Employment is something that I think about every day – it’s my job! As a recruiter I like to think I’m knowledgeable about job hunting, but when I was looking for a job myself, and I really walked in the shoes of the job seekers I speak to everyday, I learnt a thing or two.
Time for a Change
I was happy in my old job. It was safe, familiar, fun, friendly and paying the bills. However, I started to notice that being happy doesn’t necessarily equate to job satisfaction. It was getting harder to ignore the advice I was dishing out to the job seekers I worked with every day. Advice such as “job hunt while you are on top”, “a change is as good as a holiday” or “figure out what skills you need for your dream job needs and go get them”. I offer encouraging, supportive and honest advice because I appreciate that there is a real person behind every job application, and I found out myself that it really helps to have someone walking alongside you during this stressful process.
With this in mind I built my “job hunting team.” This included expert advice (from a friendly recruiter), a mentor (ex-boss), my motivator and cheering squad (husband), and stress-reducers (wine-drinking buddy and yoga classes!). I started to explore what motivated me at work and sought out people with interesting jobs, requesting a coffee chat so I could build a picture of what my next step might be.
Scared of Failure
So, to set the scene, you’re in a job that you enjoy for the most part, but you’re looking for your dream role. While that can be exciting, it can also bring fear along with it – fear of not making the grade and never getting that job that will really make you happy. I happened to see one of those dream jobs and I rung the phone number on the ad to ask if they were interested in me. It was two days before I got a call back. Every time my phone rung (which as a recruiter, is a lot!) I panicked.
Another time a hiring manager called back me the same day (after work hours). That person was kind enough to preserve my dignity and invited me to apply. I told two of my friends about this and my positive first impression of the company. Unfortunately, I didn’t get invited to an interview, and I had to relay that news to those same friends. It was uncomfortable, embarrassing, shameful. The experience served as a pertinent reminder of the emotions that many people on their job search go through. If you don’t have someone in your corner to help you, it can quickly become a lonely and disparaging position!
Stay positive and professional no matter how many job applications you have sent out, despite what you may be feeling. Recruiters are people too and we don’t enjoy telling you that your job application is unsuccessful. A good recruitment agency can aid your job search beyond that initial application, so having a positive attitude and taking a professional approach will help in adding some extra eyes and ears to your job hunt.
Lies and Deception
Eventually, things turned around. I’d identified the jobs I wanted and I had a few interviews to attend. If like most job seekers you’re already working while you’re commencing your job search, this can put you in a potentially awkward position. Let the lies and deception commence!
“Please, don’t anyone ask me what I did at lunch.”
How do people do it? The paranoia can become overwhelming, and the second guessing is constant. There really isn’t any way around it – or is there? Could you tell your current employer that you are job hunting? Whether you love your job or hate it, this conversation is a minefield, and makes the whole thing feel significantly more uncomfortable and insecure. Managers; that’s a conversation that you have to start!
On top of all that, I haven’t even talked about the legwork that comes in before that; updating your CV, writing a cover letter and the art of not screwing up a job interview. Fortunately, my job as a recruiter equipped me with those skills and an interview situation is comfortable and familiar. But that’s not the case for everyone, so preparation and practice are key. Stay organised and keep track of the job applications you have submitted. Get someone to check your CV for spelling mistakes and ask someone you trust, whether that’s a recruiter or a friend, to help you out in practicing for the interview.
If all of the above wasn’t already enough to make you want to call off the job search, then you get a job offer and you have to resign. The next few weeks are spent explaining yourself to your colleagues and your customers. I discovered this entire process is a double-edged sword of highs and lows, secrecy and celebration. It was a humbling and refreshing experience for a career recruiter, but it also had its fair share of sad goodbyes.
Job hunters…I take my hat off to you! It isn’t easy to find your dream job; it takes dedication, mental fortitude, and a never-say-die attitude, and it’s that much harder if you don’t have help. If you’re looking for someone who can lend expert advice, connect you with the right people and opportunities, and coach you through the hiring process, then feel free to get in touch.