Looking For A Job Is Like Being In High School

High SchoolI think looking for a job is a lot like being in high school.

Back when I was that age (a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) if there was a girl that I found attractive I could improve my chances of getting her attention if I made myself appear harder to get (i.e. acted as if I wasn’t interested, even if I was).

On the other hand, if I acted desperate to get to know her then I had lost the game before it started.

Looking for a job is very similar.

The minute you start acting desperate in front of a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone involved in the process you can almost certainly guarantee that you will NOT take the next step in the process.

So here are a few things that makes you appear desperate and how you can fix it.

  • Telling others, “I am desperate for a job.” Find a part-time, temporary, or interim job for extra money until you can find your next career opportunity. If you just need something to do then volunteer some of your time to a local non-profit.
  • Your canned response when asked what it is you do is “Anything and everything.” You always want to be able to give at least a general direction of where you are looking to take your career. A better answer if you really are desperate would be something like, “I am concentrating on a XYZ opportunity but until I find the right one I would consider looking at ABC.” Gets the message out that you are open to other things but still keeps your core message.
  • You apply to every job under the sun no matter the company, including postings that you have no business applying too. If you do not meet at least 75% of the qualifications you should NOT apply to it. Being more selective will improve your chances of getting call backs and will make you feel better about your situation. Whether or not you are finding a lot of postings in your area you should spend the majority of your time networking, not applying online.
  • You apply to every job at XYZ company because it is one of the places you would really like to work and you want to get their attention. If you are really wanting to get your fair shake at a particular company NETWORKING is the way to get it. Submitting your résumé to every position the company has will turn your candidacy into a joke very quick.
  • Trying too hard. Relax, take a breath, and realize that if you do not get a job today or tomorrow that it is not the end of the world. You always want to try to do your best but when you take it a step beyond that it will hurt, not help your chances.
  • Following-up via phone and email way too often. If a recruiter or hiring manager recognizes your number on caller id you are contacting them too often. In the VAST, VAST majority of cases if there is good news you will be contacted immediately. If you are not hearing anything then you can assume there has been no movement or it is not good news.

Fight the urge to act desperately in your search, even if you feel it is a desperate situation. Give it to the Lord and ask for peace, strength, and motivation to move forward with the things you should be doing to find a new opportunity.

Good hunting and good luck!


7 responses to “Looking For A Job Is Like Being In High School

  1. Matt,

    This is good information. As a Corporate recruiter, I can certainly relate to the advice you are giving. At the same time, as someone looking for a job, I can see a few mistakes that I may have made recently.

    Thanks for the good information and reminders!

  2. Matt,
    Very well crafted; an interesting parallel between the job search and high school romance. Another thought: never get too hung up on a specific job, company, industry, etc, even in today’s market there are a lot of fish in the sea.

  3. Matt,
    I am sitting here this morning remembering my high school days ‘68-‘72. WOW! You are right on with the analogy. I have a niece going through the years now and she gets completely devastated when a possible relationship does not happen.

    How do most relationships in high school end up? Only as high school or college relationships. Looking back on the experience each one was completely fun in its own experience. However, back then before we had our life experience, the relationship was the only possible one and if it did not work out we felt like a failure doomed to aloneness the rest or our lives.

    I agree with you that if we could relax and enjoy the job search relationships for what they are, temporary fun experiences, then we would be able to recognize our perfect dream career opportunity when it happens and be able to approach the opportunity with mutual confidence.

    I am trying to move up within my company and I have expressed the same feelings of desperation and the company has rejected me because of that reason specifically. I am going to relax and enjoy the ride more.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Dave Jolly

  4. Thank you Matt, It’s kind of essence to keep on toes to understand stitch in time saves Nine. I am in search of job, Thank you for the good information

  5. Thank you Matt!
    It’s important to read this, and practice it.
    You always take the time to care…

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