Is it just me or does job hunting feel like a roller coaster ride?
It takes you from the build-up of painstakingly updating your resume and meticulously tailoring cover letters, to the anxiety-inducing anticipation of interviews, to the lows of getting the dreaded “we went in another direction” email, to the highs of getting a coveted job offer. Whew. There’s a reason people throw up on roller coasters, ya know.
Not too long ago, I was right where you are. I was a job seeker riding the same roller coaster. But thankfully, when the ride came to a full and complete stop, I landed a job at Talent Market as an Outreach Manager.
And now that the coaster queasiness has worn off, I wanted to share a few lessons I learned that might be helpful to my fellow job seekers:
- Apply for More Than One Job
You wouldn’t spend hours driving to an amusement park, park in Section Scooby Doo/Row 65, walk two miles to the park entrance, and trudge through long lines, just to ride one single coaster and then leave, would you? Of course not.If you are intentionally looking for a new role, it’s like being at an amusement park – you’re there to ride multiple roller coasters, not just one. Odds are, you aren’t going to get the first job you apply for. Or the second. Heck, you might not even get the third or fourth. It can take a lot of time and a number of applications. So, adjust your expectations accordingly. (And don’t eat a big corndog right before going on that upside-down coaster!)
- Advertise Yourself Well With a Solid Application
Every amusement park puts up eye-catching billboards, right? And you’ve probably noticed that parks approach advertising differently depending on what they bring to the table. Six Flags pushes thrill and excitement. Disney peddles a dream vacation for the family. Sea World speaks to the animal lovers whose lives won’t be complete until they swim with Flipper.Think of your job application as an advertisement for you.First, your cover letter should explain why you’re a good fit for the role and demonstrate your passion for the organization’s mission. Generic cover letters are a big no-no! (When’s the last time you saw a generic billboard for an amusement park? NEVER!)
Second, your resume should showcase how your specific skillset checks the boxes the organization is looking for. When crafting your resume, ask yourself, “What have I done that proves I’m what they’re looking for?”
Like many people, I found myself wearing many hats in my previous role. But instead of trying to cram everything into a few resume bullet points, I would focus on what the job posting was specifically asking for. For example, for a management position, I would focus on my years of intern management experience. But if it was a communications position, I would shift the spotlight to my experience with graphic design and working with the communications team.
Like an eye-catching billboard, your tailored cover letter and resume should draw in the hiring manager and make them want to interview you.
- Utilize Your Network
Think of all the people you encounter at the amusement park who help make the experience possible. There’s the guy who robs you blind at the entrance sells you a ticket, the guy who makes you a scrumpdillyicious corndog, the couple you meet in line who tells you about a newly opened coaster at the far end of the park with NO lines, and the nice lady who persuades you to buy a pair of plastic mouse ears for roughly the price of your home’s down payment.This same type of network exists during your job hunt! (But with fewer people trying to empty your wallet!) Like at the amusement park, you are surrounded by friends and associates who can help you with your job search. They can introduce you to hiring managers, tell you about job openings, serve as references, and help you get a foot in the door.Be sure to thank anyone in your network who helps you along the way!
- Before You Ride, Know What You’re Getting Into
I HATE going on upside-down coasters; they make me queasy. And I’d hate to be the girl who gets sick on some poor guy below me. So, before I consider getting on any kind of thrill ride, I do my homework to make sure it isn’t going to go upside down.Before you apply for a job, you need to familiarize yourself with the nonprofit. Are you completely aligned with its mission? Do you agree with the strategy they use to effect social change? Do you like what you’ve heard about the culture? Do the 990s indicate the organization is financially healthy?If you do your research and apply for roles that are a fit for you, you will be more likely to find the heart-pounding thrill you seek (and less likely to throw up on the unsuspecting fellow at the bottom of the loop-de-loop).
- Stay Positive!
When you were a kid, your parents may have told you, “We’re going to Disney World!” Do you remember the excitement that bubbled up in your chest about all the amazing things you were going to do there? That excitement and optimism followed you into the park and led to an amazing day. And it stuck with you long after your visit, right?Do you remember having to wait in super long lines? Of course not! Do you recall getting in a shouting match with your sibling about who gets to sit in the front seat of the big coaster? Nope. Do you remember that your father refused to buy you the ice cream cone because it cost more than your entire summer allowance? Negative. You only remember meeting your favorite characters and riding amazing rides!Staying upbeat and positive helps you power through the ups and downs of a job search, knowing that every application and interview gets you closer to your dream job. And when you finally land in the right spot, memories of those rejection letters will quickly fade away!
Job hunting is a wild ride in itself, but keep in mind that is all about finding your seat on the perfect coaster. Keep flinging out those applications and keep your head up because who knows…your dream job could be just a few exciting clicks away. Happy hunting!