Why I nearly gave up on my dream of writing after my hell year of job hunting.
Sick and tired of hearing every ‘expert’ opinion on why my job hunt was failing, I was ready to throw in the towel like Rocky Balboa in Rocky V (3-star film).
And, maybe they were right. Maybe it was time to give up on my dream and just find another career, that’s what lots of people do, right? How bad could it be?
I’d even constructed a clever cover story, so when people asked:
“So, Rochelle, what do you do for work?”
My partner and I would both say:
“Rochelle’s just finished her Masters, so she’s just taking it easy.”
Until a year passed since I’d finished my Masters. And the contract work I was doing came to an end.
It was then I started to freak out.
Let me assure you, it wasn’t as if I wasn’t looking for work. I was grovelling harder than Jay-Z after Lemonade was released (Slay Bey).
I was basically a bloody encyclopaedia of Cover Letters. Creative letters, formal letters, funny letters, sad letters, and even one with a drawing of a cat (it made sense in context).
As someone who doesn’t (usually) identify as narcissistic, I was obsessed and consumed with the concept of trying to sell myself.
I started to think that maybe if I wrote “Sir” instead of “Prospective Employer”, it’d give me a better chance. Maybe it was my font letting me down, or the background colour of my resume. I was a girl obsessed.
Feeling defeated, I began to question if I actually had skills in my chosen craft. Had the last 10 years of writing been a pointless pursuit of fulfilling my childhood dream of writing?
You know how people use that line “It’s not you, it’s me”?
It was obviously and definitely me. How could it be the companies fault? They obviously know what they’re doing.
My mum was convinced that all I had to do was march on down to the place I wanted to work, hand them my resume, and the job would be mine.
My friend’s had a similar view, to just arrange a coffee date with someone from the company I wanted to work for, and that would be that. I’d be signing the dotted line on the employment contract before I’d even had a chance to finish my long macchiato.
That’s what frustrated me the most, that people honestly thought I wasn’t getting work because I wasn’t TRYING hard enough.
The recruitment agencies that contacted me were probably the biggest kick in the guts. Having had little contact with them in the past, I thought they had actually sought me out because they saw some kind of unique talent in me.
Lol. The joke was on me.
I went for three meetings with two different agencies, only to be told my skills didn’t match the criteria of the job they were hiring for. Which meant they hadn’t even read my resume to begin with, or they just wanted to keep me in the backburner.
My morale was at an all-time low.
And hey, I’ve worked as a waitress in a place that served sh*t, undercook food, so I’ve had my fair share of not so great days.
I had the skills, had the education, had the experience, but no one even wanted to bring me in for an interview.
And, I’m generally not one who gives up easily.
Hell, I broke my collarbone at 9 am on a 40-degree day in New York City, dragged myself all alone across town to three different hospitals sans painkillers, and by 3 pm I was front row at the Comedy Cellar laughing along to Louis CK. Sling and all.
So, what the f*ck was I doing wrong?
I’ve always found it interesting how people are so quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong, but they offer very few solutions. No one gave me that solution. No one answered the question.
So, I’m gonna do what they didn’t, and let you in on what happened next.
Signing up for everything and anything, and 100% sure of what I was doing, I created a LiveHire profile. A LiveHire profile is basically like your own personal online resume that you have complete control over. And trust me, controls not a word you hear much when you’re looking for work.
You upload all of your work experience, skills, education, as well as if you’re currently available, what your salary expectation is, what gender your identity with, and other minority identifiers.
From there, you can join companies Talent Communities, which means the hiring managers of these companies can contact you if they have a job that fits your skills, or they can in the future if another job role comes up.
You don’t have to fart around with fancy resumes, cover letters, nothing like that. You literally make a profile and…. wait.
So, I joined LiveHire’s Talent Community. Checkmate job hunting.
LiveHire’s Founder Mike Haywood contacted me directly through the platform and we arranged a time to video chat. He took the time to explain LiveHire to me in the way that only the founder can.
Yeah, let’s just pause for a second. The Founder took the time to chat. And he’d even read the comedy and festival reviews I’d written… and he liked them. Huh??
Mike taught me a lot of things in that hour-long video chat, but the main things that I took away from that first meeting were:
A) LiveHire was sick of it being about who you know, not what you know. They want to give everyone equal opportunity to find their dream careers
B) They believe the emphasis should be on will over skill. Skills can be taught, but passion can’t be manufactured
C) They want to promote and create diversity in the workforce
They even had an initiative in place for attracting women in the tech industry….
My faith in the recruitment process had been restored. Regardless of it I got this job or not, I knew that I wasn’t alone in my dissatisfaction with the traditional process and that things were about to change.
Why hadn’t I heard of LiveHire earlier? Why hadn’t someone given me this advice?
Next, I was invited in for a cultural interview at LiveHire. To say I was nervous was an understatement. My past interview experiences had been less than pleasant… So I wasn’t feeling my usual self. But I pulled it together, and TF I did.
Over the course of two hours, I met with four LiveHire team members, so that they could assess my fit to the company.
During this meeting we chatted about:
- LiveHire’s values
- My values
- If we were cats or dog people
- Our joint addiction to coffee
My confidence was back, baby!
The rest of the interview process was nothing but positive. They involved writing copy, pitching ideas, and just… chatting!
I felt like myself again. Like, someone actually cared about my writing and my craft, even though I may not have had the greatest connections in the world.
It’s not about the coffees, the fancy fonts, or your brother’s girlfriend’s uncle helping you out. It’s about gaining access to opportunities, to being given a chance.
LiveHire actually gives you that chance. Seriously, give it a shot. Don’t waste a year thinking you’ve got no talent like I did.