Since I graduated college four years ago, I’ve held four full-time “put on my resume” kind of jobs. I’ve also been a babysitter, a dog sitter, a Bank of America teller (for two days), a shoe and flip-flop saleswoman, and a 24 Hour fitness front desk receptionist. But who’s counting, right?
The point is–I know how to get a job. I’m damn good at it. Some friends say I’m like a professional job-getter, because I’ve been known to always be looking for a job.
It’s not that I planned my career this way, it just sort of happened…like everything else in life. My first job after college was working part-time as a newspaper assistant. I knew I loved writing and I ended up loving that job. I waited 6 months before I was hired full-time. In the interim, I was working 7 days a week to make ends meet but I knew when I became a full-time reporter that it would all be worth it. And it was.
But I quickly realized that if I wanted a career, newspapers probably weren’t the best place to be. So I moved on to public relations. My salary took a 25% pay jump. It was great. Until 2009 rolled around and decided to take my job with it. We were completely dead at work and I had already been searching for a job for FIVE months. I was driving myself insane.
But then one day in February 2009, an ad on Monster popped up and I fit the description perfectly. I applied and a month later–the same day my boss told me she had to cut my working days from five to three–I got the job, and a 30% bump in pay again. (Obviously, my starting salary as a newspaper reporter was excruciatingly low).
I thought this job–working for a top 20 ad agency in the country–would be the perfect resume builder. But almost as soon as I started, I heard horror stories. I didn’t keep my hopes up and was simply thrilled to have my very own office with a door and everything! In my opinion–I had made it!
Two months later, there was a company-wide 10% paycut (so my 30% pay bump turned out to be 20%) and rumors of a layoff started. After only six months on the job, I was laid off.
But do not fret–you must have underestimated my mad job-seeking skills. Because you see, the lay-off rumors were rampant and I wasn’t going to be stupid. I told everybody and their dog that I was searching for a job–and I really mean everybody. I sent out a mass email to everyone I knew, I contacted old high school friends on Facebook, I knew LinkedIn like the back of my hand, I even emailed other bloggers asking for job leads! I had no shame, and what I learned most, is that people love to help. Any good person will go out of their way to help someone else out. And in 2009–that’s all you could hope for.
I applied to everything online too, but I wasn’t dumb–this was mid-2009, the lowest point of the economy, who was going to hire a PR professional with about 1.5 years of experience? And there’s no way I was going to be making as much as I had been making.
I didn’t keep my hopes up. But then one random Friday morning, my old boss called. “Hey I had lunch with so-and-so and they’re looking for a young PR rep with local media contacts, give him a call.” By the time I got into the office, he had called me. I met with him on the weekend for coffee and by Monday night, I had landed myself a job…with a 15% pay raise. Because I’m just bad ass like that.
And now I’m facing another potential lay-off. The rumors are merely whispers, but I can feel it coming. A part of me thinks I should be very worried. How will we pay our bills? Will we spiral into debt? What will happen to our savings?
But I remain calm. I’ve looked into unemployment benefits and so far it seems that I will get the maximum because of my salary. I’ve also secured a sporadic babysitting job, and currently, I just started doing some part-time freelance work to pad up our savings account while I can. I would still be taking a ginormous paycut, but I feel that we’ll be okay. In my next job, I really want something longterm, where I enjoy doing what I do and I love the people I work with. And of course, I’d also still like a competitive salary 😉
- Tell everyone. And I mean, everyone. Tell your dog walker, your manicurist, your grocery bagger. Someone is bound to know of someone who knows of someone who is looking for the same thing you specialize in! It takes a while for the message to get around, but eventually, you’ll start getting leads. My old boss already knew I was looking for a job, so when she had lunch with someone, she knew right away to recommend me!
- Get daily online emails from all job search sites, and then scour the other ones that don’t sell emails. Indeed, Simply Hired, Career Builder, Monster, Mashable, Craigslist (I’ve gotten excellent leads through Craigslist!)
- Go on interviews even if you don’t really want the job. When I first start my job search, I apply to everything I would remotely qualify for. Then I get called for an interview, and I get all nervous. At worse, it can be practice. At best, you might get a referral for another job! During one of my most desperate times (*cough* two wees ago *cough*) I went on an interview for a Cremation society. Uh…yeahhhh. I didn’t expect much of it, and as soon as I walked in, I realized I couldn’t do it, but I went through with the interview anyway and I ended up hitting it off with the interviewer and he recommended me for two other positions at different companies! Crazy, right??? You just never know where you might get a lead.
- Realize it takes time. This one is probably the hardest. I’m definitely a “Need to have an answer NOW!” kind of person, and waiting around for a job to land in my lap is one of the hardest things. But once you land a job, it makes it allll worth it.