Keeping on a brave face while job hunting

I have a friend who is a musician. He’s quite well established in Iceland. He once told me about the process of writing, recording etc. the whole production circle. Now that I am looking for a job his words keep popping up in my head as he described the whole process as: “You are putting your thoughts, your creations and feelings into it. You are bearing your soul and then laying it out there hoping someone will approve, someone will love it…” This is how I feel while looking for a job and unfortunately, I am not feeling the love. And it’s hard.

I feel like I shouldn’t be writing this as it’s not something I should be outing and that it’s a weakness and I shouldn’t be showing any signs of this at such a crucial time.

Why shouldn’t I though? I am only human and I am sure there are others out there feeling the same, that might even benefit from hearing they are not alone.

I believe it’s okay to stop and admit it’s hard work, it’s disappointing and it’s, at times, heart breaking.

I have been looking since November.

I’ve been sending personal details about myself out there for 3 months. Some applications you have to really tailor to the job and answer complicated questions, sometimes very personal questions, sometimes you have to do a test and other times you have to prove your creativity. Some of the times you only have to send your CV and maybe a Covering Letter.

At one point I thought to myself: “This isn’t working, I have to do something different!” Therefore, I made myself a booklet (See a screenshot below), about me. Just a short, quirky introduction. The idea was to go door to door between agencies meet people face to face and stand out in a crowd.

booklet1

booklet2

I did two long, cold days in December where I walked from door to door but came across something I didn’t expect. Watchdogs, as my partner calls them. Receptionists that don’t let you any further. I’ll come in and ask for someone that has to do with recruiting and on the spot I am almost instantly turned around as they tell me they are busy or they don’t talk to people unless they have booked appointments but I can email them etc.

Therefore, I left the booklet but made sure to get an email address and once I came home I’d send an email with my CV to follow up. Frequently I got no reply but the replies I got were: “Unfortunately we don’t have any vacancies, but we will keep you on file.” An automatic reply.

Personally, I think companies are missing out here. Having someone show up at your office is a chance to speak to them, get to know them and get a feel for them, without having to especially bring them in, call them for an official interview. Meeting someone gives you a feeling of their character and how they would fit in the current culture and atmosphere. It’s informal and some people might be more relaxed in this situation. Afterwards, one can look at the CV and see whether it enhances their chances or not. By doing this they get a first impression of a candidate without really owing them an explanation and making it easier to shortlist people.

We hired an Aupair this year. A person that lives with us and looks after the kids when we are at work or at social gatherings. We got many applications, one CV that was awesome. My partner wanted to message her straight back and hire her. I however, pointed out there had to be a spark. That it is not enough to look good on paper, one also has to have a personality that goes with ours. Therefore, we did a few video interviews (our applicants came from Iceland). We ended up hiring the girl with the amazing CV. Having said that, when she applied first I told her she was younger than the job description outlined and I explained why I had an age limit. She was persistent and she explained why that shouldn’t affect her application. And she was 100% right, I am now dreading the fact we’ll have to go through hiring a new one this summer.

People tell me it’s a numbers game and not to take it personally. It’s hard not to as it IS personal. I am sending out personal information about myself and asking for a chance. I am trying to sell my talents and personality, but I am getting rejected. It’s hard not to take it personally.

Everyone knows the vicious circle of companies wanting experience but no one is willing to take people on to give them experience, so how are people supposed to get experience?

But I also feel like I am caught in another loop. I am a graduate but not the typical one. I am not 22 years old and starting to work, maybe for the first time in my life even.

I am 35 years old, I have worked for years and am therefore not typical… I feel like I get disregarded as a graduate as I have years of work experience and then I don’t get a job in the sector I aspire to be in (and have studied to be in for 4 years) because I don’t have the experience.

At the moment I don’t really care at which level the role would be or what the pay would be (having a family there would, however, have to be some pay linked to it). Just that it is in Comms and/or Marketing. I’ll happily fetch someone’s coffee to begin with if it means I’ve got my foot in the door. Of course, I hope for something a little more challenging than that and a “tad” more creative, but I cannot afford to be picky and I have to start somewhere.

The thing is, I could do other jobs, and they have come up.

However, I am passionate about Comms and Marketing. That is why I have worked really hard to get my degrees. Why I used to work two jobs while doing full time studies and run a home at the same time. That’s why I left my family and friends and uprooted my kids to go to uni in the UK. Therefore, it’s painful to have done all this work and not even getting an interview. I am reluctant to take on jobs that are in other sectors as I think it’s to easy to get stuck in something that has nothing to do with what I have been studying for and is not what I have been aspiring to do for a long time now.

At the moment my days consist of me trying to keep my spirits up. I get up, do some exercise, apply for 5 – 10 jobs, do an online google course and then tend to the home and my children. I try to uphold some routine.

Every morning when I wake up I reach for my phone to see whether I have had any emails. As much as I hope I have I hope I don’t. As I know you get knock backs in emails, other news I think you get through a phone call. But at least when I get knockbacks, I have an answer, rather than wait and hope.

Hope is also a funny thing in all of this. One needs to believe they’ll get there. It will happen. One of these days they will get the call. Get the interview. Get the job. But at the same time not get their hopes up too much as it knocks you back more when the rejection comes through.

Before 10 this morning I got two rejections. One which I was really hoping (and believing) to get an interview for. It upset me. It’s been 3 months. It doesn’t get easier and you don’t get used to it. It gets harder and you start doubting yourself.

But you can only do that for a minute. Lick the wounds, talk to someone close to you, admit it’s frustrating and let it out. Once I have done that, I take a deep breath, remember many people are going for each role. And that if I do not keep going I will definitely not get a job as if I don’t put my name out there no one will know I am there and that I am looking for a role.

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