In one of my previous articles, I have already drawn the parallel between dating (having a date with yourself) and the topic of self-assessment when it comes to career orientation. In this article, I would like to reflect on the topic of dating again and this time in relation to job hunting.
I personally have been on more than 30 dates for sure and I would guess I’ve probably attended the same amount of interviews. In both situations, you may experience the same types of emotions such as ‘fear’, as well as, the same kinds of behaviour prior to the meeting, such as, googling his/her name, researching the companies reviews, studying their website, etc. There is also the element of surprise and unpredictability with dating and job interviews. You may come as prepared as humanly possible; however, some questions such as “Have you taken drugs before?” to “Why shouldn’t we hire you?” will always throw you off. Anything is possible.”
But how do you finally land the job that you want and how do you finally find the famous perfect match?
It all starts with YOU. Before you even start looking for job vacancies, you have to figure out what you really want to do and may have to do a little ‘self-discovery’. Questions like, “What am I good at?”, “Do I want to work in a big organization?”, “Do I want to move somewhere else or do I want to stay where I live right now?”, are only a few examples that you should try to answer to have a clearer picture of where you want to work. In my previous article, I presented a few self-assessment tools that might help you to get to know yourself better. This is by the way also useful for dating. We often think about the dream partner and how we would like him/her to be and often forget to think about if all of this is realistic and if it really matches with who we are. So always start with the ‘I’.
You’ve figured out what you want, so what’s the next step? This will involve finding out how to get there and plunge into the wide world of job hunting. Whilst on your journey, you can choose the classic route and look for job vacancies on all kinds of job platforms and career portals. Alternatively, you could try to think outside the box and start reaching out to former professors or your former University, check out what people who studied at the same University are doing now, see what line of work they are in, which company they are based and imagine if you could do the same role (LinkedIn actually has this function to find alumnis from your Universities). You could also send spontaneous applications to companies that appeal to you that currently have no openings.
A more subtle way to attract a company’s attention is to have an informal talk with the HR manager or one of the managers of a department that you might want to work in. In this case, you have to think of what you want to talk about or what you have to ‘offer’ that could be interesting for him/her. Maybe you wrote an article on a specific topic or you read a report published by his/her department and you want to discuss the findings. No matter what you decide, be prepared and ‘just do it’. We often sit at home thinking about what we could do and what we should do; however, more often than not, the weeks go by and we still haven’t scratched the surface of our productivity goals. Therefore, it always helps to set yourself targets and plan in advance. You can then celebrate the different milestones with taking yourself on a date or going out with your friends.
“I texted him yesterday but he hasn’t replied yet”, “She said she would call but didn’t” – Sound familiar? I’m sure that we’ve all been there. There will be days without a reply, then there will be the day when you hear your message tone and it will be him/her. Patience is a virtue, I know. And despite of it being hard and painful, you have to start dealing with it. Maybe the HR manager is ill, maybe they received so many applications that they are simply overwhelmed, maybe the internal processes take a lot of time and they have to manage several recruitment processes simultaneously, etc. You don’t know what is happening behind the scenes and you may never know; however, be patient and as the saying goes “…all good things come to those who wait”, and if it doesn’t, don’t take it personal – “some things are just not meant to be”.
Don’t say yes too quickly
Imagine that after a long period of application writing you finally get a positive reply and are invited to the interview – YAY! Congratulations! This is not where everything stops but where the real work starts. The preparation of a job interview is crucial and the best part about it is that you actually can prepare it. It is essential to arm with an arsenal of answers to common interview questions, know yourself in terms of qualities and attributes and determine the aspects of the role (salary, benefits, tasks, etc.) that are important to you. It is also a good idea to know the working conditions and legal rights that are the bare minimum of the country you’re applying to as a potential employee – a bit of knowledge in law can never go amiss. You should see an interview as an opportunity to ask questions to the ‘other side’. An interview should always be a two-sided process and if you feel that you have to sell yourself or that the other party is not keen on hearing your expectations, you should then hesitate to say ‘yes’ too quickly. It is of paramount importance to take the time to evaluate any job offer – just the same way you would when dating. Sometimes our feelings can be overwhelming because we like the person sitting in front of us; therefore, our judgment can become clouded and we can forget to ask the essential questions that would truly help us determine if it is a good match.
No matter if it is job hunting or dating – enjoy it! It is a very exciting time and you have the power and freedom to decide in which direction you want to go, and with whom. Keep in mind that ultimately you have control to make the choices that suit your needs and aspirations. If you get knocked down, don’t just lie there, get up and get up again, and keep doing that until you find that dream job that will allow you to excel and reach your full potential. You may have to kiss a few frogs at first as all great love stories usually do; however, that fairytale ending is possible, you just need to use your imagination, creativity and persistence until you find your perfect match.