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Be Imaginative in Looking for Your Job

Career Exploration

Finding my current job proved to be an exhilarating experience.

I learnt so much about job hunting in the process. The most important discovery was to use a variety of approaches in the job search rather than doing the same thing over again. But it took time to find this out. I was lucky enough to have a life coach (through my spouse’s company) and I had a few sessions with her. It was here where I learnt to develop my own personal approach as to how to attack the job hunt.

This is what I resolved to do, as a result of those sessions:

  1. Volunteering
  2. Joining Toastmasters
  3. Pursuing a sporting activity
  4. Looking for jobs online through companies and recruitment agencies
  5. Visiting recruitment agents in person.

We moved to the US in 2016. My spouse had a job and it was agreed that I would work as well. The first thing I did was to spend a lot of time online. I thought that going online would provide all the answers. It was certainly a logical conclusion to arrive at. After all, name one employer or recruitment agency worth its salt that doesn’t have an online presence. What could be a more certain way of reaching as many potential employers as possible than to target them by email?

I churned out dozens of resumes and carefully crafted cover letters that spoke directly to the requirements of the job spec. I spent hours doing this. But every time I received back the same standard response: "Thank you for your resume. While we think it’s impressive, you are not quite the right fit for our current needs." No more than that. Always polite, but no direct engagement ever followed as to what exactly it was that was missing.

Eventually, through sheer desperation, I decided to be bold. Instead of firing resumes off to recruitment agents I would pay them a visit in person. The first time I did this, I was very nervous. I was convinced I would be told off at the door. That someone would scold me and ask why I hadn’t called or sent an email instead. This impression turned out to be wrong. The very first recruitment agent I visited in person welcomed me inside, gave me a seat and a form to fill out. Afterwards, they gave me internet access and showed me how to upload my details onto their website. As it turned out, this was the agency that found me my current job.

Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. It took several weeks for me to get the interview, as can be expected. But all the while I religiously did all the other things that I’d set out to do in my life coach sessions. And I really believe that this is the right approach. Because the truth is that no one knows where their next job will come from. It might come from a recruitment agent, but it could just as well come from a referral. Perhaps someone in your run club knows of an opportunity. Or one of your fellow Toastmasters has a vacancy at his or her company.

I’m reminded of the healthy diet advice that some people give and how this can be used as a metaphor to apply to the job search. The ideal plate of food should contain a variety of colors: the ruby red of pomegranates, the vibrant oranges of squashes, the bright yellows of citrus fruits, the rich greens of kale and spinach. In much the same way, your approach to job-hunting should be balanced and wholesome. Or put differently, it should be varied and interesting. If you knew where your next job was coming from you wouldn’t be looking for one. You would simply go direct to the source. But the fact is that you don’t know. So your approach must be as imaginative and colorful as you can make it. And what’s more is that you’ll enjoy the process and develop yourself in many other ways.

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