Two years ago I was fresh out of university with a shiny degree and zero optimism. I’ve said this frequently within the last few months. I also, believe it or not, suffer from social anxiety every once and awhile and find it incredibly difficult to meet people in certain situations. For this reason, the fact I went to NYC to meet 200+ online friends is more than an accomplishment for me. I push myself constantly to put myself in situations that are uncomfortable for me, and throwing myself into the job hunt is certainly one of them.

So here’s what I learned.

Most recently: a good resume is the key. No shit. I had a professional sit down with me two years ago to help me rewrite my resume, but things have changed a lot since then. I’ve become a social media fanatic and blogger, and I’ve written for a variety of publications. My interests are tighter now.

So earlier I Tweeted for help with my resume, and sought the assistance of JoAnna Haugen and Kelsey Freeman. They both said the same thing: my resume was much too long, and should be just one page. I figured as much, but hadn’t taken the time to rework it. Then I hired on Kelsey to make it sexy as hell, and tomorrow I will start some mad pimping. My issue, of course, is that I’m applying for a million different jobs all while trying to start up my own business, so a new resume needs to be tailored to each job application.

I also apply for jobs regardless of the required experience. I found the job ad for my old tech writing position on my university website, and the company was asking for five years experience. I applied anyway since I had worked the previous six months doing tech and policy writing for the university, and they arranged an interview. I managed to charm their faces off so well in the interview, they hired me not long after. Sometimes companies value a good vibe with other employees over a tightly-wound, high-strung worker with more experience and crappy social etiquette. Plus I’m devilishly good-looking, I’m sure that had something to do with it.

Apply to companies even if they don’t have openings. I logged onto the St. John’s Board of Trade and scoured every media related website in the city, sent out dozens of resumes, and received a handful of replies. I had a great meeting with the head of a big marketing company, and despite me not having any real copywriting experience, she tried to find some work for me. I took the higher-paying tech writing position, but we’re still on good terms.

Spread the word, bird. I compulsively make it known on Facebook and Twitter that I’m available for hire. Yesterday I Tweeted, “Hire me. I write stuff. #Halifax” with no real expectations, but actually received two messages. One turned out to be a phenomenal position here in town, so far up my alley it was incredible. I applied. I know you St. John’s people are pissed. Unfortunately that was before I had a sexy resume all ready to go, so chances are I won’t get it anyway.

That’s it. I’m no job-hunting guru. I’m an unemployed, broke-ass writer, but those tips worked for me in the past. I might add that I obsessively lurk around job ad boards on a daily basis, often with hideous results. Most days my best option is to be a janitor at a strip club, but sometimes something good comes along. In the meantime, I’m still writing my business plan and kicking ass, working non-stop from Cailin’s leather couch while her cat licks my shoulder. It’s uncomfortable, but damn it, something will pay off in the long run.

[Photo by: srqpix]

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23 Responses

  1. I like it. It will be helpful when I’m ready to commit to a real job. Right now it’s just part time writing. Good luck! You will get the perfect job when the time is right.

  2. JoAnna says:

    *Sending positive thoughts your way.*

  3. J says:

    Dude, I might try that twitter hashtag thing. I’m NEEDING a job too – big time.

  4. The rules of finding a job: (Learned form several months of job hunting during the dot-com bubble burst in Ottawa)

    1) Finding a job is a full time job, treat it as such.

    2) Resumes get you interviews, seldom jobs.

    3) Interviews get you jobs.

    4) Jeans and a T might be their office norm but you don’t work there yet. Interviews are professional experiences. Dress accordingly!

    5) 99% of applications are never responded.

    6) IT IS NOT PERSONAL! Don’t let it become personal and don’t take it personal. Just like you are looking for a paycheck, they are looking to make a profit. There is a parallel there. Business is business.

    7) Everyone is looking for someone. It does not need to be on a bulletin board, job site, or career section to exist. Apply, cold call, hand deliver, wear your shoes thin!

    8) Follow up! On resumes, interviews, cold calls, casual conversations with that dude on the corner (no not that corner!)

    9) Updated your resume? Send them a new one!

    and finally!

    10) The only job that matters is the one you get.

    And there you have it lessons learned by that older, cute guy from NL, who has been through this before.

  5. Alexandra says:

    Way to go, you! I’m sure you’ll get an awesome job.
    As you said, you’ve got two major advantages: your devilish good looks and your kick-ass resume.
    Good luck!

  6. I think your tips are great! You never know until you try and you have to be determined. I worked for the career center at my university for 4 years and your resume should definitely be one page only. Good luck!

  7. carissa says:

    OOh girl, I’ve been there. I am there now, even though I have a job. I can’t seem to quit obsessing over sending out resumes…

    Good luck lady! Something good will come around soon!

  8. maggie says:

    if you got a wicked perfect-for-you-job in Halifax I’d forgive you for leaving me. It’s the vague ‘maybe i won’t come home for a long long time” references that break my heart more ;P

    I don’t envy you your job hunting position… I lucked out right out of school as well, and so far so good with that job… But sounds like you’ve got things on the right track! thumbs up!

  9. Kelsey says:

    Everyone I know always says “How do you not have an awesome job?” to me, and sometimes, it’s just depressing. I have a master seaman’s license, I’m about half-way to a pilot’s license, I have formal training in writing, photography, and videography, I’ve worked for both local businesses and multi-national corporations doing everything from graphic design to project management, and I’m a highly analytical problem solver with a creative streak. Yet, nobody seems to want to hire me. Why? To be honest, I’m beginning to think it’s because people don’t want to actually hire people who have a high potential for thinking for themselves. I’m what my therapist has referred to as a “highly skilled person”, and I’m beginning to think that companies don’t really want skills, they just want drones.

    One of the reasons I’m trying so hard to become self-employed is because I’ve realized that being raised in a family of self-employed folks has, essentially, made me highly unsuited for most jobs. I don’t work well on teams, I value my time, and I have no loyalty whatsoever unless I really, really believe in the cause of the company I am working for. For the right company, I’m an awesome employee, but for the wrong one, I just sit there all day and write down blackmail-able information in a notebook, to be doled out when folks get upset with me.

    Ain’t the world of work great?

  10. Krib says:

    I dream of being a writer, and strangely enough, I’m doing a degree in English so the fact that you did the same AND actually found a job in the past gives me hope :p

  11. Amiee says:

    I’d say you are going about this job hunting thing fabulously. I might try your “Hire Me” tweet thing out for fun!

  12. Deanna says:

    I just tried the Twitter hashtag thing. Can’t hurt, could help, only took five seconds. What’s not to love?

  13. Deidre says:

    Gah, see I had such a hard time job hunting in Australia because here Resumes are supposed to be 1-3 pages. Plus it’s not just about cover letters and resumes but 3-5 paragraph response to about 8 selection criteria.

    I am going to have to remember this post if I ever return to the US to work…because ye gahds it sounds different!

  14. linlah says:

    I have a magic fairy wand and I’m waving it in your direction for luck.

  15. Karen says:

    Great tips! I am in the same boat and might try ‘Hire me! #Honolulu’ for fun.

    Sending you positive thoughts.

  16. Sherri says:

    [I've been M.I.A. for a bit and I'm only catching up now, so apologies for being last to the party.]
    I can tell you from being on the flip side of things, when writers send me applications with sample writing, it often seems as though they haven’t revisited their pieces and they really should. Or, at least submit up-to-date work.

    Good luck on your job hunt! It seems as though you’re ready to go and I’ll send some good vibes your way!

  17. Alisha says:

    I totally feel like we’re both on the road to recovery and progress. I feel much better after taking the time to sit down and evaluate my own experience, talents, work load, and offers with a brand spanking new media kit as a freelancer. I’m more confident after talking with freelance friends like you that I’ll be able to market myself as a reputable social media consultant, and can only look forward to the future. some days are tougher than others, but hey – we’re still kicking ass having a blast during the struggle. my thing is, it HAS to work out. things will come our way, they have to.

    if not, we’ll just get paid for being really good in bed, amirite!?

  18. Eric says:

    Good luck with the search. I am starting to feel the anxiety of not knowing where I will be next year when I want to return to Korea, and it sucks.

  19. Emily Jane says:

    Let me know if you ever need help with job stuff. I write resumes and cover letters for a living – please tell me you’re using a cover letter too!

  20. admin says:

    Thanks for all the feedback, folks! I landed an interview with my dream job position, at least. Wish me luck. :) Kelsey, I’m sorta in the same boat, my skills and interests are all so varied that I find it hard to be gung-ho passionate about a particular thing, but I think this position might actually be it.

    Alisha, DITTO! Bahaha. And you just landed a job. Sweet deal.

    Emily, thanks, I had no idea you were in that business! Don’t worry, cover letter has been take care of, hehe.

  21. nashe says:

    Well I hope your devilishly good looks get you someplace soon. :)

  22. been there. done this.

    we are kindred souls.

    and yea, my resume used to be like 5 pages. til i started revising them for people as a job and i was like, yea, mine sucks.

  23. Bay_Girl says:

    Thanks for writing this. I’m having a bit of a career crisis. Writing was always my passion, but I was too scared to follow it in the hopes of finding work. I honestly have no clue how to go about getting myself employed as a writer…I have an English degree, but that’s as far as it goes to date…sigh…

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