Optimists: Leaders of the Job Hunt

Optimism. Yes, optimism. By now, I’ve used the dreaded word a good three times. At this point you’ve probably rolled your eyes, scoffed, possibly reconsidered giving me another chance, and then promptly decided to exit this article without further hesitation.

Unless you’re an optimist of course.

Remaining hopeful whilst searching for a job can seem like a chore at any stage in your career. If you’re like most of us and have had to face the struggles of continual corporate rejection (if not — you can’t sit with us), then reminding yourself to not only remain hopeful, but motivated and enthusiastic, can be more exhausting than ironing your best shirt for that interview you’ve got next week (I hope).

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about how important a positive state-of-mind can be in any situation, we’ve had enough ‘studies’ your morning breakfast shows have covered to confirm that.

So instead, here’s a few tips, from a pro-pessimist, yet undeniable ‘realist’ (that’s the cool kids word for optimist), about how to stay motivated when all the emails you receive begin with “We appreciate your interest in our company….’

  1. Reflect.

No, I’m not recommending you go on an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ journey after every rejection. You need to know that every application sent, every interview done, is a magical, character building experience. You’ll leave more skilled and talented than when you came in, simply because of experience.

So I present you with a choice. You may either choose to retain these skills and grow from them, or dissolve them into your post-interview-self-pity ice cream-binge.

As soon as you leave any interview, equip yourself with a good-old pen and notepad (or just furiously type away on the notes section of your phone), and reflect on your experience on the train-ride home, whilst drowning out your sorrows to some melancholic tunes (what do people listen to these days? Drake? Adele?). Just don’t cry on public transport whilst doing this. That makes me uncomfortable, and this isn’t about you.

Reflect on what you did well, when you let yourself down, what you said when the intimidating interviewer gave you that weird look that may haunt you forever, and how you’ll go about things next time.

Remember that job hunting is a science. This may be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. Go back to Year 7, in science class when you struggled to understand the concept of reliability. It was basically repetition, and keeping an eye out for errors. Job seeking is the same. Experiment, rectify errors, and repeat. Repeat meaning, apply and take the opportunities presented to you.

Do this, and you’ll be one step closer to landing that dream job. One step closer to being able to transform interviews from an intimidating conversation with an elite Harvey Spector/Don Draper-esque man, into a relaxed conversation about the weekend football.

2. Ask for feedback.

An important note, which many of us overlook, especially amidst the optimism slump, is forgetting to ask for feedback. Companies have a brand to maintain and as a result, you have power. If they’re not employing you, the least they can do is provide you with adequate feedback. You’re allowed to call up, send an email and ask them for feedback on your application or interview, and they should respond. You may get lucky and receive a response, a barrage of criticism, littered with superficial flattery. This is of utmost value to you, because you won’t be making the same mistakes again.

3) Get off the Internet.

Here you are, reading this tedious blog post on the Internet. Here I am, collecting memes to add to said blog post on the Internet. Despite this, and our continual need to search for opportunities on the World Wide Web, to find a job, sometimes you just have to get off the Internet. You’ve exhausted all your seek.com options, scrolled past the internship and graduate opportunities that may or may not apply to you, and you’re not sure where to turn to next.

The hidden job market. Cold call that company you want to be a part of, express your keen interest, leave your contact details with them. Connect with someone you aspire to work with, or even learn from, on LinkedIn. Offer them a coffee. You may think this is absurd, a practice reserved for the extroverts of this world. Trust me, it frightens me too, but it’s more common, and widely accepted than you think.

I know you’ve heard this before, but you’ve got to network. People aren’t going to give you opportunities; you need to show them you’re worth their time. Don’t be afraid to ask what type of person they’re looking for. You might even realise that it’s not the job you’re looking for. Taking action and control will fuel your optimism, inaction will not.

So there you have it, your job-search optimism handbook. Despite it being a struggle for me to not simply say ‘cheer-up, sure you’ll get the next one’ and put an end to things, I know that the implementation of these highly valuable, scientifically-proven, not-just-off-the-top-of-my-head suggestions will land you that next Job. (or the next one….or definitely the one after that.)

— Yusuf from Presumi

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