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At one point or another, everyone has felt desperate to get a job. Each time we’re in-between positions, the first time you move out, there are a lot of points in everyone’s life where they feel like it’s now or never, sink or swim. And in the first few days and weeks, hopes are high, we shoot for the stars, like a wide-eyed high school student who thinks the best of the world. But after 20+ rejections, these hopes quickly fall back down.
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But there are methods to avoid this seemingly inevitable doom, or if you can’t avoid it, they help get back on your feet without loss of motivation or productivity. The biggest part of all these methods is consistency. It’s not enough to want it, and it’s not enough to have a dream, now you must put in hard work and discipline, and have a detailed gameplan.
And remember: you have a goal, and the preferred way to get there. But most of the time these two aren’t compatible, so you have to compromise in one of these aspects. For instance, if you’re saving up for a car, decide which is important: that you get the money fast, or the job which will help you get there. If your priority is speed, you have to compromise on the position you apply for, it may be less impressive. But if you’re willing to wait for the perfect opportunity, get ready to wait a little more than anticipated.
Part I – CVs and Resumes
First, everyone needs an airtight CV and a spectacular resume for every position. This doesn’t mean that you should slap on everything unto paper, because that only looks clumsy, and all over the place. If you look around, no successful person has only one version of these documents.
Is there a difference between a CV and a resume? Of course, there is, and you will need both to succeed. Not everyone knows what the exact differences are, or which one they’ll need the most. Some places don’t ask for a resume, but it’s best to have it handy. In fact, let’s add the cover letter to this bundle too.
A CV is a list of your past studies, experiences, and honed skills. A resume still focuses on the past, but on a deeper level. Feel free to get into detail here. And finally, a cover letter is the one that stands out and offers the most creative freedom. A cover letter should showcase your future aspirations, and go into detail about why you want to apply for the position. Why are you an asset? What are you going to offer them? Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? What motivates you? And so on. Think of every cliché interview question, and try to answer a few of those. This will even help you get ready for the interview.If your priority in your job search is speed, you have to compromise on the position you apply for, it may be less impressive. But if you’re willing to wait for the perfect opportunity, get ready to wait a little more than anticipated.Click To Tweet
The first step in mastering the art of creating a resume and CV is listing everything you know, and every experience you have. Go all out. If you have any professional experience (this can be an internship, a summer job, or a full-time job), you should be able to categorize the items in this list.
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According to the list, pick two, three, or more areas where you could be a candidate, and place the items in these different areas. For example, if you had a summer job as a waiter/waitress, you can send in applications to a restaurant or coffee shop. If you were an assistant or receptionist for a while, add office work and customer service to the category. After having this list and the categories, start writing your CV and your resume. Not one, not two, but a minimum of three versions. Write a version for all the categories, and if you have bigger insight, write a version for each opportunity and company specifically.
This might sound overwhelming, and it is. Writing the perfect documents usually takes up an entire day, focusing on planning, wording, designing, and printing. But sending the perfect documents makes a huge difference in your chances to actually get the position. Pinpoint each goal, and make them feel how much you want it (without seeming desperate).
Part II – What to Do With the CVs and Resumes?
Now that you have a bulletproof resume, CV, and even a few cover letters, it’s time to design, send, and print. Make it simple, but eye-catching, and make the headlines pop. Highlight what you are proud of, and if there are things that are obligatory for a CV but aren’t quite as impressive, add those to the very end, or on the margins. After you have the perfect design, add an understated headshot, personal details, and you’re done with the first step. And while this is tiring, and hard work, this is the easiest part of the process.
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The first step after creating these documents is sending them out everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere. Start online, as that’s easier. Send it out to everyone you can think of that would be happy to have you. Search everywhere, turn every stone. Join every Facebook group that focuses on job opportunities. Don’t be afraid to send out twenty emails a day.
After you send out all the feelers, usually people just sit back and wait. And that’s one way to go about it, because out of twenty emails, chances are, that at least one will write back. But if you really want to make sure, take it two steps further.
Step number one is daily refreshing. Each day, check the same platforms, see what new positions they uploaded, and send in your documents to them too.
Step two is something not a lot of people do, and that makes the desperate few stand out better, as they’re the first to try it. Take a walk around your neighborhood, and walk into every coffee shop, restaurant, salon, a company you deem compatible. Here’s where the prints come into the picture: don’t say anything, don’t start giving a TED Talk, don’t try to talk to the manager. Ask them if there are any open positions, and whatever they say, hand them a copy of your documents and ask them to reach out.
A lot of people don’t like doing this, because they feel it’s too tacky, and employers don’t like clingy people like this. Or maybe they’re shy. But there comes a point in life when you have no other choice and anyone who’s done it has good feedback. The fact is, that people remember faces, not names. If you walk in and demand some time, they will remember your presence. Also, whatever your belief is, people can feel your energy when you walk in, head held high, and give them a beautifully designed and printed resume. Your face will leave a bigger impact than a file in an email.
Part III – A Part Time Opportunity
Now that you’re juggling with all those feelers you put out there and waiting for a response (while, of course, actively looking for new positions you can apply for), you should make a part-time plan. There are great temporary, or event-based opportunities. Like summer jobs, positions on special events, writing gigs, anything you can find. Again, turn every stone, look through Facebook groups, ask friends.
These positions could be the only things that keep your head above water in this tough time while adding more experience to your repertoire. Another very important aspect to keep in mind is that job searching is very hard emotionally. People can easily lose all motivation, and before they know it, show depressive symptoms, like sleeping in, not eating, not moving, and getting lazy.
Looking for part-time opportunities will not only force you to keep moving, but could help you in the job-search, with widening your CV, and building new connections. Don’t let yourself spiral, as it’s the ultimate trap, and once you fall, it’s very hard to get back up. Nothing short of a miracle can get a person moving again after deep despair.
Part IV – Persistency
Persistence is key. Send those emails out every day, make those phone calls in your lunch breaks, walk the land each week, and don’t stop. This is the hardest part because it’s very tiring, and not at all motivating. Day after day of endless emails, endless calls, and rejection letters on top of rejection letters, it’s not pretty, but it’s part of the process.
Another tip is to not start your day by checking your emails because sometimes it’s not a good start to the day. Wake up, stretch, get your coffee, move around, because if the first thing you do before even lifting your head from the pillow is eagerly checking if you got any responses, chances are, it will darken your day.
But don’t lose hope. Unfortunately, this is a part of the process, and you must keep your head high throughout, and try to remember that it’s not because you’re not good enough. The right position will come eventually if you keep this persistence and discipline.
Part V – Contacts
If even after all this, no one hired you for the position, it’s okay. While doing all you did before, start thinking about contacts you’ve made throughout the years. Talk to your former colleagues, bosses, friends, family, former classmates, anyone who could know anything. And even if they don’t work in the same area, or if they don’t know of any open positions, they’ll still think about you if an opportunity comes along. And if you have friends in high places, they may have the right contact. As in Hollywood, it’s true in life also, that it’s always a ‘friend of a friend’.
Connections are the biggest weapon when used correctly, and most of the time, ‘correct’ means constantly. More often than not, these contacts really come through, even if with a smaller, part-time position. Anything counts, and you must look at everything as an opportunity.
Part VI – Don’t Seem Desperate
This is probably the biggest recap of all other points so far. As mentioned above, people will often feel your energy in interviews, over the phone, or when you hand them your resume. You have to be careful about what you communicate because desperation is not a flattering look. Always be confident, whether on the phone, via email, or in person.
And an amateur, but often overlooked tip: when a person gets into sending out multiple emails daily – possibly using the same platform as a fishing pond – sometimes, unfortunately, more than one email goes out to the same company. This is totally normal, but it’s better to avoid it because it’s very unflattering. This shows that you’re not only clumsy and inattentive, but you forgot the company’s name. Sending out many emails to the same company with different contexts is okay (as them when they’ll get in touch, or if they need anything else from you). But sending out the same impersonal letter twice belongs in a blooper reel.
It happens to the best of us, but try to keep track of all companies you send emails to, to avoid this mishap.
Searching for a job is always overwhelming and never easy. It’s a scary thing, especially for young adults, when you have a dozen responsibilities, like rent, food, and utilities, and you’re between jobs. It takes a lot of time and energy and emotional strength. Surround yourself with supportive people, and people who’ve gone through the process as well. Plan for every possible outcome, so you don’t get blindsided. Look for opportunities in every corner, and don’t forget to take a breather every now and then. But most of all, don’t panic. Read a book in your free time.