Want solid job hunt advice? Listen to the hunters.

If you’re graduating in the coming months, just graduated or have been laid off recently you’ve probably been inundated with blogs and news articles about how to find a job in this down economy. I know I have. While I certainly appreciate that people are trying to help, I can’t help but notice the vast majority of this advice has been written by people with (relatively) stable jobs and incomes.* I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Read this and maybe you’ll find out what you’re doing wrong and things will turn around.”

In case that wasn’t bad enough, we keep hearing conflicting advice and of course, the daunting 22 percent statistic.  (In case you missed it, the National Association of Colleges and Employers conducted a study that found that U.S. companies will be hiring 22 percent less 2009 college graduates than grads from the Class of 2008.)  We know the odds are stacked against us.  We know we have to be better than great to get a toe in the door.  We have to lower our expectations, increase our skill sets and be fastidious, but patient.

So how can we cope?  Just keep plugging away?  It’s all we can do.  And for me, reading the accounts of others with similar experiences helps.

Yesterday I read the Danielle 2.0 blog and found this post, and it really resonated with me.  Having been on the job hunt for a few months I feel like I finally read the words of someone who gets it:

I have written the cover letters and tailored my resume. I’m all over LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social networking that I can get my hands on.  I’ve had fabulous interviews that I walked away from with a big smile on my face. I followed all the advice and did everything right. I still haven’t gotten a job. You see, no one pointed out that I could be great but there still might be someone better. I simply assumed that if I was at my best, then I was the best. That’s simply not the case. It is a devastating reality in this tough economy. It’s also very difficult to realize that you did everything you could and it still wasn’t enough. At that point, pick yourself up and realize it wasn’t the right job for you and that there will be other opportunities. Remember that at some point your best will be the best. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!

What a breath of fresh air — advice from someone who has actually been in the trenches and knows what the job hunt is like!  Someone who knows the pain of agonizing over every line of their resume, tweaking their LinkedIn profile in the wee hours of the night and meticulously crafting the perfect cover letter, over and over again.

While Danielle’s advice is a whole lot better than mine, I’d suggest two things:  talk to peers that are experiencing the frustrations of today’s job hunt and keep your head up.  It’s amazing how much better you feel when you can discuss your trials and tribulations with others.  And stay positive.  This is probably the most challenging thing you’ll encounter.  The job hunt is irksome at best and demoralizing at worst.  You just have to keep fighting and one day it’s going to work out for you.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” –Dale Carnegie


*Admittedly, much of this advice is valuable, I just wish more of it came from those who’ve experienced the job hunt in this economy.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Want solid job hunt advice? Listen to the hunters.

  1. grober

    This is great, Katie. It’s a scary world, my friend, but yes, someday we will find our dream jobs! Then I’ll cheers you with a Team USA snowcone!

  2. Robbie

    IMO, I think two types of people will find jobs in this economy.

    1. The uber-talented. And
    2. people at the top of the spectrum of “how bad do you want it?”

    Cliche: Find ways to make the best of every opportunity. Don’t squander them.

    I met students at my last internship who did the bare minimum. They showed up late, half-asleep, went through the motions and collected a paycheck. They were out by 5pm everyday. I worry about them as they venture out to find real work now. Because you just don’t shake off that kind of malaise and indifference. The way you practice is the way you play in the game.

    But I met other students. Students that hustled. Students that asked for extra work and assignments. Students that not only welcomed criticism, but took the next steps to improve their work. That shows desire. That shows passion. It shows a work ethic that a lot of students have yet to learn.

    If your creative, go out and create. Define and develop your style. Hone your voice and find the best way to show that to a future employer. Produce work. Then produce more work. But don’t be confined by the rules of what makes a perfect “book.”

    From the industry people I’ve talked to, it’s more about showing how you think than showing you can produce polished ads.

    Case in point: I was offered (and took) an internship last summer without a book. For my interview, I brought in B&W photos I shot to show off my composition skills. I brought sketches of ideas (some in crayon) that showed off my conceptual thinking. I brought in writing that exemplified my wit and humor.

    Everyone who applied was told they needed a book. But that didn’t deter me. So did I land that internship by luck? I don’t think so. Look at it this way.

    A polished book shows a recruiter the very limit of your skills as an AD or a CW.

    My “book” showed my ideas and potential have no limits.

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