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What I Learned in my Job Search

Yes, I am one of the lucky members of the class of 2010 who graduated with an entry-level career on the table. That's not to say it wasn't hard or that the past few months have been all fun and games. I spent countless hours working on applications. I traveled hundreds of miles on my own dime for interviews. I wrestled with discouragement. I skipped going on vacation for my last spring break of college in order to focus on my job search.

(from Flickr user jeremy.wilburn)

If you are expecting me to give you a dozen bullet-points about what I learned in my job search, sorry, you won't find it here.

There is really one thing, above all else, that I learned in my job search: everyone who is a recruiter, job-seeker, HR-manager, or has ever had the responsibility of hiring an employee has an opinion about the "right way" to go about the job-hunt process. But in reality, there are an infinite number of "right ways".

Yes, there are some very obvious dos and don'ts when it comes to finding a job. Don't go into an interview poorly dressed... don't lie on your resume... etc. These can basically be summed up as: DO be a good candidate, DO be polite and personable during the process, an DON'T be stupid.

It's the little stuff that nobody seems to agree upon.

On cover letters... some people believe they are vital and that a good cover letter can make or break whether you get called for an interview. Other people say they're pointless, that few recruiters read them, and that the resume itself says everything an employer needs to know about a candidate. Some people say cover letters are absolutely necessary, and that your application will get shredded if it doesn't have a cover letter.

On video resumes... some people say they are an outstanding way to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate creativity. Other people say they are creepy and too much. Many believe that it doesn't matter because recruiters don't have the time to spend watching them.

On follow ups... some people advice to follow-up within 24 hours of an interview. Others say never follow up before 24 hours. Some say to send a hand-written thank you note. Others believe email is the route that needs to be taken. Some recruiters believe following-up shows initiative and only people who follow up get offers. Others will claim that people who follow-up are annoying and are eliminated from the candidate pool if/when they do.

On social media... some people love it, other people hate it. Some recruiters use it religiously and believe it is the number one best way to interact with people. Others fail to see any value and believe job-seekers ought to get off the computer and get on the phone or out to networking events.

This list could go on and on. The point is that as much as we want there to be, there is no silver bullet. Every hiring person is different, they all have different tastes and preferences, and they are apt to believe that they way their recruit is who job-seekers should cater to.

In the end, so much of job-seeking is a calculated gamble. You might think you're doing everything right and still feel discouraged if things don't turn out. Every job opening, recruiter, and hiring manager is unique. To believe that there are universal "job-hunt secrets" is a matter of unfairly getting your hopes up. Using common sense is probably the best, and most obvious, job-hunt secret.


Nicole said…
I want to hear more about this! Send me an email about your job! YAY!

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