things i’ve learned after surviving the most brutal job search of my life (pt. ii)

Habemus part two!

Almost a month into my job, I had the opportunity to reflect on my experience as a job-seeker. It turns out, I had a lot to let out still. So here it goes!

Contacting Hiring Managers directly is a waste of time (unless you have some VERY good connections)

I did have some very good (unofficial) career advisors during my job hunt, but their perspective wasn’t always helpful–and understandably so. (After all, it’s not their job.)

A friend of mine, for instance, suggested that I should focus on just a selection of job openings, research who the hiring manager for these roles is and directly reach out to them via LinkedIn or email (apparently there’s a platform that allows you to find out which email template a company uses; i.e. [first name initial][last new]@[company name].com).

Basically what my friend suggested was for me to find out what the underlying problem the company was facing, and then pitch my solutions to the hiring manager. Essentially, I had to read this person’s mind without even knowing them, and then ask them to make time for a “quick chat” with me. My friend said that 3/5 managers would respond to a message like that. Allegedly.

Well guess what, I did it a couple times (once I was even referred), and it didn’t help. Most times, this person would not even see my message because they most likely spent very little time on LinkedIn. My friend stated that people are too scared to do so because it involves reaching out to a high-profile person, implying that they’re not “brave enough.” Or maybe it’s because it’s just a waste of time.

Here’s what I think. Unless you personally know somebody in power and are aware of what their company is going through, this method is not worth the hassle, and it will get you very fewer responses than those you would get by applying online like anyone else.

It’s not a matter of bravery; it’s a matter of common sense.

Don’t give interviews for granted

Now, if you do get that interview, don’t relax. I mean, celebrate, for sure, but it’s not over yet. I did have a few interviews that went really–and I mean really–well. So you can imagine my disappointment when I received that infamous automated message informing me that I would not be progressing further in the hiring process. Believe me, that is tough, especially when you’re an immigrant.

The thing is, locals do not understand the struggle. They might pretend to sympathize with you while, in reality, they do that with every single applicant. And you are no different.

Said this, interviews are important. Interviewing well is even more telling than your resume, because your future employers want to see how you interact with them, how pleasant you are perhaps, because they will have to stand you for a long, long while.

So give your 200% in interviews, but don’t be too disappointed if you don’t move forward afterwards.

Have clear goals and a detailed timeline in mind

I was going to move to Canada in mid-July. I told myself that, if I wasn’t going to get a decent job by mid-September, I would take on a simpler job like barista or waiter. (Luckily, though, it didn’t get to that point.)

It’s good to give yourself some time when it comes to new beginnings, and despairing about not finding a job the first few weeks you start searching is not helpful at all.

I would also add: start early. It’s never too early to start your research and search. I literally started doing so in February even though I was not going to move for at least another five months. But during that time, I had the opportunity to ask many people for help, talk to professionals in my field and grow my network. When I actually landed in Canada, I found a position within two weeks. I know people who did not have any legal restrictions whatsoever and they couldn’t find a job for 5 to 10 months. It’s crazy, especially if I think that they might have been much more qualified than I was.

The bottom line is: divide your timeline by setting realistic goals and sticking to them accordingly. If you’ve just started your search, adjust your expectations depending to how it goes but don’t lower them–yet!

Have plans C, D and E ready in case A and B don’t work out

With time, I’ve realized that maturity is acknowledging that you might not get what you’re working so hard for. Though I have some problems with the word acceptance, it is important to recognize that we don’t always get what we want. And that’s okay. (Just kidding, it’s definitely not, but you need to act like it.)

What if you don’t get your dream job? As mentioned in the previous point, adjust your expectations and perhaps aim at a more basic job that’ll be easier to get. What if you don’t find a job at all? Consider other paths, like studying or moving somewhere else altogether. That depends, of course, on your legal status in your target country and economical availability, so to each their own.

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