I ran into a friend a back a few weeks ago who shared that, after nine months of searching, she’d finally found a job! Following a lot of consideration and prayer about the future, my friend left her job last year to search for one in a related-but-different field.
Her credentials were impressive and her experience was pretty much all any organization in this new sphere could ask for. She pounded the pavement for months looking for a job: doing numerous informational interviews, reaching out to old contacts, making new contacts, submitting countless resumes and applications, going on formal interviews, starting negotiations for specific positions.
She was *this close* to an offer for the type of job she was looking for several times. It looked like everything was lining up, and yet it never quite did.
This job she finally got (and is very excited about) came through just when she was near the end of her rope and near the end of her savings account.
I was reminded of several important lessons while watching her job search:
- Network, network, network: most of the “close” offers she received were a result of relationships she had built, and being recommended for positions by people who knew her.
- Be prepared to wait: I’ve heard an anecdotal statistic that for every $10,000 you hope to make in your salary, expect one month of concentrated job searching. It takes that long to network with the right people, for enough of the right types of positions to open up, and for your skills to match with enough of those positions to be considered. I don’t know if her salary lines up with that statistic, but I do know it is rare that you start looking for a new job and find one in the first month or two.
- Don’t be afraid to say no: while she was getting anxious to find a job, she closed down negotiations on a few positions that were moving towards an offer. She knew they weren’t a good fit for her. Taking the “wrong” job out of fear or desperation just leads to another search in a few months or years. Or, even worse, you could end up being stuck somewhere you dislike for a long time all because you weren’t confident enough in what you wanted to say “no thank you.”
- I know this is a tough one when your finances are tenuous – some people don’t feel they have the “luxury” of saying no to a job because they need the income right away. But even if you have to take a job for financial reasons, keep looking for the “right” job.
- Follow Up Again: the job she is now working in was a result of an informational interview she did back in the winter. She emailed them a few times between then and now letting them know she was still available and interested. If it were me, I might have taken their first “no thank you” and walked away, thinking that were the end of the conversation. She was persistent, but not pushy, reminding the company of her skills, interest and availability. It resulted in her getting this job.
Finding a new job is hard work – it almost seems like a full-time job itself! Be prepared financially and emotionally for a longer search than you might want. But network, be patient and keep following up!