Growing stronger ...

”I’ve just started my final year at uni and will begin a job hunt fairly soon. I’m worried about how much of a challenge finding a job might be, so is there any overarching general advice you can give that will keep me going and get me through, sooner or later?”

At first glance, this question (asked via email by Rory) sounds a bit sweeping, but in fact it’s a good idea to adopt a clear strategy from the beginning.

We see people in the news who’ve been hunting for perhaps 2 years and not even had a sniff yet. It’s sad, but simply doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result somewhere down the line, is similar to just playing the lottery. You might get lucky one day.

Alternatively -

  1. Plan to adapt, so that you’re steadily improving your chances each step of the way.
  2. Research each opportunity you are applying for thoroughly and adapt your CV / application accordingly. It’s called ‘tailoring’.
  3. Don’t think of a knock-back as a rejection. It’s an opportunity to get feedback. Think of it as free expert consultancy.
  4. So follow a process of i) data gathering, ii) analysis and iii) ruthless self-assessment. That will show you what, where and how to improve.
  5. Then take action to improve. Correct deficiencies, on your part.

Never take things personally since, perversely, many rejections are probably not about you but more about the arbitrariness of the selection processes being used. Never the less, if you ask for feedback, you force a coherent response about your application. Use that information.

Some useful tips are:

  • It’s a process to stick with, since five applications or interviews might give five different things to improve upon. Frustrating? Yes, but useful, never the less. If you work hard on each issue, you’re steadily improving your chances, rather than just doing the same old thing, over and over.
  • Remember though, tailoring is one thing, but don’t fall into the trap of feeling obliged to completely re-write your CV and history after each rejection. Build on what is obviously working for you and keep correcting those deficiencies.

Good luck.