Job Search Lessons Part 2

by Samantha on August 19, 2010


In case you weren’t aware, I’m in the middle of searching for a new job. A few weeks ago, I offered some tips for my fellow searchers, lessons that I’d learned so far.  I called the post Part 1, because I figured I would have more to share, and I was right. Here are three more:

1.  You have to believe that if something is meant to be, it will work out in the end. Getting rejected by a company, or not being asked back for a second interview sucks. Believe me, I know. But, after you allow yourself an hour or so to be sad/mad, really think about the job and the company, and if it was truly a good fit for you. Chances are, they had a good reason for not choosing you, and either way, it’s their loss. You can’t harp on the “woulda, coulda, shouldas,” or beat yourself up for what you could have done better. The past is over and done with, so look to the future and keep your head up.

2.  Don’t psych yourself out for interviews. I know, this is easier said than done, but it’s super important. I’m a worrier, and my gut reaction is to freak out about interviews and drive myself crazy with the pressure. But, this time around, I’ve found that the interviews I feel the best about afterwards are the ones that I didn’t overprepare for, the ones where I was just a more polished version of myself. My advice is to do your research on the company and the people you’re interviewing with, and practice the standard questions a few times to yourself, and a few times with a friend. DO NOT memorize your answers. This will only lead to you freaking out even more when you can’t remember every word, or sounding like a machine when you answer like you’re reciting from a script.  Know yourself, your experience, and what makes you a great candidate for the job, and believe in yourself. You’ll be good to go!

3.  Apply to jobs that ask for more experience than you technically have. When I first graduated from college, I was afraid to do this, even though I’d had three very substantive internships. Now, I don’t let numbers hold me back. If a position sounds perfect for you, and you feel that your skills and experience would allow you to bring a lot to that organization, go ahead and apply. So what if it says 3-5 years and you only have two? Your two years may end up being more relevant than everyone else’s 3-5. Put yourself out there, and go for it!

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  • ryanstephens

    As someone who’s been through the job search a couple of times in the last year (and finally has what I expect to be a dream job) I feel compelled to add my $.02

    You’re 100% right with number 1. Before I went to work doing ecommerce for the furniture company I was turned down by a company I REALLY wanted to work for, even after being the last man standing out of a # of applicants. It stung like hell, but I tried to be proud I got that far. (They went back to the drawing board and ended up getting a friend that was a better fit than I was.) Since then I’ve learned that the Good Lord usually has a plan; it just doesn’t always fit your time line. And sometimes all the bad things about other jobs make you appreciate the new gig that much more.

    I can also attest to your #3. I applied for a job asking for 8-12 years experience, a VP role at a small digital agency. Okay, so you probably shouldn’t reach THAT far out of your realm, but the point is the company liked what I brought to the table and my audacity to apply for that role and tried to find another fit for me within their company as a result.

    Kudos to you for sharing your experiences along the way Sam. Best of luck!

  • Suburban Sweetheart

    Thanks for the tips. My job hunt has just begun… good luck to us both!

  • Katie Brinnehl

    Thanks for sharing…. I completely agree with #1. I’m a big believer of what is meant to be will happen, but sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else as a reminder!

    I just started following your blog and am a fan of your posts!

  • sameve

    Amen sister!

  • sameve

    Congrats on finding what you expect to be your dream job! That’s definitely a major accomplishment! Thanks for adding your two cents. It’s funny…I had gotten rejected from one company before I wrote this post, and the same day that I published it, I got rejected by another one. The second one was a job I really wanted, and I’d made it through several rounds with them. I found myself feeling sad and dwelling on it, but then I realized that I really need to follow my own advice and just keep going. I know I’ll find a great job at a company that appreciates me…it just might take a while.

    As far as applying to jobs that ask for more experience, it’s definitely okay to reach a little higher. If nothing else, they’ll appreciate your audacity and your confidence, just like that company did with you. Thanks for your insight, Ryan!

  • sameve

    Hi Katie! Thanks so much for your kind words! I know firsthand that it’s hard not to dwell on the jobs you don’t get, but you have to remember that it won’t do you any good in the long run. Perspective is key!

  • Nicole

    Interesting tips. I’ve been at this job search thing for over 3 months (just graduated in May). #1 makes sense but it’s tough to believe when you’re not even getting interviews most of the time. I’ve had four interviews and no offers. The funny thing is, I sensed that a couple of these jobs were bad fits but I still felt disappointed when I was rejected. I guess all I can do is keep applying and pray something comes up before Sallie Mae comes to collect.

    #3 might not work so well in certain health professions.

    Good luck in your search!

  • sameve

    Thanks Nicole. I feel your pain. I didn’t get my first full time (non-temp) job until the January following my May graduation. I applied to something like 100 jobs, and had maybe half a dozen interviews, but no job offers. I temped for a few months, and that at least helped by giving me something to do besides job searching, and some income. My best advice is not to limit yourself too much in your search (I was a journalism major and ended up working in marketing at an online ad network), and have faith that something will work out eventually.

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