We all know the current economy is a disaster wrapped in lots of strange numbers peppered with corrupt bureaucratic decisions and practices, but that shouldn’t get anyone down. Yes, the job market is in the proverbial toilet, and that is a serious buzz-kill. Sure, searching for a job, even in a good economy, is like sludging through the business end of a pissed off volcano. If you’re like me, though, my Internet compatriots, none of this should depress you too much.
There are many ways the system and the higher ups managing said mess try to proliferate depressive feelings, and wrapping oneself in the dingy blanket of pessimism is only fueling their evil quest. So, as the winter eventually draws to a close, fabricate yourself an imaginary (or real, even better) hat of optimism and punch the job search and market right in the kisser (with some advice from me).
The first step in finding a job is not only deciding what you want to do, but managing your expectations. Unless you are a prodigy, any type of employment will start at some bottom rung. And that’s completely fine; there is no rush to land the dream job, especially if you are confident in your own abilities and interests. Keep your confidence, optimism, even in the face of an uphill climb. Bosses and Senseis of all sorts will respond to a simple, helpful attitude (pessimistic grimness will get you nowhere unless you are a truly talented artist or innovator, and then you still need a good numbers type person).
Now that you have confidence, construct a resume/CV and cover letter filled with all the awesome stuff you’ve done (even if you think you’ve done virtually nothing). Experience you will accrue over time, but confident prose and presentation is something you have to feel and maintain. Find samples on the Internet and improvise your own language in place of stock phrases, especially if you are going for a creative job. Unfortunately, many larger companies use computers to filter resumes, so make sure you are really reading job descriptions. Your goal should be to present to these folks what they would like and more. You are selling yourself, yes, but you still have to convey that you are human (a weird paradox but good to keep in mind).
For interviews, never be afraid to command the room. You don’t have to imagine the employers naked (unless it’s in your imagination’s best interest), but you can relax, get loosey goosey, and try to bring the interview to a conversation. Getting the job is about bringing that formal approach into a conversational realm, indicating your ease at working with others and how beneficial it would be for that particular job to have someone like you on board. Again, don’t rush it, you have al the time in the word (you confident applicant, you!).
Some higher level ideas could be securing a bomb-ass business card, like the ones with sweet designs and are far from the American Psycho aesthetic. Being employable is being memorable, and a business card that catches the eye shouldn’t hurt. Also, as said before, remain positive and charming, at the ready to kill with kindness, because you never know who you’re going to meet. You could meet your future employer the moment you are done reading this sentence on your iPhone you were somehow able to afford. Politeness may seem a bit false to some, but blatant pessimism in the face of a crap job market, while darkly enjoyable in Internet comments, doesn’t attract employers. And if you totally don’t know what you want to do ever, make a presence online or simply find ways to help other folks you know (a job could open up). Ultimately, avoid being the type of person who talks in person and online about being rejected from jobs (“Why won’t anyone hire me?” is pretty popular), because that’s a repeating, downward cycle.
I know what you’re all thinking; I do sound a bit like one of those sheeple. It can be crushing, the search for employment, especially when you feel like you are selling yourself. But keep an open mind and a steady grasp of optimistic thinking, and sooner or later that uphill struggle will pay off, not in dollars and cents, but in job satisfaction, which you ultimately have to define for yourself.