Partly in thanks to a series of ritualistic animal sacrifices, I began 2012 with a brand new job. I do design now. I make posters. It’s nice and it took me about 5 years to get here. I have a number of friends who are currently hunting through the thick, dank forest of the Job Market. As such, I would like to share a bit of advice about how I
acquired, tied down, and killed a virgin goat applied to jobs.
In the Beginning…
In the beginning, I signed up for Twitter to track my job application progress and to make light of it. This practice made me all too aware of the process. Particularly, how many applications I would send out, when I would send them out, and how I would never, ever hear anything back from anyone, ever. This is my first piece of advice though; Keep track of everything you send. Know when you sent it, who you sent it to, and try not to apply for the same job half a dozen times.
Found a job I really want. mailed heartfelt cover letter, resume, and business card on 9/04. Sprayed envelope with cologne. Now we wait. – Excerpt from Twitter
That particular Fall, I applied for about 25 jobs. I went through different methods; I uploaded resumes through the company’s job bank websites, I emailed my resume directly to the hiring offices, I even mailed hard copies on thick-stock paper directly to the hiring manager. I followed up with phone calls to HR, emails to each department, and I even showed up at the supervisor’s home with boxes of chocolates and a dozen roses.
Called design dept of Dream Job. Left a voicemail. Feel like I am asking girl to prom. Fear rejection. Will spend another prom crying @ home.
After following all the tips, doing all the tricks, I had managed to land a single call back for a job that I discovered would pay far less than my current job. This is when I resigned that my fate for 2009 was to remain at my current job. It was also around that time that my Twitter account was used to produce garbage. However, out of the 25 jobs I applied to, 20% notified me that I was not “what they were looking for.” The other 80% did not even bother to send me so much as a confirmation email, return my calls, or follow up with me in any manner.
Over the next few years, I would continue to send out resumes sporadically.
Please bear with me for story time: In one particular situation, I had my foot in the door at an in-house design department for a travel company. I had a friend, Steve, who was leaving his position as a graphic designer to become Captain America. Steve passed my resume along to the higher-ups and they called me for an interview.
Weeks later, I sat through a very engaging 2 hour, group interview. I had a good rapport with the HR representative and I was immediately asked to speak with the head of the creative department. We chatted, I gave them my online portfolio information, and I left. Now we jump forward three weeks. I had not heard a peep from the company. I am spending my evening playing Halo 3 with Steve. I asked about the job between explosions and he tells me that I didn’t get it. That’s how I found out I didn’t get the job! During a game of Team Slayer on Coagulation. No one from the company ever contacted me.
Get use to that. I have been at my new job for about 3 months now and I still have 10 outstanding resumes floating around on some unloved HR employee’s faux-wood desk. Most of the applications you send out are going to be transmitted directly into the nearest black hole, never to be heard from again. You will learn to embrace rejection letters – much in the way a troubled child might learn to love his father’s belt – because it’s the only attention you’ll get for a while. During my latest job hunt, the quickest turn around time I saw from application to rejection was 3 days. The longest was 13 months.
I just applied to 3 jobs because what’s the worst they can do? Have me killed? If my resume is THAT bad, then I deserve Death’s sweet kiss.
Work Hard, Reward Yourself, Cry
I’m not going to sugarcoat this: 1 in 4 people in the job market will eventually give up, stop eating, and, eventually, die alone. The other 3 might want to prepare yourself. Here comes the part where I actually give some advice:
First! Get yourself into a groove. Find a number of resources and check them on a regular schedule. Because I worked in higher ed, I would keep tabs a dozen or so university job sites. Every 2 weeks I would check them, again and again. Gather newspapers, do regular sweeps of job sites, even utilize Craigslist if you hate yourself and other people.
Secondly! Don’t let up. Every week, try to send out at least 5 new resumes and cover letters. Even if you are underqualified for the job, overqualified, or if it’s even only half interesting. This practice will keep your typing fingers limber and it will fortify your ability to lie about yourself.
Thirdly! This will suck, so reward yourself. You are putting yourself out there, to be judged by anonymous desk jockeys and people who hate you. Try to take the edge off. For every 4 cover letters you complete, have a brownie. My preferred reward was a shot of whiskey for every application I submitted. I apologize to who ever received my 5th cover letter of the night, which I am positive read only: “I’M SO SMART HIRE ME BY!“
Fourthly! Don’t send out your cover letter the same night you write it. Sleep on it, then re-read it the next day. This will prevent any drunk-applications or simple spellging errors. I would also recommend bothering a loved one, friend, or parishioner for proof-reading.
Lastly! Don’t give up. Midway through this process, you are going to feel devalued as a human being. You will just assume that there is some reason that no one deems you worth so much as talking to. You’ll probably consider a life of crime and drugs. If you think you can pull off being the new Kingpin of Crime, I’d say go for it. The rest of you: don’t give up. Just keep chipping away. Eventually, everyone else will give up, leaving you by default!
I hope that something I was able to write was inspiring or at the very least life-changing. Does anyone have an advice? What is your process? How do you cope with a thousand No’s? Tell the world!