A few months ago I went through (in my opinion) a pretty gruelling time in terms of my career and its future. After the rest of my department left for other opportunities, there was just little old me alone at work. Seeing as though I initially took the job for the development and professional growth, with suddenly having no one available to teach me, I was left in career limbo.
You know how long those 9 hour work days can be? Well now imagine doing them with no one to talk to, no brief social respite or even a ‘how was your weekend?’ Safe to say it got lonely real quick. Despite working in a room full of people, work can sometimes be similar to high school with the individual groups and cliques. Essentially this left me with listening to Ariana Grande’s album over 20 times a day just to try and speed up time.
Anyway, at first I thought searching for a job would take maybe 2 weeks, tops. This was incredibly naive of me to think so and I quickly learned differently.
It took me just over a month before I finally got the job I wanted and could escape my current one. But throughout this process I hit obstacles, both internal and from things outside of my control. So I thought I’d share with you a little bit about my journey and some ways I think could help anyone who is going through something similar.
Ask for help
There are always people who will have your back no matter what. Whether it’s friends, a partner or family, having that support network is crucial during the stressful time of job searching.
My mum was my biggest cheerleader throughout this process, there were times when I really wanted to give up and just quit my job but she helped get me through and convinced me of the benefits of staying until I found somewhere new. What a gal.
Even my friends kept an eye out for any potential job openings at their work and let me rant to them about my situation when we met up.
I signed up to so many of these and would look through them during the day at work, some of the new layouts of the apps were similar to Tinder’s design of swiping left or right which made it way easier to flick through jobs.
I only did this halfway through but really should have done it sooner. Put your CV on open on your profile so that recruiters and other company’s can see and contact you about potential roles. It did get a bit annoying getting contacted all the time and some weren’t relevant to my career at all, but there were some jobs I found interesting and I did get 2 interviews from it, so I can’t really complain.
This was something I struggled with throughout, switching off my mind and just taking an hour, day, whatever to relax and do something I enjoy. With everything that is going on it can be easy to get suffocated in the endless applications, self doubt and exhaustion.
Especially still going to work everyday, I’d come home and have no energy or sometimes even motivation to complete tasks I’d get from potential employers, it just felt neverending. All I was doing was going to work, coming home and focusing on my job search, going to bed and waking up to do it all over again. Brutal.
This is why it is important to take a break and meet with friends, blog, read a book or even go to the gym if that’s your thing. Anything to give your head a break so you can face the situation with a fresh outlook.
Something I learned is that despite how important it is, you shouldn’t lose sight of everyday life and find yourself in a rut.
Ok so I was pretty against going to a recruitment agency to find roles, but after a while of getting nowhere I eventually gave in.
I still don’t like how you have to go through them to speak to the company rather than be the first point of contact, as sometimes you can get things mixed up and information is lost or confused. A few agencies introduced me to some jobs but they didn’t pan out, either I didn’t like them or I didn’t have the experience they were looking for. Whichever way you look at it, I went through a good few agencies during my job search.
Funnily enough it was a recruitment group that introduced me to me new job and stuck with me throughout the process, so they didn’t turn out to be all that bad!
I hate the part of an interview when you have to ‘sell yourself’, it seriously makes me cringe. But I’ve learnt that there is a difference in faking the conversation and being honest and confident when speaking about your skills and experience.
Going through a few interviews I decided not to say yes to everything the job wanted, if I couldn’t write code or manage a project then it would only do myself harm if I said yes and then couldn’t do anything when it came down to the task at hand.
So I went the honesty route but kept my confidence and redirected the conversation to what skills I did have and the effort I was willing to give in order to learn the skills they were looking for rather than say I already had them.
When I was offered the job they commented on their appreciation of my honesty and how well I came across in the interview, so I guess it worked!
When they say, ‘Stay positive’
I can’t lie and say this was easy because it was far from that. And every time my mum would tell me to stay positive I just wanted to scream. It’s something that is definitely easier said than done and when it’s said by someone who isn’t in your situation, well that just makes things worse.
So I’m not talking about smiling all the time and having a constant cheerful mood, no. I mean take the blows when they come and turn them into something you can use moving ahead.
So many jobs said I didn’t have enough experience or some didn’t respond to my applications at all, although disheartening I used this as a way to show my skills in another light.
Instead of letting them limit my abilities into the experience box of 1-2 years, I went into detail about how much I’ve learned within this time and how learning on the job has pushed me each day to do something different and new.
Basically, don’t let them put you into a box and write you off without showing them how much more there is to you and what it is you can bring to the table.
Even if you read this and think all these points are obvious, please don’t dismiss them straight away. When push comes to shove and you find yourself in one of these situations, focusing on simple ways to survive is what will help you get by and reach the other side, so to speak.
Anyway, I really hope those going through something similar find these tips helpful and can be used as an inspiration when experiencing your own job search.
Have you gone through something similar? What are some of the things you did you get through the process?