2 May 2014

"I want you to want me" or, a fun little analogy

Trying to secure a job post-internship is currently the bane of my existence. I've lost count of the amount of times people have given me their words of wisdom/consolation...

"It's their loss, Sofie! They don't know what they're missing"
"It wasn't meant to be"
"Something will come around, just you wait!"
"Don't lose faith, keep going"

                       

The whole business is demoralising, to say the least. I'm starting to think it was a crazy stoke of luck that I even managed to get onto my internship.

I feel like I've done everything "the man" has told me to do. I worked hard at school, got good GCSEs, A Levels, went to a decent university, did an academic subject, got a good degree... And now I'm getting experience. But it's still not enough.

And then when I was talking to my friend a few nights ago about how exhausting it is, the whole process of searching and applying for jobs, I realised something: applying for jobs is rather hilariously similar to dating.

Lost? Humour me.

Okay, so the responses I receive from job rejections, as shown above? They sounds scarily similar to the kind of responses you'd give a friend if they'd just been dumped or ended things with someone they'd been seeing.

But let's start from the beginning (the best place to start, I find). The job search. You ask yourself what you want, the kind of things you'd like in a job, what you want from it, and what you're willing to compromise. And once that is established, you start searching.

And then you realise this "search" is actually quite tricky because often the roles that seem too good to be true, are too good to be true. Pretty exterior, great benefits, a title you'd enjoy throwing around and boasting about to your friends at the pub. But then you realise you're not compatible. You don't fulfil their criteria, or maybe the other way around.

Or, you find the perfect job. Brilliant! So you apply, telling the company all about you - your experience, your background, what you can offer them, how you enjoy spending your time. And it's exhausting, but you hope he outcome will be worth it. Then you click "Send application", and sit tight. But then the agony begins. When did they say they'd respond again? Did they say they'd call, or email? Am I being paranoid? Why are my palms sweating? Refreshing my emails and checking my phone every two minutes is totally normal, right?

      

Then comes the interview. The nerves kick in, and you have to reiterate everything you said on your application, but this time, you have to jazz it up and hope that you're voice isn't monotonous and you don't say anything that could mess up your chances. You smile at the right moments, attempt to make a light-hearted joke (if the situation allows for it)... And the manner in which you part is everything. Everything. Did they like you? Did they sound sincere when they said they'd be in touch? Was that a "see you later" or "see you soon" and what the heck is the difference? Please don't say I had food in my teeth/coffee breath...

God forbid there are two interviews involved. You just want to cut the small-talk and get to the point, for goodness sake. You've given time, effort, maybe a few tears, stalked the hell out of them, and quite frankly, you're exhausted. The question is - do you want me? Or do I have to put this down to experience?

And brave yourself for the rejection. The rejections that, unfortunately, come at you (me) thick and fast. Sometimes I don't even make it past first base (ooer), and even when I do, I'm constantly on edge. But it's the rejections that knock you back, dent your ego and confidence. "What's wrong with meeee?" I wail to anyone who's willing to give me sympathy, "What if no one wants me, and I end up with nothing?" 

Because it's bloody hard, this whole application business. It's not like you can send your CV and expect a million job offers to come your way. Sometimes, if not always, you have to tailor a cover letter to the company and/or role. And sometimes you have to make your CV more appropriate. The forms, if they have application forms, make me want to face palm repeatedly, and all I want to do is send them a YouTube link of that song at the end of "10 Things I Hate About You" with the lyrics that go along the lines of "I want you to want me, I need to to need me..." And of course they'd find that so witty and not at all desperate, they'd hire me on the spot. 

                       

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my job application-dating analogy, and I hope you all have a lovely bank holiday weekend. If like me, it will consist of yet more job applications, you have my strongest sympathies.
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