Monday, April 6, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

In her last post, Kristin talked about having to be patient in your job search. And you know what, she's absolutely right. Talk to any of us, we can all tell stories of our own search processes, many of which took far longer than we would have liked. What helps in being patient is the knowledge that when things start to turn around, they do so in a hurry.

I'm sure we're all familiar with that wonderful feeling of being overwhelmed when every single exam and major paper/project falls on the same week. I, for one, certainly don't miss that part of college. But that phenomenon is not unique to just the academic world. You'll see the same sort of patterns occur in your job search as well. The primary difference is that you'll ultimately be happy that everything is happening all at once in the job search. I know I was.

Much like many of you are right now, this time last year I was on the job hunt. I started in earnest in mid-February (you should probably start sooner, my relatively late start was because that's when the jobs for my field were posted). I couldn't even begin to tell you how many resumes and cover letters I sent out. Some of them were definitely reaches, but I sent them out anyway.

And then nothing happened. For quite a while actually. So I kept on scowering the job postings and tried to utilize any contacts my supervisors had.

And for a while, still nothing happened. I'd describe it in other terms, but since this is a professional(ish) blog, I'll just say it was "not fun".

But then one day I got a call from some number I didn't immediately recognize. I'd gotten a phone interview! I nailed the phone interview (obviously because I practiced my interviewing skills in advance) and got invited for a campus interview. Finally things were turning around. Little did I know then that a couple days later I'd be getting another call from a different school for an interview there too. After a long time of nothing happening, I suddenly had 2 on-site interviews in a week, with another phone interview or two mixed in there.

Neither of those ended up working out, but they were good practice. The unsettling thing was that I wasn't hearing back from anywhere else either at that point. Basically I was back to square one again. But sure enough, once I got one other call to come in for an interview, I got another for a different interview. Even when I came up here to Marquette to interview, I had been on a different campus earlier in the week.

The point of all this is that when the good things start to happen in your job search, they will avalanche. Who knows why things happen this way, but you'd be surprised just how often they do. So when it does happen for you, and it will, be excited. Come in for a mock interview or any other help you need so that you can turn your flurry of interviews into a flurry of offers. Because guess what, even that part of the job search process tends to follow the pattern as well. Talk about a great problem to have...

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