So basically I had just gone from being happy, pumped up to quite possibly one of the crappiest days of my life. True, I had not technically been fired and had instead just been told that my contract would not be extended, but it still felt like a pile of bricks had fallen on top of me. This total 180 hit me hard for a few moments. I sat there and listened to my manager say the standard words and lines he was meant to say. I did not really care what was coming from his mouth. All I was thinking about was, “Oh my god, I need to find a new job. What the hell am I going to do now? What will my parents think? How am I going to break this to everyone?” Funnily enough I did not feel anger, I did not feel remorse nor did I feel bitterness. I just felt confused and in a state of panic. I wanted to scream, “Thanks for absolutely nothing. I hope this whole place goes bankrupt.” But I didn’t. I just got up and remember going back to my cubicle thinking, “Wow. This is it kid. Let’s see what you’re made of.”
Now if you are currently in the job market you know how tough and frustrating it is. Everyone seems to have a degree these days and you have a better chance of winning American Idol than you do of landing your dream job. Well, this is exactly what I felt for the first couple of months of my job search.
I am not going to lie to you in this article. I am not going to be that guy who writes the optimistic article about chasing your dreams nor am I going to be the guy who tells you that everyone is special and that there is a job out there for everyone. Reality is that the job search is a full time job itself. You have to grind it out, not get disheartened and most importantly realize that eventually you will get there one way or the other, even if it may be the most painful journey you ever take.
I am now going to raise five points and tips you should consider should you find yourself in the situation that I was during my job search. Please note that this mainly applies to anyone who is a new grad or has one or two years of professional experience.
Treat your job search like it is your full time job
One of the most shocking things I hear from job seekers is that they only apply to 4-5 jobs a week. Now unless you are in a highly specialized background like Nanotech Engineering or are a theoretical physicist, you are doing something wrong if that is your number, especially if you are in the field of business, finance and other engineering fields. During my job search I found myself applying to at least 5-7 jobs a day and on a good day this could rise to ten if an institution went on a hiring spree. Now I am not saying apply to every job out there, but take a significant time out of your day to research the internet for job postings. There are various sites out there such as Indeed, Workopolis, Talent Egg, Monster, LinkedIn, Eluta and GetHired. It amazed me how many relevant jobs I could find in any given day and I would dedicate at least 5 hours of my day to do my applications quota. Remember, it never hurts to apply and the more jobs you apply to the better chance you get for a call back. Just be sure you do not apply to the ones you have zero interest for.
Whatever you do, do not get disheartened and do not give up
Before I landed my job I must have gone to at least 7 interviews with different high ranked companies, and felt confident about getting the job with every single one, only to be told that they regret to inform me that they went with another candidate but were going to keep my profile in their database. In fact, I even landed a job once only to be told at the last minute that they had to take the offer back because of budget cuts that had just arisen.
In these situations it is very easy to feel frustrated and angry. Don’t be. If you allow yourself to be knocked down then you have lost the fight in jus t the first round. Again, I am not going to lie and say a job is around the corner. It may take 2 months, it may take 5. I would not be surprised if it takes a year before you get a job you are content with. Point is that one way or the other, you can certainly get there. Personally, it took me over 3 months before I landed my new job, and according to a lot of my friends and peers I have one of the best resumes they have seen.
To be blunt the economy is pretty bad, regardless of what analysts say about rising employment rates etc, and you have to wait it out and pounce on any opportunity you get.
Put your ego and pride to one side, if you have to
Say you had a job which you just lost had a previous co op job which paid you $45,000 a year. Now you are struggling to find a job. Would you be willing to take up a position that paid $40,000? Surprisingly (well to me anyways) a lot of people would not as a lot of people believe they have a right to get that dream high paid job they deserve.
Reality is, you do not deserve too much. Not as a fresh grad anyways. A degree means very little and an employer is not going to hire you just because you got a 95 on your math course in university. Truth is, for the majority out there, myself included, we are in what I like to call the “replaceable” bucket. Basically meaning that an employer could probably find a dozen of me and you out there, within the first hour of posting a position online. This is not to dishearten or insult anyone, but it is the cold hard truth about corporate Canada today.
Now unless you are extraordinarily brilliant, chances are you will not be struggling to find a job so if you are an average to “good” worker out there with a basic degree take what you can get if you feel that it can eventually lead to something brighter and worthwhile. Do not hold out for the prestigious investment banking role if you are struggling to get interviews in the first place. Working your way up is just as effective. Just ask the CEO of Coca Cola today, who started out as a truck driver delivering coke cans.
Surround yourself with your friends and be active socially
I sincerely believe that without the support of my friends and family my job search would have taken much longer. I cannot stress how important it was for me to be around a group of individuals who supported me through this period and always backed me to eventually land a job. You may think that surrounding yourself with friends who are doing well in their careers may leave you feeling down on yourself, but it should not. After all, friends are there to help one another, and the support of my closest friends, and even not so close friends was over whelming. Whether it was a job referral or an email to a job link they thought I would be good for, their support kept me going and even a night out with friends socially can brighten up your day. In fact, I’d like to thank everyone who helped me out. You guys know who you are!
Use your time off to improve your skills and yourself
When you are not working and not in school, you will find yourself with a lot of free time. Use it wisely. Learn something new. Pick up a new skill. Travel if you can even. I used my time off to tutor children, do charity work and learn a few skills such as SQL and VBA which I found to be very important in the job market today. This will probably pay off in the future. Employers will ask you what you have been doing in your time off, and if you simple reply, “Waiting for a job to arrive,” you may as well walk out the interview room right that second. Investing in yourself is critical, especially with the ever changing job market. Making yourself relevant is crucial and getting the job at the end of the day is half the battle. Once you land your career, you have to make sure you can take it somewhere.
So there you have it. Of course I have missed a lot of other points such as networking, resume polishing, interview skills etc, but you can find those online with a quick google search.
The purpose of this article was not to scare you, but rather to inform you about making better decisions in your job search and how you approach it. I am not the final answer, nor are these points guaranteed to land you a job quickly. But what I can promise is that if you follow some or all of these points your search will be a lot easier!
Good luck everyone!
This blog post has been written by Faizan Hamdani. Click here to learn more about Faizan.