In life, we experience days when we feel that we are making great progress in achieving our goals and other days; well we feel miserable and lose motivation to continue. I know we have all had our good and bad days, but one thing that I am learning is that staying your hopeful is what matters.
This is so relevant for job seekers who have been looking for jobs for sometime but haven’t been able to make any positive progress. You might be able to see the light at end of the tunnel, for example when you hear of a job being advertised, but it seems to fade out as you find that after months of searching, you are still waiting to get that first or dream job.
It doesn’t necessarily get better when you look at peers around you. I remember my cousin Jerop looked for a job for more than 2 years and had given out over 100+ CVs to potential employers. Did she have moments where she wanted to give up, of course yes! Who would blame her? Actually quite the contrary, people would tell her “it’s ok to give up; you've tried your best”.
So what's your best effort? How many interviews have you gone to? However many rejection emails and letters you have received, or even if you are still waiting for someone to get back to you, don't give up. One day soon, it will be your turn.
Of course we all know similar stories but ones that have a good ending. For instance, while giving a talk in our church, the CEO of one of the biggest banks in Kenya told us the story of how one lady kept on asking him for a job. Every Sunday, she would be ready with her CV in a neat envelope to hand him as a reminder of her request and capabilities. When he would make suggestions i.e. that her CV lacked depth, she would make the necessary improvements, ready to give in the improved CV the next Sunday. Despite his polite rejections, she kept on.
After a while, he noticed that unlike the frequent job requests he received daily, this lady's request were specific. She could say clearly what exactly she felt his bank lacked and how she could meet this need if given a job. She was not asking in desperation but making a fair business proposition.
So when a position for a Personal Secretary to the CEO opened up, who else but this lady did he think of, offering an interview, which she was successful at.
How to proactively keep the Hope Alive
You may feel that these and similar stories seem almost mythical and beyond your grasp, especially if you don’t have a CEO coming to your church every Sunday. However, I believe that you can apply specific points from this lady's strategies to keep going while waiting for that dream job, or even first job.
Firstly, she identified the specific place/person/ industry she was seeking a job from. Similarly you need to be specific or intentionally about the job you are seeking. Instead of thinking I can do any job I am given, take control and determine what fits for you. If you need help with this, for example Fuzu’s Career Planner, Personality Test as well as Recommended Jobs can help you understand what type of work suits you best.
When you are specific, you are likely to better prepare with knowledge of the requirements for working in this sector than someone who is a jack of all trades. Your time waiting will also be used in gaining and honing a specific skill set or keeping up with relevant industry developments, because you have a focus.
The next point is about readiness. Despite it being a Sunday when most people are relaxing, this lady was prepared for any opportunity; with her CV to hand, and more importantly, by being able to tell the CEO clear reasons why she should be employed, whenever he engaged in brief conversation with her.
Is this your level of preparedness? Because you never know when opportunity will present itself. Look to present yourself professionally in all your interactions in public. Remember that you are riding the bus, going to church and eating in restaurants with people, who maybe your future employers or colleagues. So, be mindful of how you are talking and behaving to people around you.
Always be prepared to say to anyone asking, what skills and set of experiences you would bring to benefit their business/organisation. This in itself is a skill that you need to get under your belt if you are to get a job over the person next to you. Memorize a statement such as “I believe that with my knowledge of __ (name of your field/expertise) and experience working in company (name the company you’ve worked in) where I effectively applied my skills of __ and __ (name your skills), I would be able to make a valuable contribution to your organization (that you are pitching to)”.
Don’t forget to listen to any feedback you get, even if it is negative, and act on it. Identify if there are any deficits in your presentation or skills that are being highlighted and work quickly and effectively to remedy these. Remember, when you are looking for a job, the employer’s opinion is always right.
Finally, this lady was persistent and did not come across as desperate. Similarly, and with all due sympathy to your situation, you should do all you can to not appear desperate. I believe the points above of spending time honing your skills for your specific industry and practising how you would present yourself at any opportunity, will keep you from feelings of powerlessness that fuel desperation. Remember, and I hope you believe, that you are an asset just waiting to be discovered.
My cousin Jerop eventually got her dream job and this is why I believe it is only a matter of time and proactively keeping hope alive until you get your job.
Here is to your success in job hunting.
Author: Enock Kiprono