It’s a wild ride – giving yourself the best chances when job searching
IT’S A WILD RIDE
When it comes to job hunting, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news is, there’s no magic formula required. Unfortunately, the bad news is, there’s no magic formula! You have to get out and do it!
It’d be lovely to think there’s a tip or trick that’s going to land you a job in record time, and there’s no question good advice can definitely help you on your way. Maybe even speed things up a bit. Or at least help you avoid some of the most obvious pitfalls. But the reality is, finding a job is more about blood, sweat and tears than it is about being born with a natural, God-given gift for job hunting.
For the most part, job hunting is much like playing sport. Sure, some people have a natural aptitude for certain sports. They perhaps even have a genetic advantage that gives them a head start. But for the most part, anyone who’s really good at anything, works damn hard at it. Usain Bolt doesn’t just turn up to the starting line and get the job done. Well, actually, he does turn up and get the job done, but only after he’s put in the hard work. We just don’t happen to see what goes on behind the scenes so it’s easy to assume he’s laying by the pool sipping cocktails the other 86,391 seconds of the day.
Landing a job is the same. The actual act of getting a job, like Mr Bolt running his 100metres, takes less than ten seconds. It’s the bit where someone says “congratulations, you’ve got the job”. Your challenge is to do the work that gets you to that point. To make the calls. Send the emails. Network at the functions. Kiss the arses.
You see, here’s the thing: getting a job isn’t actually that difficult. In fact, it’s incredibly simple. You just ask as many people as you can, as often as you can, in the most interesting and compelling way possible, until someone says ‘yes’. Seriously. That’s not complex at all. Frustrating, time consuming and even soul destroying maybe. But certainly not difficult in, let’s say, the same way learning to diffuse a nuclear weapon is difficult. It’s blood, sweat and tears. And not necessarily in that order.
Cleaning up your social media accounts, tizzying up your LinkedIn profile, expanding your skill base if you’re lacking in a certain area, making your CV look awesome… None of this stuff is fun. But it is necessary.
Generating a list of people to approach, building a list of contacts, staying in contact with them for an extended period of time, knowing what questions to ask… Not what you’d most like to be doing with your time no doubt. But, yep, it’s how you produce a result.
Working for free? Heaven forbid! Hey, if it gets you the job of your dreams, or even the job of your bill-paying-dreams, then why not? I’m not for a second saying you should volunteer to work for free at the local fast food joint, but if it’s where you really want to work and it’s a chance to get known and get your foot in the door, then hell yes, you should consider it. Just as you should consider taking that entry level position you think is below you. Easy for me to say, but I didn’t start out being the creative director of an ad agency, I started out opening the bloody mail!
There are plenty of things you can do to give yourself the best chance of landing a job. But the most important one? A good attitude. Accept now that you’re going to have to ask 30 or 40 or 50 or even 60 people for a job before someone says ‘yes’. Learn the tricks to build your network faster so you can find better people to ask. Get a mentor to give you advice. Develop a sexy ‘elevator pitch’. And do it all with a great attitude. Don’t tell them you’re a hard worker, show them. Don’t tell them you’re innovative or self-motivated or a good team player, prove it. Don’t think you’ll prove how good you arewhen you get the job. Prove how good you are to get the job. And the two most important things ever: Don’t be ordinary. And don’t give up.
Sputnik is a creative consultant and author who’s been sacked, retrenched, fired, laid off and kicked out of enough jobs over the years to know a thing or two about finding another one. So much so he even wrote a book and created a ‘boot camp’ about it.