I’ve been looking for work on and off for about a year (but mostly within the last six months) and have realized it’s time to admit that job hunting is something I’m not very good at. Since the PhD madness has come to an end (for the most part), I thought I’d bring you, my dear readers, into the fold as I learn how to conduct a proper job search. Perhaps we’ll all learn something along the way. Hopefully “Introvert, Networking” will be a short series of posts, but considering the economy and my luck so far, this might go on for years. I’m planning to post every Sunday or Monday. I’d love to say that these posts will be chock full of tips, but it’s far more likely that they’ll be full of embarrassing mishaps.
Resumes submitted: 18+ This number is inexact because I haven’t been keeping detailed records (mistake #1). A quick scan of the individualized resumes I’ve saved tells me that I’ve applied to around 18 jobs since May. I would guess that I applied to between 3-5 in the year or so before that. Honestly, I was surprised by this number; it feels low. I guess I’ll be increasing the volume.
Phone interviews: 1 The. Worst. Phone. Interview. Ever. I’d spent all kinds of time researching the company but very little preparing answers about my experience (mistake #2) which was extra problematic because I really only got the phone interview because of a connection…my experience had nothing to do with the position. I think I could have made a case for how my previous roles prepared me for this one, even though I’ve never done the exact job before. Alas, I did not.
Requests for additional information: 1 This job seemed really cool, and I was absolutely qualified for it. However, the organization served primarily entrepreneurs, and the second stage of their search process was to submit an essay detailing my experience with start-up businesses. Apparently, they weren’t impressed with my mostly second-hand experience.
Face-to-face interviews: 0
Job offers: 0 This should be shocking to no one, seeing as I haven’t even made it past the initial screening stage yet.
Insider information on resumes submitted: 3 The thing is, networking doesn’t work when you’re not actually qualified for the jobs you apply for. Or maybe it does for some people, but it doesn’t for me. I thought having someone say, “You should apply for this job,” was a magic ticket to getting an interview. It is not.
Networking events attended: 2 I joined the Young Non-Profit Professionals association of Chicago at the urging of my supervisors at my internship earlier this year, and have been to two of their events. At both, I managed to awkwardly talk to a few folks, but most of them were, like me, looking for work.
Contacts made: 1 After my second YNPN event, I connected with one fellow job seeker on LinkedIn. She seems brilliant, and like me, she’s a #postac type. I have not managed to connect with anyone at an event that I could request an informational interview from.
Informational interviews scheduled: 2 Both of these are coming up this week. One is with a friend’s husband. He does marketing and program management in the arts. I’m really excited about this conversation. The other is with the Director of the Center for [Insert Student Population Here] at my school. I made this connection after talking to a career counselor at school. He also sent me to a job fair where I applied for exactly 1 job (that’s probably not how you do it).
Informational interviews completed: 0 The fact that I’ve been looking for work for over 6 months and haven’t yet done any of these seems like mistake #3. Every article I’ve read about how to conduct a successful job search says Informational Interviews are the way to go. Since I haven’t done one yet, I’m not sure if it’s true or not. I do know not doing them hasn’t been terribly successful.
At this point, I think there are two or three things getting in my way (other than the abysmal job market and the high unemployment rate). First, I’m not doing a good enough job of translating my experience as a graduate student/higher ed professional to the jobs I’m applying for. I think, unlike some PhDs (or near-PhDs, like me), I have a lot of transferable skills. Somehow that’s not showing up on paper. Second, I think I’m letting my introverted tendencies get the best of me: I’m conducting a job search mostly from the safety of my laptop. So, I’ve got to start putting myself out there, and I’ve also got to get better at targeting jobs that make sense based on my skill set and experience. I’m open to a lot of kinds of work, but that doesn’t mean a lot of hiring managers are going to be open to me, too. I’ll be working on this over the next week, and will hopefully have something to show for it when I post next week.
Are you job hunting? I’d love to hear how your search is going. Leave a comment!