Once my PR mentor, Dana, said, “You know, finding a job is like finding boyfriend. It’s all about timing and chemistry.” And I was like okay, yea Dana, cute metaphor, now mentor me on how to get a job. (Full disclosure: I love Dana, and she has helped me immensely through the job search, even with her cheesy metaphors).
But it turns out Dana was right. Although there seems to be some discrepancy between my actual love life and my professional endeavors, finding a job is kind of like finding a boyfriend. Here’s how:
You agonize over your first impression & fall hard.
Maybe you met online via LinkedIn (connecting is the new right swipe). Or maybe you crossed paths at a career fair (that you changed outfits for six times). Regardless, you replay that first meeting over and over again until you’ve thoroughly analyzed what they meant by “we’re always looking for new people” and criticized yourself for not shaking their hand for the third time. You get butterflies every time their company pops up on Facebook, and you’ve stalked their Twitter account more than you’d like to admit. You spend your days reading over their website and daydreaming what it would be like to work there. Now it’s time to build up the nerve to actually talk to them.
Updating your resume/cover letter essentially is drafting a text to a crush.
Comma or period? I don’t want to sound too excited but also not unenthused about their company either. Does Arial make me seem basic? I don’t want to be basic basic, but I don’t want to be over the top either. Just basic enough so they don’t think I’m trying too hard. Maybe I should stick to Times New Roman. Serious. Sophisticated. And then the italics in my experience section will make me seem ~fun and carefree. And who the hell do I address the cover letter to? How do I start? Hi? To whom it may concern? No, they hate that sh*t, I know they hate it. Ugh, this is too hard. Really, I just need a way to say “PLEASE JUST HIRE ME, I WANT YOU SO BAD” without sounding desperate.
Sometimes experience is important for work (relationships).
There are some employers in this world that are looking for serious employees. And with a serious employee, they want them to have experience. Experience with different jobs. Experience with different people and bosses. They want to enter into a contract with someone who knows what they’re doing with this kind of thing.
On the other hand, some people are looking for a casual fling that has the potential to turn into something serious. We’re all having fun here, right? So little to no experience needed. Who cares if you’ve never had a real job before? Let’s just see where it goes, and we can define it later.
Maybe they’re just not that into you.
You’re playing that job field like a bo$$, but sometimes you just meet people who just aren’t that into you. You’ve pulled out all the stops to impress them: multiple emails, hand-written thank you notes, an endorsement on LinkedIn. But they never call you back. You would rather them just tell you “It’s not me, it’s you,” but instead you’re sitting by the phone just hoping they’ll call. Do yourself a favor and quit while you’re ahead.
Employers play hard-to-get too.
All’s fair in love and war…and employment. And boy, do employers know how to play the game. They start off coy with “we’re considering a lot of applicants” or get your hopes up with the promise of calling next week. And then suddenly it’s three weeks later, they’re no longer hiring until one day they email you and say you might have the job… if you just complete an edit test/phone interview/re-design their comprehensive multimedia plan. And then it’s another two weeks until you hear from them, and you reach out again and they give you a nonchalant, “we’re still considering a lot of applicants, but we’ll be in touch.” You know what they’re doing, and you hate that it’s working, but you keep going back for more. As the saying goes, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” but really we just end up hating all the players and the game of unemployment.
Rejection & heartbreak feel the same.
“Unfortunately, we cannot offer a position to you at this time, but we really do appreciate your application and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.” Maybe you’ve invested weeks (or months), regardless, a job rejection stings all the same. It doesn’t matter if it was a mutual parting of ways (maybe you realized they weren’t what you wanted after all) or how nicely they let you down (I don’t appreciate how you appreciate my application, thank you very much), it still sucks. Just remember, time (and another sexy job description) heals all wounds.
There are a lot of fish in the sea (or jobs in the city), but you only need one to say yes.
You only need to impress one employer. You only need one person to see how great you are. You only need one person to say, “Yes, we want you back.” And when that happens, all the chasing opportunities and LinkedIn late nights and resume revamping will all be worth it. Because you’ve finally found what dreams are made of: stable, full-time employment.
Good luck out there, y’all. I hope you find your soul mates soon.
Originally published on Ampersand