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]