Applying means SOMEthing, but not everything

I have done a lot of job searching in my life. Some of them went well. Most didn’t, truth be told. I have applied for way more jobs than I have ever been offered jobs. In my years of searching and now coaching others, I have learned some important lessons. Applying for a job- new, lateral, promotion- means something. It means something, but it doesn’t mean everything.

Job searching is hard. It means something to put yourself into the market.

Something

  • Applying/looking for a job is a full-time job. It’s work. Search, prepare unique resumes and cover letters for each one, wait, get your hopes up, repeat.
  • Do the work and put your best foot forward. That’s all you can do.
  • We tend to “what if” on the negative side of things. What if I don’t get this job? What if I do get it and my boss is awful?  What if I get it and I am awful? What if I get it and I hate it?
  • This “what iffing” is totally normal. It is human instinct to fear the unknown. But, don’t live there. Trust me, I’ve been there. It’s not pretty.
  • It takes courage to put yourself out there, let no one tell you any different.
  • Applying for jobs is an act of hope. You hope to get picked. You hope that they see in you all the things you see in yourself and they give you a shot.
  • Hope is a good thing.
  • Applying for jobs is draining. See bullet #1
  • Applying for jobs and not getting chosen is really draining.

Job searching is hard. It means something to put yourself into the market. But, it doesn’t mean everything.

Not everything

  • To even get to the phone interview stage is huge. It means you have made it past multiple screens (robots, more robots, and maybe a person or two) already. Congratulations! That is a big deal. We need to tell ourselves and each other that more often, I think.
  • You did the work. You put forward your best application. That is all you can do.
  • Your identity, your worth, your sense of self, your gift to the world has nothing to do with whether or not you got the job.
  • Your identity, your worth, your sense of self, your gift to the world has everything to do with who you are, how you treat people, and the legacy you leave.
  • Not getting a job isn’t personal. While it feels personal to you, it’s not about you personally. Ironic that I am saying this as I am a person who takes almost everything personally. But, I have fallen down this rabbit hole and beaten myself up over not getting picked. It’s like gym class and prom all over again. It sucks, sure. Let yourself be sad. Wallow for a bit with your yoga pants and NetFlix. And then move on.
  • There are hundreds of factors beyond your control- ageism, sexism, racism, nepotism, quotas, internal candidates, external candidates, “fit” (shudder)- that influence who gets picked.
  • The person doing the hiring has an agenda that may or may not ever be revealed to you. It may not even be their agenda. The agenda isn’t about you.
  • The most qualified, most educated, most skilled person doesn’t always get the job. The most qualified, most educated, most skilled person as deemed by the person(s) setting the agenda get the job.
  • Read the third bullet again.

You decide your worth. You decide your joy. Don’t let getting a job, or not getting a job, do the deciding for you.


If you need help with your resume, cover letter, or interview coaching, contact me: sheldrakeconsulting@gmail.com. It’d be my honor to help you put your best foot forward.

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