Monday, January 23, 2012

Life Unemployed

It's like submitting a short story to a magazine. You spend hours polishing your submission, reading and rereading the guidelines, checking your manuscript more times than necessary to confirm you followed all the rules and caught all grammatical errors. Then, you submit it. Several days or weeks...or months later, you get an email or snail mail saying, "we like it but, it's not for us." No matter how many times you get that response, it cuts right through you.

At least you get a response. I spend hours catering my cover letter for a specific job, using the right words, proving I'm more than qualified, read and reread everything for grammatical errors and then... nothing. It feels like all my hard work goes down some black hole. Unread! The fun thing about it-you have to do it all over again.

I keep reading advice saying to contact the employer a week later to make sure they got your application. This is supposed to put your application at the top of the pile. It annoys me when I read this. I don't know what job ads they're looking at. The ones I see only include an email address; others have a link taking you to their online application. More often then not, the ad says no phone calls please. They never include a name. So, how am I supposed to contact them! I could email but what good would that do if the message simply fell down the black hole.

Articles telling us employers are looking for reasons not to hire you don't help. They're interesting but they do not help the nerves. I used to take comfort when employers told me they'd file my resume in case a position opened that I qualified for until I read this was another black hole. Unless the employer had a reason to look for it, my resume would never be looked at again.

I hate to sound old but, getting a job today is so much harder than it used to be- job hunting was never easy! Some days I think, "What's the point?" You don't even get a form email saying you didn't get the job. Your beautiful application was probably thrown away unread or sitting in someone's mailbox. Those days I step back and do something else for awhile. My cover letter would be less than what it should if I worked on it when I felt down.

I am so grateful for my writing. Now more than ever. I don't know what I'd do without it.
The frustrations of job-hunting don't bother me as much while I'm finishing my first novel, ordering business cards (They are awesome by the way. Did you know creating a QR Code is free? And, it's just like uploading an image), trying to figure out my brand as a writer and being more active on Social Media. It's so much fun. Getting my writing career off the ground makes everything else seem so insignificant.

The key is to keep moving forward. It's difficult when you have nothing to show for all your hard work and you're watching people's faces drop as you tell them you haven't gotten any responses. Focus on what you have to do next, the next job you need to apply for, how can you improve your resume and cover letter, are there any new job-hunting tips you need to know.

More importantly, I stay out of my apartment as much as possible. I go to the library around mid-day almost every day and stay until closing. The main NYPL is gorgeous and more importantly, it's free to use. I keep my mind busy so I only think about the things I need to do not the things that haven't happened. It works, most of the time ;)
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