I started looking for a job two years ago after being laid off. This led me to endure one of the most difficult job searches I had ever experienced.
After all, I was job searching for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Spoiler alert: Thankfully, the job search is over. But while looking for a job I made it a point to write down things I had learned during the job hunt. Here are 10 things I learned during my lengthy job search.
1. You need a healthy attitude for job seeking
I started job seeking right after I was laid off and exactly when I found out my mother had cancer. My attitude for finding a job was negative. I was not 100% committed to the job search.
Caring for a family member while looking for a job is one of the most physically and emotionally draining things to experience. My attitude was negative so my results were negative.
For the record, companies and people care about job seekers dealing with hardship. However, they are not in the position to save job candidates from their own emotional state, especially during a job interview.
2. LinkedIn advice is useless until you know what you want
Advice on LinkedIn only served me as a job seeker once I knew what I really wanted to do for a job. Advice online for finding work that taken out of context will lead to embarrassing interviews during a job search.
3. When you say, “Ya never know!” ...you know you are making a mistake
You really want a job, so you talk yourself into believing you are right for it by saying, “Hey! Ya never know!”
But the hiring manager knows. They do not feel the same way you do. No company hires a job seeker based on the premise, “Ya never know! This employee may just work out great!”
4. All forms of discrimination are real. Here’s what to do about it when interviewing
Stop thinking about it until it happens, not before it happens. We live in a connected world where the things you read in social media are read by everyone else.
If you assume a company will discriminate, you risk insulting people who may be on your side. You end up appearing aggressive and bitter while putting people on the defensive.
No one gets hired that way.
5. Here’s what to do when you don’t have certain hard skills
If you are looking for a job and need certain skills, the company will not pay you to learn on the job.
Instead, go learn the skills you need for the job. Then come back and apply, provided you even want the job by that point.
Education is the most liberating feeling in the world when it comes to a career.
6. Never present yourself with confusing job experience with no discernable career path
Are you great at lots of things and have random job experience in many industries?
Great! So, remember this before you start handing out your resumes:
If companies cannot figure out your random experience, they won’t bother to ask.
Take the time to tailor your resumes for certain jobs and industries. Make it easy for companies to hire you.
7. Here’s why it is better to job search while employed
Companies want someone who is working for the same reason we trust online reviews:
If another company thinks you are great enough to hire, it serves as evidence you are worth hiring.
Unemployed job seekers face the obstacle of explaining, “Why are you not working now?”
8. Forget the medical studies. You should not drink coffee before a job interview
You are looking for work and about to do a job interview. Your nerves are already worked up a little bit.
The caffeine in coffee impacts your nervous system dehydrates you and may even make you need to use a bathroom. Plus, it increases your heart rate.
9. Resumes need quantifiable results
Everyone loves data. You may do lots of things, but it is the data behind it that shows how much to employers. Quantifiable results are great for a resume.
Think of it as providing evidence to an employer that your actions always lead to positive numbers. And they would be crazy not to hire you.
10. Job searches do not last forever
Finally, if you are convinced your job search will never end, you will create a new reality for yourself in which you look for a job knowing it is a waste of time.
If you fear your job search will last forever, your fear of never getting hired becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you do not want it to last forever, then make it not last forever. Search until you find the perfect company.