Job hunting is insuperably splendiferous.
There are lots of articles along the lines of “how to make job hunting suck less” and “how to not go crazy while searching for work,” but I haven’t seen any “silver lining” stories pop up on the world wide web. While I certainly understand the downside of looking for gigs, there are plenty of reasons why job hunting is oh-so wonderful:
Meet new people
It’s all about who you know. The more people who have your name at the forefront of their brains, the more successful you’ll be with your job hunt. Even if you don’t land the gig, you have the potential to get a freelancing assignment out of it. Plus, everyone in the journalism biz hops around all.the.time. You might not work for the company now, but there’s a high likelihood you’ll end up on a future team with someone from the organization.
Scope out the field
When else do you get to chit chat with the Editor in Chief? ask about the publication’s biggest successes—and failures? When will you have another opportunity to discuss the company’s editorial direction? the short-term and long-term goals?
Job hunting is a perfect time to scope out the field and learn more about your industry.
Learn about yourself
Nobody likes introspection, but everybody needs a healthy dose of it. You can’t apply for everysinglejobopportunityever so you have to pick and choose. Job hunting forces you to think deeply (and realistically) about your dreams and goals. What makes you tick? What makes you happy? What qualities do you consider important? What is a work-life balance, anyway? How will you reconcile the need for money with the need for workplace satisfaction? What are your long-term goals?
Searching for gainful employment also gives you the opportunity to learn how you can improve. Maybe there’s a coding class you need to take. Perhaps a time-management workshop would be helpful. Or, it’s possible that you just need to up your self-confidence and improve your self-promotion skills. Whatever the case, job hunting gives you the perfect excuse to tackle that self-improvement project.
Find your friends
Notice how I didn’t title this “Why Job Hunting is Fun.” Looking for work isn’t exactly high up on the list of ways I’d like to spend my time. And, let’s be honest here, sometimes it just suckslikeawholebunch. But when the chips are down, your true friends will come out of the woodwork.
There’s the friend who will listen to your rants about howawfulthejobmarketisrightnow and whyamIeveninthisindustryanway and provide the necessary support. Friends who will buy beers after a particularly stressful interview. Friends who will send you job openings, articles on how to perfect your resume and little words of encouragement every once in a while. And then there are those saints who will offer to edit your cover letter.
These people are golden. Make sure to return the favor when they’re in the same boat.
Fall in love with possibilities
It’s OK to get excited. It’s OK to play the “what if I actually landed this” game.
People refused to get stoked about jobs because they’re worried about the frustration/depression/embarrassment that often accompanies a rejection letter. But why? There are countless reasons you were passed over that have nothing to do with your skills or future potential with the company.
Maybe they cut the budget and can’t afford you. Maybe you weren’t college drinking buddies with the right person. Maybe they wanted a yes-man, and you (thank god) didn’t fit the bill. Maybe you didn’t have the right skill set. (That doesn’t make your skills less valuable. They’re just not right for the company.) Maybe they hired internally. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
Cut yourself some slack. Get excited, and let that passion shine through during the interview. You’re much more likely to land a gig when you can really see yourself working side-by-side with your manager.
Up your empathy
I don’t hate job hunting. I hate how people treat me during the process.
I had a prospective employer tell me he absolutelyHADtohaveacoverletterTONIGHTorELSE. Unfortunately, I had a reporting trip planned for the day—I’d spent weeks setting it up. But he wouldn’t budge, and I wanted the job, so I canceled the trip and spent the afternoon putting together my materials. When I interviewed with him a week later, he casually mentioned that he’d never taken the time to look at my application.
I chatted with an HR director who absolutely “loved” my personality and said I’d be a “great fit” at the company. She promised to get back to me within a week. Two months later, I gave up emailing her about the position.
My all-time favorite, though, is when I bought a plane ticket to fly out for an interview—the HR department emailed me four days prior and told me she’d already made the hire. I was out $200 for my troubles.
The point is, if you’re job hunting, you know what it’s like to be treated poorly. You understand that sinking feeling when you find out (via Twitter) that the position you so coveted was given to someone else. You’ve raged over sexist/racist/ageist interview questions. You’ve checked countless tiny boxes, answered reams of college application-like questions and jumped through ridiculous hoops
Just remember that job hunting doesn’t have to be a crappy experience. Someday, you’ll be in a position to make change. You can (and will) make things better for the next wave of hopefuls.
Help others succeed
Job hunting may be tough for you, but have you considered how difficult it is for others? Women, minorities, people with lower socioeconomic status, rural populations—They probably won’t even hear about the jobs that are common knowledge in your circles.
Make it your goal to recommend a good job to at least one other person every day you’re hunting. Put extra effort into sending management and other high-quality positions to people who might otherwise get left in the dark. And, if you have a contact at the company, pass that information along as well.
We all need to work together to break the system of inequality. Plus, it’s just good karma points!