Surviving the Job Hunt: Directing Your Focus and Preserving Your Sanity

I wonder who else is out there, with computer screen aglow and eyes a-blur, doing anything but Taking Care of Business? No doubt I’m in the good company of university students worldwide! The habit of procrastination is easy to develop and always tempting, even when taking action is clearly what’s needed. In this vein, I admit to dreading the job application process despite being very motivated to work. In fact, many of my friends and colleagues have remarked upon the mentally exhausting task of generating variations of their resumé to send to different employers, tweaking it slightly to match the position in question and clicking “save as.” If each job applicant sends out 20 resumés a day, how do we keep track of the different versions of ourselves floating around in cyberspace, or in the drawers of an HR office?  While we are often told to distribute resumés as far and wide as possible, we can afford to narrow our range.

If you’re going to create very a specific professional identity for self-promotion , it’s worth doing correctly. Researching the websites of prospective employers can save a lot of time—be sure to read the “About Us” or “Mission Statement” section to ensure that you understand the group you’re trying to join. I once took on a position without really considering my lack of interest in the company and its vision. Even though the job paid the rent, I was out of my element and generally miserable. If you’re looking for a job to settle into, make sure you’re engaged by your employer and what they stand for. Know whose door you’re knocking on! This leads me to my next point…

While it’s crucial to provide some basic personal information on your resumé, protect yourself from over-sharing, especially if you haven’t been invited to. Do you commit to this company enough to give them a profile of your professional life? Choose the companies wisely, and only give them information that is relevant to the job. A Google image search brings up thousands of resumés, and I’m shocked to see how many people advertise what should be kept private: health information, SIN numbers, marital status, even height and weight. Don’t publish this information! It’s yours to keep like a secret. Resumés can travel from administrators to Human Resource clerks to managers to staff, so if you insist on sharing personal info, make sure you’re ok with anyone seeing it.

Finally, if you haven’t already, make a list of your dream jobs. Getting those down on paper can turn an idea into something more concrete, and then you can start to gear your job search toward them.  That way, you’re not blindly disseminating resumés to anyone who is hiring, but identifying clear goals and using your work experience and professionalism to obtain them. With those in mind, you can focus all of your attention on the career(s!) you really want to begin!

Allison Whalen

Allison is a freelance writer and multimedia artist based in Chelsea, Quebec. Since completing her MA at Carleton University, she has focused on professional and creative projects that aim to provide both efficiency and joy.

Twitter: @EclecticRoyale

2 Responses to “Surviving the Job Hunt: Directing Your Focus and Preserving Your Sanity”

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>