I purposely did not update my blog for a while. In the beginning, it was because I was busy with the wedding. And then I wanted to enjoy the first few months of marriage.
But the real and main reason for the delay is that I am extremely uncomfortable about not working. Yes, I did move to a new country and that country happened to be the United States where work permits are hard to come by. I had it easier than most because I married an American but there is still a relatively long waiting period. I could not apply for any job until I have the card in my hands.
Starting mid-April, I scoured the internet job boards for job vacancies. My job-hunting experience was NOT easy at all! Every job requires an online application these days. Even if you call or drop by their offices, they would ask you to go online to fill out the applications. There are advantages to this.
- Applicants have access to a wide range of companies and jobs in their area.
- It is easier to apply for a job in the comfort of your own home.
- The job descriptions and qualifications are stated clearly.
But things are not as easy as they seem. The drawbacks:
- Because of the ease of access, thousands of other applicants will be applying for the same jobs and that means waaaay more competition than you would like to have.
- Online applications can be very exact. You’re screwed if you have at least one thing that might not be in their mile-long list of requirements.
- Most of your applications will be ignored or rejected due to the above reasons.
- It is easy for fly-by-night companies to fool you into believing that you are applying for a legitimate high-paying job.
- Online applications are impersonal. They cannot see you, cannot hear your voice, and cannot judge how smart you are in real life without that 1:1 interaction. Some people can be unimpressive on paper but are spectacular in real life. And some can look magnificent on paper but end up being imbeciles when it comes to the actual work.
- A lot of online applications are 50 pages long and will ask for the earth and the moon without guaranteeing an interview. Ok, I exaggerate. Still, the length and requirements get more ridiculous every year.
It doesn’t help that the requirements are now more stringent. Ninety percent of companies no longer want to spend extensive time and money to train new staff. They want employees with preloaded software. So even if you have an armful of degrees and years of experience in your field of choice, your resume will fall into that black hole of nothingness just because you failed to have requirement 126 out of 1384: know how to navigate SAP. It does not matter if you used similarly complex but different databases for the past gadzillion years. You HAVE to have that exact skill!
From my one and a half month period of searching, I learned a few tips that are extremely useful:
- Have a fantastic resume ready in both text and PDF/MS Word forms. Most applications require both. But be prepared to tweak a few details — and I mean tweak, not lie! — when needed depending on the job you are applying for.
- It’s great to have a few cover letter templates on hand. I had a generic one but I also had alternatives that I used depending on the job.
- When writing your cover letter, it’s all nice and dandy to sound articulate. But remember to KISS (keep it short and simple). Use bullet points if needed to highlight relevant skills.
- Broaden your horizons. You may have a dream position in mind but don’t hesitate to apply to other jobs that are related to your previous profession or your education. Remember, you can still keep on looking for your dream job even if you have a day job that would pay the bills.
- Related to the previous tip, don’t limit yourself to mere online applications. Register in recruitment agencies. Even if you get a temporary not-so-fantastic job, you can at least have money while continuing your job-hunting. Plus some of these agencies are connected to good companies that would permanently hire you after a short temp period.
- Don’t apply for a handful of jobs and expect a request for an interview. Literally SPAM the job boards. I submitted around 250 applications and got only a dozen invitations for an interview.
- Give yourself time. Do not get disheartened if you are still unemployed after two weeks of browsing Career Builder. If you live in the United States, then you should know that the country is still recovering from a major recession and most people wait months before finding gainful employment.
- Be leery of fly-by-night schemes. If it’s a commission-only position or if they promise you 100k a year for an chicken shit job, then it is probably too good to be true. There are hundreds of new “marketing companies” looking for “marketing consultants” and offer 60-80 thousand dollars a year. This usually means that you’ll get minimum wage base pay and the rest would be the commission you earn from selling expensive knives to random people on the road while wearing a business suit. Marketing consultant my ass.
- How do you know if it is legitimate? When you get a call or an email for an interview, there are no high promises. Valid companies do not try to draw you in, they want to see if you are a standout in a pool of hopefuls. They communication is clear, the company contacts are easy to check, and the compensation is not stated before the interview. Don’t get too excited if you see a job header that says (and believe me, they’re more common than you think) “Sales/Marketing Consultant/Promotion to Manager in 2 years/80k a year to start!!!” My point is that if it sounds too good to be true, then 98% of the time it probably is.
Here are some of the major online job boards I used:
I landed a job in a company with reasonable compensation and benefits and opportunity for growth. Perhaps not the type I had in mind, but a lot better than I expected in this current economy especially since a lot of people wait 6 months to a 2 years to find a job. Plus I won’t stop searching. And I’m only 28 with a lot of professional growing up to do. I have a long, long way to go. 🙂