I’m sure you’ve seen many headliners stating that the job market is getting harder and harder to break into. You may have even formed your own opinion during your job hunt, perhaps that the people trying to find a job aren’t trying hard enough or just aren’t trying all together. Let me tell you, the job market is much harder to break into than previous years. Gone are the days of walking up to a manager and handing over your resume and getting that invaluable 30 seconds’ face to face to make an impression. Now, it’s all about how well you can sell yourself through your cover letter and resume, and most of the time, not even to a human – rather a robot or ATS (Applicant Tracking System).
Qualified or Over-Qualified?
Short background on myself so you can better understand why I wrote this article. I’m in my mid-twenties and have graduated with an undergraduate business degree with emphasis in finance and construction management engineering, and a postgraduate master’s degree in finance. So, some would say I’m qualified, other companies would say I’m over qualified… and to the others I don’t have that 5 years + experience on-top of my qualifications. The kicker? I live in a different country than my native home country; I need work visas which carry restrictions and usually makes HR of companies cringe. Yes, some would say my decision to live in a different country play into not being able to find a job… partially true, but that is beside the point. Let’s get into it.
The Job Hunt Is No Easy Task
I’ve been on the job hunt for just over a year since I graduated with my Master’s degree. The process can be extremely intimidating but also exciting, and of course, downright depressing. What most people don’t realise? Job hunting becomes your job, it is bloody exhausting. The amount of effort it takes to sift through crap jobs, unrealistic jobs, finding the perfect job but then not having enough experience… and then redoing your resume and cover letter for every job, it’s exhausting. On top of the actual search, you then must interview prep as if you’ll get the job so you’re prepared. And the hardest part? Dealing with the rejection ‘job’ after job.
The sad truth… after checking my “Job Hunt” folder on my computer, I’ve applied to over 70 positions – let me say that number again, 70, that is a lot of job rejections. Those rejections suck. There’s no other explanation or word, they just suck. I applied and found jobs I really loved the sound of for companies I could see myself working at. I landed multiple interviews just to have the interviewer tell me how much they love me and see me as the perfect fit, then to reject me the next day.
Job hunting takes an emotional toll. Your confidence gets inflated as you receive the news you’ve landed an interview, you prep and feel ready, and feel you nail your interview, just to be rejected. Then the roller coaster goes downhill fast. This cycle continues throughout the whole process, but then you start to learn a thing or two about yourself.
GOOD NEWS! I have accepted a job offer with a global investment bank and could not be more excited, nervous, and every other emotion under the sun.
The Job Hunt Rollercoaster
Looking back, I remember going through a whole range of emotions from anger to sadness to elation when I found out I didn’t get the job, knowing there must be a better suited role out there for me. I would cry, sigh heavily, scream into my pillow… and just ask what’s wrong with me?! My mind would drift and say, I wasted so much money on my qualifications and education, but then next day after the rejection, I’d be over it and just saddle up and attack the job hunger games again.
I think the worst frustration brewed from companies that just never wrote back to you after you spent hours redoing your cover letter and resume… no confirmation of literally anything. Also if you’d email they would just say they’ll be in touch if you’re short listed. After this happened a bucket load of times I just told myself, yeah nah, I don’t want to work for a company that doesn’t even acknowledge an applicant.
Toward the mid-year job hunting process, I shifted my mindset and decided to be extremely fussy and not just apply for every job I found. Why? Because you don’t need to accept a job just because you’re offered it or you’ll be even more depressed. You can read about my experience with that here.
How To Deal With Constant Rejection
Rejection, so I’ve learned, is a natural part of life. You will face rejection in pretty much all things you have the chance of doing, obviously, this rejection comes in all different forms. It’s how you deal with the rejection that will set you apart from the rest. A positive mindset is the most important asset to yourself during the whole process. During my job hunt I’ll admit, a negative mindset got the best of me at times and I would become bitter of those around me who could just walk into a job, but then I reminded myself every situation is different and there’s a reason I wasn’t getting the roles I applied for.
Once you get rejection after rejection you realise that the only choice you have is to stay positive or else the gut punch of rejection will just lock you up in the corner of the ring and not let you go even when you say mercy.
My boyfriend was one of my biggest supporters. It’s important to have a support system and sometimes all you need is just that one person to listen. They don’t need to say anything, but just listen to you get your frustration out, and let yourself feel all the emotions instead of bottling them.
You learn a lot about yourself during the process and your surroundings.
This Is Also A Time Of Personal Development
When you’re forced, not by choice, to live a frugal lifestyle while you job hunt when you have been accustomed to a pretty extravagant lifestyle, you get a wake-up call. You start to actually appreciate the little things around you and the life around you. I’ve learned so much about myself, mainly that I am damn resilient, and no one can take that away from me.
When you don’t have a job, you realise how much you’ve put off catching up with friends, family, or doing things you love. I’m happy I have Amanda and this blog to steer my attention toward and it’s something I love doing, it’s helped me grow as an individual and boost my confidence to speak up and say my opinions and share my love for things.
Most importantly, on top of learning my resilience I truly have shaped my mind into finding all the positives in every situation no matter how dark it may seem. You can train your mind to understand something clearly at last and bring the light yourself.
This Process Will Give You Gain Clarity And Direction
My future is clear to me now. I know what I want to do and what I want to achieve, and applying for a crap load of jobs will definitely give insight into what you truly want to do. The 9-5 lifestyle is the “norm” but in 5-years I don’t see myself in the “norm.” Yes, I will accept a 9-5 job if I’m offered it and it adds value to my life and pushes my mind, but in 5 years do I see myself being a slave to a desk without a purpose? No. I will always be sure that no matter which role I find myself in that it provides purpose and exercises my mind.
My mind is a powerful thing, and so is yours, and it should be challenged and appreciated.
Money Does Talk
Money talks. It whispers into your ear profanities of life. It has this way of bringing elation and cloud-9 when there’s a lot of it where you just spend, or it can have you shackled up in the corner. When you don’t have a constant stream of income you start to feel stranded and locked up, and feel like there is no hope. But what I’ve realised is that in the past, I was on cloud-9 as I had an affluent up-bringing and then put into shock when there was no money to be had.
What am I getting at? Money doesn’t buy happiness, yes, I know you’ve heard that before. I’ve learned that in the past spending on big-ticket items made me happy, but for how long? Not long at all. I was always after the next big-ticket purchase item… looking back, what an expensive, unhealthy habit.
There is so much more to life than money. I know that money is a necessity, but to me, it isn’t needed in an abundance anymore. I have found so much happiness and contentment in the life that surrounds me all while living an extremely frugal lifestyle.
Extra money is better spent elsewhere and when it comes in, it won’t be going to big-ticket items, rather it will go toward having financial freedom to live the lifestyle I desire. That lifestyle doesn’t need to be lush and extravagant, I only need the necessities and to be able to live free of debt.
If you’re still reading this, thank you! It’s important to know you aren’t alone and that there are others out there facing the same challenges and the roller coaster of the job hunt hunger games.
We are so excited to announce our Interview Series that will help you prepare for your interviews, design your resume, create your cover letters, handle job rejection… and so much more!
If you want to get a bit more personal with me, I talk more about my experience in this short and sweet Youtube vid below!