How to Apply For Jobs and Get Results

Last summer I unexpectedly found myself with the strong need to find a new job. Luckily, I found a new job in two months, which is the shortest time frame for public sector jobs in project management/portfolio management sphere. Below are the steps I took and some lessons learned along the way.

So what does it take to find a new job?

  • Mental Focus
    • Looking for a new job is a very stressful task. It definitely takes ongoing effort to continue applying and adjusting your resume every time you send an application. Recognize that looking for a job actually a job in itself and dedicate your time and effort because it impacts your life significantly – from career development and fulfilment to basic ability to pay for your bills. You need the job so you are the one to put the effort (and not the hiring manager).
  • Learning to Control Your Emotions.
    • I must admit, I got so focused on finding a new job and getting through interview that I literally made myself sick. I had two interviews scheduled next to each other, and after the first one I felt very sick. At first I felt sorry for myself. Then I got angry that I led myself to be that stressed about a trivial thing such as finding a job. Everyone has to do it, all the time. I actually got so angry that for the second interview I showed up not just prepared but feeling so good about myself that every question I saw as a challenge for something I knew very well so I actually got the job. It was like the feeling when you are preparing to Ace that exam and every question looks like a joke. You can do it!
  • Surround yourself with the right resources:
    • Surround yourself with the right resources to keep you focused – start reading and following career-focused groups on LinkedIn, professional blogs, read interview tips and common interview questions, study body language, discover professional networks, you can even follow Instagram accounts that inspire you for you next career move. There are a lot of books and articles to prep you for this process and increase your chances of success.
    • Create visual boards, write letter to yourself from the future where you already got a job, create a list of things you need to do to ensure you are very prepared for the interview, get a special interview outfit put together, create a powerful playlist – whatever keeps you motivated!
  • Strategize
    • Before applying, think about what you would want your ideal job to be like – what position/title, what level, what organization, what location, what would you like to do, etc.
      • I am very selective when applying for jobs – I would NOT apply to a job that pays less than what I currently make, that is lower level than where I currently am, where I will do less than what I currently do. Once I went to an interview for a manager position (at the age of 27 which is unheard of in public sector. Typical managers are at least 40. The reason why I had interview was because my resume was so good, they haven’t realized how old I was before inviting me). At that interview, which was supposed to be casual (it was a lie!) a potential hiring manager and director have asked me directly for reasons for my previous job changes. The way they see it: “career-oriented high-performers that are promoted or in leadership positions put their career first, which means they are very selective of the positions they apply for to ensure that every job change adds more responsibilities along with the pay increase.” Side note: it might be easier if someone ELSE is paying for your bills.
    • Apply for 3 jobs every day but take time to fully understand organization and position and completely customize your resume and cover letter to increase your chances., which brings me to my next point:
  • Customize your resume and cover letter
    • Do it for EVERY.JOB.YOU.ARE.APPLYING.FOR. I can’t stress this enough! Make it easy for a hiring manager to understand how your skills and experience are relevant to the position you are applying for. I keep saying to put an effort because it is so important. Do the hard work and spell out, emphasize the most relevant skills and experience to the position. Sadly, I heard Senior IT Managers say that people with the best IT skills usually have the worst, simplest resumes. Do not let your resume reduce your chances! Do not expect that a hiring manager will take time to read through your resume in detail and think about this puzzle and try to solve it himself. Most managers in my organization do not work in HR, meaning that they have a lot of things to manage: projects, priorities, existing team and so finding a new person is additional task to their already very full plate, which means that they might be glancing at resumes during their lunch break or after hours. Make it easy for them so that even 10 seconds spent on your resume will be enough to see why you are a good candidate. Help a manager to see exactly what makes you the best candidate for the job.
    • I’ve been in the position where I was selecting people for interviews, and let me tell you, there is nothing more frustrating than finding ‘random’ resumes. You can definitely tell if the person just decided to mass send his/her resumes without putting an effort and understanding organization. In my case, I was looking for a new talent for modeling agency and I’ve got a resume of someone who was working as an engineer in Russia. What it tells me about the person is that he/she focused on their own needs and not on what I need as a hiring manager and I would definitely not spend time getting to know this person through interviews.
  • Acknowledge that it is a 2-steps process:
    • you need to put significant effort to apply for a job and you also need a significant effort to do well on your interview. Most people focus only on one of those but you really need to pay attention and prepare for both parts. However, significant effort does not mean stress, anxiety and negative self-talk. My most successful interviews (like last one) were when I was least stressed because I either did not think I want/need this job and just went to show off my skills and meet new people, or when I got really mad at myself for stressing out about job search to the point that I was focusing more on my stress and less on the process and outcome. This is when I got so angry that I focused on proving everyone everything and just showing what I’ve got, treating the interview process as a challenge for which I was absolutely prepared.
  • Do not give up!
    • It is important to stay focused and do not give up. There are a lot of opportunities that get filled because someone knew someone, and as unfair as it is, you need to continue moving along and hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I must also add that even if someone hires someone they know for the job you would love to have, know that karma exists! Last year I have applied for my dream job and the position was filled and I did not even got invited to the interview (I actually had experience and education that met all criteria in the job posting. line by line). However, I applied to another job in the same place (lower level) and I got it. A year later, I was promoted and got the very dream job I wanted a year ago. So it is like with love – what is yours will become yours.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. ViviLaVita says:

    love this!! very useful!!

    Liked by 1 person

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