For now, you can complain all you want about surviving finals week, meeting your in-laws, and finding an affordable apartment in the city, but just know that those things are nothing in comparison to the unique struggles of looking for a job. It can be the most stressful, the most frustrating, and the most confusing challenge in adult life, but we all have to do it.
From searching through online job boards to formatting resumes to rehearsing for interviews, the job hunt is anything but easy. The process is long, hard, and discouraging, filled with unanswered queries, undecipherable phone screenings, and short rejection emails. You try and stay positive, but after weeks of late nights searching for openings, long days filling out blank forms, and hours spent writing and rewriting your cover letter, it's easy to feel defeated.
But in the end, all that time, stress, and emotional investment is worth it when you show up on the first day of your new job, ready to take on the world. Before you get there, though, you just have a few hurdles to jump first.
Whether you're applying for your first post-grad job or are just thinking about finding a new one, make sure you're prepared for these 13 struggles of looking for a job. Keep your chin up — you'll get there eventually.
1. Deciding between a resume and a CV is confusing.
Depending on the kind of career you're pursuing, you will either prepare a traditional resume or a CV, but how do you know which one to choose? What is the best way for you to highlight your academic and professional achievements on one sheet of paper? This is the way potential employers will judge you, it's your first impression, and it can be a struggle trying to decide how you want to make it look.
2. Picking a LinkedIn profile picture is worse than picking your dating profile picture.
Now that most of the job search is online, you have to make sure your presence there is professional. That means cleaning up photos you're tagged in on Facebook, making your social media accounts private, and of course creating the perfect LinkedIn profile. Since you've already got the resume part down, all that's left is choosing a photo for your page, but how do you choose? You want something that shows your personality, but you want to make sure it's still professional. Are selfies acceptable? If you thought picking out a picture for your Match.com profile was difficult, wait until you have to do this.
3. You have no idea if your online application will ever be seen by human eyes.
Applying for jobs have come a long way from the days of dropping by offices, resume in hand, to today where everything is done online. Though it's convenient to be able to submit your resume to a job from the comfort of your own home, it also comes with the struggle of not knowing who is on the other side of the black hole that is online applications.
4. You have to keep your job search on the DL.
If you're currently employed and looking for a new job, then you have a unique set of struggles that include avoidance, omissions, and not-too-obvious excuses to leave the office. Awkward doesn't even begin to cover it.
5. No matter how much you practiced your answers, you freeze during the interview.
You researched the company and the position, reviewed your own resume, and even did a practice interview with your roommate, but when you sit down across the desk from a potential employer, you suddenly forget all your well-rehearsed answers. Yesterday, you knew exactly what your greatest strengths and weaknesses were, but on interview day, the only words that come to your brain are "uh" and "like."
6. You always find the perfect job listing three days after the application deadline.
One of the most frustrating struggles of the job search is when you find a position you'd be perfect for — you have all the right qualifications and experience — but you didn't see it until after open application period. You know you'd love the job, and you'd be great at it, if only you had looked a few days sooner.
7. Asking people to be your reference is more awkward than a promposal.
Almost every job you apply to will ask for a few references somewhere along the way, which is why before you start applying for positions, you need to figure out what names you're going to give. No matter how close you are or were to an old colleague, a professor, or an old advisor, emailing them about being your reference is worse than asking someone out in high school, and the thought of rejection is even more torturous than the idea of going solo to prom. Just remember, it's all a part of the process, and everyone has been there.
8. Crafting the perfect elevator pitch is harder than creating that video you submitted to The Real World.
No matter how many times you rehearse it, reciting your elevator pitch at a recruitment event, business lunch, or job interview will feel even weirder than all of those reality show video applications you've been making in your bedroom. It's hard to sum up all of your achievements, skills, and qualifications in a succinct speech without sounding like you're bragging, but there's a fine art to talking yourself up.
9. Forgetting to change the company name on your cover letter is more unforgivable than calling out the wrong name in bed.
When you're sending out multiple applications, it can be easy to get confused, but the absolute worse thing is sending out your cover letter and realizing you addressed it to the wrong employer. No matter how great your resume looks, they won't make it past the first sentence where you called your potential boss by the wrong name or cited the wrong position. It's the kind of embarrassment that can only be compared to calling your current partner by your ex's name. Yeah, it's on that level.
10. You're either always over-dressed or under-dressed at an interview.
The rule of thumb is dress to impress, but how well do you know who you're trying to impress? When it comes to picking out an outfit for an interview, it's always better to over-dress than under-dress, but it's still awkward to show up in a pantsuit to interview with someone who is in flip-flops and jeans, and even worse when your casual sundress clashes with your interviewer's shirt and tie look. It's like Goldilocks and the Three Bears — will you ever get it just right?
11. Narrowing down what samples to send is like picking your favorite child.
Applying for a job requires a lot of steps and struggles, one of the biggest being deciding what to include in your portfolio. Whether you're picking your best writing samples, graphic designs, illustrations, or something else entirely, choosing samples to send in alongside your resume is like telling someone who your best kid is. How can you possibly pick?
12. You have to find the right formula for your thank-you notes.
Writing a cover letter is tricky, but writing a thank-you note after an interview can be even tougher. You want to express enthusiasm, but not desperation; gratitude, but not come off as a kiss-ass. It's a fine balance, and an unavoidable struggle that comes with finding a job.
13. Waiting to hear back gives you more anxiety than the finale of The Bachelor.
Sending resumes may be a little nerve-racking, going on interviews may give you nervous butterflies, but waiting to hear back from a job after all that? Pure agony. You're constantly checking your phone's reception and refreshing your email to see if there's any news. The anxiety you feel while waiting to hear if your future employer chose you or someone else is even worse than the final rose ceremony of The Bachelor. Yeah, it's that bad.
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