I wrote the following post a few years back when I was desperately searching for a job for MONTHS. In my desperation, this is what I wrote. A dear friend of mine is on the job hunt (Go Ashley! I believe in you!) and so I thought I would share what I have learned about finding a job...
Filling out job applications is the ultimate test in optimism. Especially when it is your seventeenth or eighteenth application. I think my optimism runs out after the third or fourth “the position has been filled, we picked somebody else” email or phone call. After ten or so it's just an automatic reaction. “They're hiring? Ok, I'll fill out the application even though I know they'll just say no.” After the twentieth one it becomes something of an obsession. You end up saying to yourself, “The twenty-fifth time's the charm!” while scribbling away with your pen and thinking about adding a comic to the back to show them that you have a “great personality”
When you realize that you're down to a dollar and you don't have any one whom you haven't already hit up for a loan, the job application process becomes your last hope. Filling out that application feels like running the last mile in a marathon, or pushing to the top of Mount Everest. You really don't want to have to explain about that three month gap when you decided to become a painter, or that two week job that didn't work out because your boss wanted someone prettier. You sigh over having to list references, hoping that if they are contacted they won't bring up the fact that you owe them money so "it would be great if you got a job so they could get paid back."
Emotionally, filling out job applications tends to be about as much fun as being thrown on the rack. But let us not forget the actual mental and physical torment as well. I don't know about you, but I always have a hard time remembering the exact dates of when I worked where. So filling out an application is always a wonderful game of, “I'm pretty sure it was the nineteenth because I bought that shirt with my first paycheck and that was on the twenty-sixth.”
And then there is the game of phone numbers. Now, I try to be an organized person. I have several business cards in my wallet that help with the filling out process, however what are you supposed to do when the company went bankrupt and you aren't sure where your old employer is? For all you know, they could be hiding out in Cuba. And as for addresses, sometimes I guess. I remember that there was this sweet little diner on the corner of First East, and that my job was half way down the block so that would mean it was at 150 East, right? At least it was in that general vicinity.
I remember that once I had this notebook with all of this information in it. I also have a resume with various pieces of information helpfully put where you can't miss it. Sadly, neither seem to be around when an application has been placed before me. Sometimes you'll be out for a drive, desperately scanning the many business for a “Help Wanted” sign when you actually spot one. Now when you left the house, you really didn't think there was much of a chance, so you didn't come prepared. And now you have an opportunity to pick up an application and fill it out on the spot, and you have to start guessing as to where that dry cleaning store you worked at in college was really located.
The worst part, hands down, is the part where they want you to explain why you're the best pick for the job. Now, if you're like me, you'd rather not have to explain why you are so awesome because you know, that in reality, you're not much of a hot shot. So you have to try to play up the fact that you enjoy watching people make fools of themselves, stating instead that you “enjoy helping others”. You have to make your strange obsession with pens, post it notes and paper clips sound like you are office oriented. And when it comes to standing out, you don't want to tell them that you have a collection of old books printed in a year ending in seven, but that you enjoy all that the world has to offer in terms of entertainment and learning.
When it comes down to it, filling out a job application is really another learning experience. What you learn is up to you. I've learned that it is best to not fill one out in crayon, never list old boyfriends as references and when they ask you what your greatest asset is never, ever say that you have the ability to lick your elbow. They just might ask to see you do it, and I don't perform well under pressure.
I just wanted to let y'all know that I am looking for people to do ad swaps/post swaps with me. If you're interested, feel free to email me.
(Linking up with: Tell me Tuesday, Loving Lately, GFC, Social Stack Up, Tell Me About It Tuesday)