Congratulations on completing your post-secondary education that was supposed to make you super-employable. Now forget your government-issued GenY sense of entitlement and realize that you are at the absolute bottom of the food chain. Unless you somehow managed to accumulate three to five years of experience in your desired field you’re about to be super-disappointed. When you begin the job hunt, it can be slightly overwhelming. There are so many different ways to be rejected. Which do you focus on?
Applying to Vacant, Advertised Positions
Identify the job sites that are most used by businesses in the geographic location you are looking. Also, find sites that focus on career opportunities in your industry. This is your primary source of vacant, advertised positions and is where you will spend most of your time. Be ready to fill your days writing cover letters and sending resumes that never get answered or possibly even read. The job market is a touch awful, and overqualified candidates are applying for the positions you just qualify for. The people running competitions for positions you are overqualified for are hesitant to look at you, because they’re scared you won’t be around long. Job banks are pretty much a graveyard for the resumes of the inexperienced. Remember, rejection is part of the process. It’s like dating, but you don’t waste time sending drunk text messages to businesses that didn’t call you back… if you did, that’s probably why you’re unemployed…wait….is that why you’re single?
Filling Out Online Profiles
Larger companies, like the Irvings and McCains of the world, will want you to fill out online profiles on their websites. These will be the most frustrating things you will EVER fill out! I understand that it makes it easier for the company to organize their competitions, but it’s a serious pain in the ass for the job seeker. It’s never an efficient system for the user. Especially when there’s a glitch in their software or when your letter head was fine for the resume, but the cover letter exceeds their maximum size (KB) and you have to delete the graphics from it so you can upload it to their system. When you’re reading a job ad that looks interesting and you get to the bottom where they tell you to apply on their website, you WILL want to kill yourself. Take a deep breath and look at the closing date to see if it needs to be filled out now. Try and limit these to one per day to stave off urges to hurt yourself.
Side Note: Dear Staffing Companies. You are the worst offenders. Especially when you release multiple Ads and I have to start all over again every time! Yeah I’m talking to you David Aplin Recruiting.
Go Back in Time and Start Networking
What you should have done, like forever ago, is join a relevant association or special interest group that is directed at professionals in your field. If you’re in a small city (like Fredericton) most of the jobs are not advertised. You get them through connections. Now that you’re kicking yourself for not having been proactive, start networking. In addition to attending physical networking events, you should also be reaching out to people online.
First go through your Facebook account and delete (or ask friends to delete) all of the pictures of you in compromising positions. You “could” attempt to leave them up and manage the privacy settings, but even Zuckerberg can’t keep that stuff private. Develop a wholesome online presence and start following (stalking) all of the companies you want to work for on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and whatever other networking site becomes popular in the future. (Seriously guys... Google+ is gonna be awesome as soon as everyone gets it.)
Make sure you have updated your online resume or LinkedIn account and have the link displayed prominently somewhere accessible to potential employers. Then start interacting with these companies by retweeting , sharing and commenting on their posts. Not only does this introduce you to important people in the companies you would like to work for, but it creates the delusion that your afternoon on Facebook was productive. (I got all kinds of high scores on Bejeweled!)
Even while you’re working, if your intent is to move up, you should be doing something outside of work. Chances are your current employer is more focused on making sure you have the tools to do your current job than developing your skill set so you can move into higher positions. The right volunteer positions will allow you to develop leadership and project management skills that will be necessary for management positions. While completely satisfying, walking dogs would not provide that opportunity. Choose wisely.
Part Time / Temporary Work
If you’ve spent four to six years in University and tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, you might think that temporary work is beneath you. Unless you saved several months’ salary so you could comfortably look for your dream job, it’s not. Working part-time in an office that has some relation to your desired field is an excellent networking opportunity. Try contacting a local staffing firm and letting them know your intent. No! Don’t fill out their stupid online profile. I’m pretty sure they just throw those in the garbage. Call and make an appointment to go talk to an actual person. Then follow them on every social networking site available and start interacting with them. They need to remember you exist.
…Stay tuned for future episodes