There are so many articles and blogs about ‘How to get your dream job’, we have even written one! However, not many people speak about what to do when you don’t get your dream job and how hard the job hunt can be on your confidence and mindset.
Nowadays people are changing jobs nearly as often as they are changing their socks. Long gone are the days of staying in one job for your entire career. As a result, the job market is now more competitive than ever.
I want to share my personal story and struggle with finding a job. Once I finished my bachelor’s degree, I decided to go straight into a marketing master’s. I was told that this would set me up for the ‘working world’ and that I’d walk into a job once I had the masters under my belt. I thoroughly enjoyed my master’s and gained great experience and skills which made me feel confident that I’d find a job in no time once I’d graduated. However, this wasn’t the case.
I was sending out job applications like there was no tomorrow. I didn’t hear back from a lot of them, and I went through a few different lengthy interview processes, but the end result was rejection after rejection. I was watching some of my postgraduate peers secure jobs even before we had finished the course. I wondered what I was doing wrong and ultimately, why I wasn’t as good as them or even good enough.
From a young age you are told that education is everything. But then once you enter the working world, you are told that experience is everything. I had just spent the past 4 years working hard to secure my bachelor’s and, after that, my master’s to then be told that I didn’t have enough experience for the roles I was applying for. I wondered how it was possible for any graduate to have 8+ years’ work experience in the field they JUST graduated from. I’m not great at maths but you don’t have to be a mathematician to realise that this isn’t possible.
If you haven’t gathered yet, I was very frustrated and fed up with the job hunt. I felt hopeless and it really knocked my confidence. So, what changed, you ask? I started to be smarter about how I approached searching for a new job. All the stress and pressure I was putting on myself meant I wasn’t thinking very rationally or strategically.
I started creating a list of companies I’d love to work for. Then I went and found the Hiring Manager or Head of Marketing (the department I wanted to work in) and I’d send them a connection request along with a note on LinkedIn. I’d express my passion for their brand and why I’d love to work there and ask if there were any open roles.
You don’t need to wait until you see a job advertised in the company you want to work for, you can reach out to them directly. This means you may be top of mind when they are looking for someone. At the very least, they will admire the initiative you’ve taken to put yourself out there. This is the sort of thing that sticks in peoples’ minds.
When you get told ‘sorry, you didn’t make it through to the next round’, it can be easy to want to just shove it under the carpet and forget about it. But you won’t gain anything from that rejection if you don’t ask WHY.? I started asking every ‘no’ for feedback and it meant that I knew what I needed to work on and improve on for my next interview.
The times when I was overwhelmed, stressed and down by the job hunt was when I started applying for roles I didn’t even want. When you put so much pressure on yourself, you’re not going to think rationally and logically when applying for jobs. I know it’s easier said than done, and I was very fortunate to be living at home without a hefty monthly rent bill. But I really do think that when your mindset and your attitude are in a positive space, the right job is more likely to come your way.
I wasn’t using my strongest resource – those around me. My brother is a recruiter. I had a recruiter living under the same roof as me and I somehow didn’t think to ask him for help… mind blown.
I started reaching out to people I knew who were working in areas I was interested in and simply asked them for a referral or for any tips on how they got their foot in the door. My brother reached out to his colleagues who recruit in marketing, and they started to keep me in the loop of any new roles coming in. As a result, I started to get more interviews and pretty quickly I landed my new job through a referral from a good pal of mine.
I wish someone had given me the heads up of how difficult the job hunt can be, especially for those just coming out of education. I think there needs to be more open conversations about peoples’ struggles finding a job, no matter how much experience you have or how ‘senior’ you are.
It’ a hugely exciting time with so many places hiring at the moment but I hope this reminds you to be kind to yourself and be patient. There is no set step by step process to secure your ‘dream job’. Everyone’s job-hunt experience is different so stop comparing yourself to Mary who just got promoted for the 84727th time in Salesforce.
If you’d like to talk to someone and get some advice on how to approach looking for a new opportunity, feel free to get in touch with our team here at TalentHub.
Digital Marketing & Lead Generation Executive