Career Resources

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why a Healthy Dose of Insanity Pays Off in the Job Search

Last Saturday I presented a “Job Search Strategies” workshop to management students at UMass Boston. At the beginning of the workshop I asked them, “What’s the key ingredient to a successful job search?” The students voiced several answers such as a professional resume, a solid LinkedIn profile, and a strong network. While these things are all important, it wasn’t the answer I was looking for.

So I pressed them further and I gave them a hint. “It begins with the letter “P.” Then the answer did come forth – perseverance – as well as some other P words that also make sense: persistence, patience and positivity. I explained how the average job search can take 3-6 months and that the people who emerge victorious are the ones who persevere despite encountering rejection, frustration and despair.

Quite spontaneously, I then shared my story about how I had applied numerous times to both UMass Boston, where I currently work, and to Boston University, where I previously worked, and interviewed at each institution several times before I landed a job there. Amid some surprised expressions, I told them that I even interviewed for the same job twice at BU and didn’t get it the first time, but did get it the second time! They laughed when I told them that I was either insane – expecting difference results from the same behavior – or persistent. I shared my story to show the students that rejection is a normal part of the job search process, but that it shouldn’t prohibit them from moving forward – and yes – applying to the same company, or even the same job, again and again and again.

Many job seekers think that if they don’t get a job at a certain company, then they should give up on that company and move on to others. Not true! Looking for a job, I told the students, is a lot like dating where you have to date a lot of people before you find one that’s the right match for you. The process of interviewing is for both parties to figure out if it’s a good match. In fact, this element is becoming even more important than a candidate’s qualifications. Sometimes it’s a match made in heaven but sometimes it’s not. If it’s not, it doesn’t mean you weren’t a strong or qualified candidate – it simply means you weren’t a good match for that particular job at that particular time. The key to a successful job search is to keep going until you find the right match for you, and for them.