find out and be at peace with it. The person had been in the industry years longer than I had, they had that specific experience I was told I lacked, ok well they made the right decision.

Other times I would find out that they hired someone who graduated after me and has less on their resume than I did and I just wanted to scream.

When this happens, you start to think about that organization a bit differently because you feel like they lied to you. You also start to question what the real motivation for denying your application was, what exactly did you do that made them throw your resume into the recycling bin? Or what didn’t you do that could have gotten you through to the next round?

I’ve been there several times and I know many of you reading this have been there too. It is incredibly frustrating and can set you fuming.

When this happens, take a deep breath and re-group.

Remember maybe there is something you don’t know/can’t find out about this individual, maybe there is some hidden information that does make them the best fit for the position.

Consider that maybe this wasn’t the right role for you and this was truly a blessing (And I know it won’t seem like it at the time, especially as your bank account is sitting at dangerously low levels). Maybe it wasn’t a good fit; maybe the company wouldn’t live up to your expectations, especially if they weren’t being entirely forthcoming with the reason they didn’t move forward with you.

Again, it is really hard to stay positive while you are job hunting, especially when you see others around you landing jobs and when your bank account balance is continuing to shrink. I get it, honestly, I do.

Keep at it, the right opportunity is out there and it will come along (I know another platitude you’re tired of hearing).

Here are some tips I have to help you through the job hunt:

Volunteer or do some freelance work if you are able to. If you do this you will generate material to add to your portfolio (if you don’t have one, create one, especially if you are in a field like mine (Communications)) and it will show that you are continuing to use your skills and they aren’t sitting idle.  Even if your resume suggests that you’re unemployed.

Write a blog, it will get your name around and who knows, someone might be looking for someone, or know someone who is. Blogs don’t have to be anything special, talk about what you know and/or what you are passionate about. If writing isn’t your thing though, maybe find a different way to express yourself.

Get on Twitter and talk to people. There are a ton of jobs that get shared on Twitter, or again there are people on Twitter who could be looking to hire someone or know someone who is. This doesn’t work for every field because not every profession is online, but someone who knows someone in that profession might be. (Although,  if you are reading this you are probably already on Twitter).

Get out to free events related to your field (I know when you’re out of work, spending money to go to an event isn’t viable, so scope out the free ones).

Take a deep breath and breathe and most importantly, do your best to stay positive! People hire happy & positive people, something I’ve heard many times. In addition to that, if you do have a public online presence, watch what you say and try to stay positive, employers are scouring social media to find out about their potential candidates. (Might not be a bad idea to make your FB personal profile private, or untag yourself in some less than professional photos).

Get in touch with alumni from your school, or your program. It’s amazing what alumni will do for other alumni. I’ve had a couple Brock Alumni try to help me out. One met with me and later opened the door for me to meet with his boss. The other Brock Alumni helped me land the job that I start on Monday.

Ok last tip, if you do get an interview, do your research. Know about the company and the people you are meeting with if possible. Prepare. Be pro-active, if you can prepare samples for the kind of projects you’d be doing in that position, it will show some serious initiative which could garner bonus points. Also come up with some good questions to ask. Companies always ask if you have questions for them, a well crafted question can launch you into the next round in interviews. I have a question I asked in my first interview out of college and I got such a good response, it has become my go to question for any job I apply for.  Signs of a good question: They tell you it is good, or they have to think about it before answering.

Good luck job hunting! Stay positive as best you can, it will happen for you too!

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