By: Raven Hunter
“I applied for jobs that I was overqualified for and I wouldn’t get so much as an interview.”
A friend of mine told me this as we were talking about our experiences job hunting. She is blessed to have been speaking in the past tense about the search that led her to her current job, but I know that her statement and ones like it represents a lot of you out there. Submitting application after application after application, not sure if your labors are bearing any fruit.
I assure you that finding the job that’s right for you is worth the time and effort you’re putting into it. To help you believe that on the journey, I’ve compiled a few nuggets of truth I’ve learned in my own ongoing job search that I hope will give you the motivation to keep trying.
1. Every Company Is Different, and You Never Know Who Is Going to Notice You
This is something that I learned recently as I was submitting applications to jobs similar to ones that I had been denied before. I looked at my application package, took a deep breath, and clicked the “Submit” button, putting the whole thing in the Lord’s hands. When I did, I realized something I had never thought of before. The company I was applying to was completely different from any of the ones that had rejected me before. While they may be in the same industry or even have a similar mission with similar values, the company was staffed with a completely different group of people whose position is going to require a different ideal candidate. And why couldn’t that candidate be me this time?
If it feels like you’re applying for the same job over and over again, remember that you’re not. Each company you apply to is going to have different needs. Many of these needs will be apparent in the job listing or the company’s website, so when you find them, you can use them to tweak your resumé. Identify the keywords in the job description and use those to present your experience, that way the employer can see how you could fit into the position. After that, just keep trying. For every job you see, there are going to be needs that are not quantifiable and can’t fit into the job listing. So, do your best in your application to show what you have to bring to the table. You might have something they want that you (or even they) don’t know about. Give them a chance to notice you, and they just might give you one.
2. Even If You Didn’t Get The Job, You’ve Made a Connection
Especially in Washington, D.C., networking is a key factor in finding the right job for you. And a lot of times, your connections can come from the jobs that you didn’t get. Many companies will keep applications of candidates that were qualified but didn’t fit the position’s needs at the time. So, when a different (possibly better) position opens up, the hiring manager might see your application in their databases and remember why they still have it. They might even remember your face from an interview. In my experience, I’ve actually been given a job months after an interview because management liked me and kept my application for a later position. You never know the impression you’ve left on people!
Even if that best-case scenario doesn’t happen, you now know someone new in your industry. People you meet through job networking can often connect you with other opportunities or just provide you with solid advice. Keep wading through the applications. You’re accomplishing more than you might think.
3. You Learn Something New With Every Application You Submit
I know what it’s like having my brain go numb as I submit the third application of the day for a job that sounds identical to the one I applied to an hour ago. But, even in that mental fog, I often find that I walk away with new information about the industry I’m trying to break into. In my current job search, I’ve learned many new terms and concepts that are important to the work I’m trying to do. I’m by no means an expert, but I feel I could survive in a beginner-level conversation about the industry now. In other cases, I’ve interviewed for a job and realized half-way through that A. I’m not a good fit or B. the job is not a good fit for me. Even in these times, I’m glad I had the experience because I’m one step closer to finding a job that is a good fit. The right job for me.
The same is true of you. You’re finding out what you need to know to be successful in your industry. You’re finding out what’s best for you and what you have to offer. That will take time. While you’re waiting, know that there is value in the process.
The right job for you is out there. While you’re still on the hunt, you’ve got the wonderful team at Suited For Change to support and encourage you. Don’t give up, and know that everything you are going through has a purpose.
About Raven Hunter:
Raven Hunter is a SFC volunteer and a graduate from the University of West Florida English Department. She is passionate about telling stories and helping others share their own.
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