I moved across the country without a job. I began my job search earlier this year and had a solid idea of the type of company I wanted to join and the skills I have to offer. With my vision set, I outlined a goal to network and submit for two opportunities per day in order to increase my chances of discovering my ideal fit. After a 20-hour road trip, I arrived in Milwaukee, WI on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The next day, I had my first interview. Six weeks later, to the day, I accepted an incredible job offer. Here is what I learned from this experience.
- Know that it will be. No. Matter. What.
Your temporary designation of “unemployed” ignites anxiety in others. Several of my friends and family members were fear-stricken when I chose to move without a job. In the face of doubts from others, I had to remind myself daily that I would be okay, that the perfect role and I would find each other. To keep my mind on the positive track, I journaled and listened to “you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you” recordings. Okay not really. But I did listen to a few Esther Hicks you tube videos to keep my thoughts in the right vibration.
- Find ways to earn $ in the interim.
I joined Care.com and was fortunate to get a part time, flexible caregiving schedule that still accommodated my interviews and networking events. Being financially responsible, I had money saved, but earning extra cash helped offset the cost of manicures and vegetables to keep me polished and healthy going into meetings.
- Learn how to bounce back from rejection.
There are a million reasons you didn’t get the job. One friend told me that because my address said Florida, the recruiter immediately tossed it in the “no” pile. Another time, I hastily updated my resumé and misspelled a word; I was mortified. Sometimes companies do not get back to you at all. Whatever the scenario, follow up, be gentle with yourself and move on, remembering what my grandma always says: everything happens for the best.
- Pace yourself.
Beware of the companies that want to move fast or sell you on a job that does not feel right. In one instance, I was meeting with several companies, and as soon as one of the companies found out with whom I was meeting, they made me an offer the next day. Another time, I had a meeting where the Director told me I had the perfect profile for a completely different role than the one we were discussing. Maybe the other role was perfect for you. Maybe it was not what you envisioned at all (true in my case). Either way, take your time. You’re interviewing them, too. This is a major decision; you will likely spend equal or even more time with your coworkers than you will with your family. Identifying shared values and work ethic with your future company is paramount, regardless of how long it takes.
- Leverage connections. Or not.
In nearly all of my previous roles, it was through a friend, former coworker, or family member that I got my foot in the door to ultimately obtain my position at the company. Given my previous experiences, it seemed like the trusted referral method would be the way I obtained my next career move. It wasn’t. My (triple-spell checked) resume got me in. Yes, tap your connections, and also remember that you are enough.
- Aim For 100% authenticity.
Let your professional personality shine. Be genuine at each touch-point, including the questions you ask during your interviews and in your handwritten thank you notes. People want to know about your accomplishments and what makes you special and they can discern your level of thoughtfulness and investment from all of your communication. I asked the Director about his birthday celebration with his family (he had mentioned in our first meeting that it was coming up). I asked another contact about her son’s wedding the previous weekend. Getting to know each other is a two-way street. Prepare for queries such as: what book are you reading, what activities do you enjoy in your free time, etc. Above all, smile, solidly stand in your (obviously amazing) shoes, and be true to your self.