By Linda (Odineca) Calabria
I was asked to write a blog post for Bullhorn Reach after responding to something they posted. I was asked to share my experience as someone who has been unemployed in the past. Today, I’ll tell you about my 16-month stint as an unemployed average girl and what it took to get me out of that situation. I suppose a little bit of luck has to be involved whenever anyone gets a job but we’ll overlook that piece as that isn’t anything that’s tangible and certainly anything anyone can really learn anything from. So here goes, I will try to be clear and concise and I hope that my tips help you as well.
I wrote in my blog once that the hiring, and job searching, process is like the real estate market. Meaning, it is a buyer’s market. Unfortunately, the buyers are the hiring managers, and with their power to pick from hundreds of candidates, why not the pick the perfect one instead of the fixer upper? So what did I do during my 16 months of unemployment? I’ll spare you the emotional roller coaster tales and focus on the tangibles:
• I sent out a total of 457 job applications
• I also received 93 rejections
• I went on roughly 15 face-to-face interviews
• I created 9 basic cover letters that were reworked numerous times
• I also created 18 versions of my resume, tailored specifically to how a job posting may have emphasized an importance in various skills
• I worked with 2 different placement agencies
• Volunteered at 5 different volunteer events in my field
• Lastly, I had one part time job, which alone took me several months to find
I hope you won’t take the above as tooting my own horn, because those times were rough but I tried to do EVERYTHING in my power to get in a door to talk to someone, as I’m sure everyone else does as well. Now here are some tactics I began to implement as I went through each and every interview:
• No matter what, always follow up
• If you find an interesting job online, then apply for it. NEXT, look on LinkedIn if you can figure out who the HR manager is and write them a personal note. Show true passion and interest!
• If you are unemployed, then regardless of all else going on, your job is to FIND a job. I made sure to apply to 10 jobs a week. This included tailoring my resume, writing a cover letter, and seeing if I could figure out who I could reach out to personally.
• Bring something for the interviewer to remember you by. It can be a portfolio, a one-page PowerPoint slide that represents your successes, samples of your work, etc.
• ALWAYS prepare for the unexpected. In one interview for a bike company I was asked to name as many bike parts as I could. I do not work there, so you can image how well that went.
At the end of the day, be proud of each interview, but do not get hung up on it. Regardless of whether you did well, whether you bombed, or if you inevitably do not get a call back, just keep moving! Finding a job is your current job. Do not get caught up in the sadness, regret and emotion.
That’s hard to say, because it’s impossible to do, but you have to keep going. Did you get a call back? Fantastic! Now prepare for round two, but do not stop looking. You don’t have the job yet and that means that anything could happen. They can either pick someone else, or in the best scenario pick you, but in the interim, you may come across something that you know will fit you better.
So good luck! Persevere and carry on. You too will find a job and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In the meantime, fine-tune your skills, focus on the search, and do not give up!
Linda (Odineca) Calabria is a brand marketing specialist with experience in global marketing, social media strategy and implementation and product development. She graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and from Suffolk University with a Global MBA. You can contact Linda on LinkedIn and read her blog.