Things to do + remember while you're job hunting

Searching endlessly for jobs that matches your skills, qualifications, experiences, applying, submitting your resume and cover letter, only to get rejected for an interview (or landing the interview only to not get the offer) is demoralizing. It's especially so when you grew up being told "if you go to university and get your Bachelor's degree, a job will be waiting for you and you will be making bank" only to have mounds of student loan debt and applying for entry level jobs. So how do you cope?

I am deeply anxious during this job search. I will be straight up honest. A big part of it is worrying what other people think: I'm so sure that people are thinking, she's turning 27 [in 9 days] and is still living at home?! When I was 19, I already moved out and had my own apartment! or how is she having this big wedding and no job?! What a brat!

Little do they know that I am living at home because it does save money and I help take care of my 24-year old sister who has autism and cannot be left alone. She goes to her adult day program between Tuesday–Thursday and I pick her up from my older sister's house. I take her to her music class every Wednesday evening. I do all these things while my mom is working, in addition to other chores. I am doing the stuff my dad did before he passed away and while I was in school (he was a stay at home dad for my sister while my mom is a career woman). I also do respite work for my 16-year old niece who also has autism, and I am employed through a healthcare staffing agency. I babysit as needed, especially when my older sister has her endless doctors appointments. It's just not enough to cover my bills and expenses. Also, let's not forget that I still have lupus and even though I am close to remission, I've had bad episodes of illness and seizures. It was an amazing thing that my dad was there when I had my first stroke and seizure. So I am thankful for my them and for Cecilio, that they have been able to take care of me.

I also live at home because it's actually the norm in a lot of Asian cultures. My cousins did not move out until they got married. In fact, in some traditional Asian families, it is the norm to have multiple generations of people living under the same roof. 

Some of my anxiety stems from comparing myself to other people my age, especially Cecilio's coworkers at the news station he works at. They all have thriving careers as reporters, anchors, editors and producers, and they all make a decent living. Some of them even own their own home! It makes me wonder, what's wrong with me that I can't be at their level?

And last but not least, I worry that I won't be able to help provide or contribute financially when Cecilio and I get married and have our own place. I worry that I will never pay off my credit bills, student loans, etc.

The job competition is fierce, with endless amount of people vying for one position. You never know what the interviewer or the company wants. Fast-paced is a mild word to describe the lifestyle in the US. It's frowned upon to be unemployed, as you are seen as lazy. I am not lazy. I do my best, and I acknowledge that I can do better in my job search. I want to have a purpose and to be able to contribute to society, and I am sure that most people who are struggling with the job search feel the same way.

For those who are struggling, you are not alone. 

Here, I have compiled a list of things you can do to improve your job search and to take care of yourself and keep yourself sane:

1. Update your resume
If you have an objective, make sure that it's tailored to the position you are applying for. Don't forget to add in your skillset, and the volunteer/extracurricular activities you do. 

2. Learn a new skill or refine an old one
Lynda is a wonderful website and has thousands of online tutorials in graphic design, video editing, business/marketing, photography, IT, etc. whether or not you are pursing a career related to these fields, you can also go the extra mile to set yourself against the crowd of other job hopefuls. I also recommend Skillshare is another wonderful website: you sign up for a class, and the teacher gives you tutorials. You submit the process of your work and get feedback from other online students. Lynda and Skillshare have a free trial before you make a monthly payment.

If you crave human interaction and networking, going back to school is another option. That is especially what community colleges or trade schools are good for.

3. Volunteer
Volunteering is a wonderful way to gain experience, add that experience to your resume, and do good for an organization you are passionate about. Volunteering helps you think outside of yourself because you realize that there are other people in this world that are in need. In some organizations, volunteering can potentially lead to a job position. I will inquire about volunteering to do office work and graphic design for my church once I'm done with this post.

4. Get an internship
Usually while you're in university, it's strongly recommended to get an internship to get a taste of the field you want to be in. In fact, I have heard that when an employer is looking to hire 2 people: the person with the degree or the person with the internship, the person with the internship always wins. The experience teaches you so much that the classroom environment can't. When I was in school, I was not able to get an internship because I wasn't driving during the time (I was having seizures so my license was suspended) I was taking upper division graphic design classes, and my school was a half hour commute. So my brother-in-law would drop me off and pick me up (sometimes Cecilio picked me up too). Thank goodness my school was on the way to BIL's work, but lack of transportation was the main factor in me not getting an internship or job. I actually did almost get one at a graphic design studio I applied for, since they liked my work enough to call me in for a 2nd interview. But I didn't get the position.

I made up for lost time by getting 2 internships after graduation. I interned at the local Make-A-Wish® chapter and helped with office work, graphic design, and the website. I did the same tasks when I had my paid internship at California State Fair, but I also participated in special events and interacting with media (TV and radio stations). 

5. Do your hobbies
Do you like to paint, garden, or cook? What are some things that make you tick? You better do them and revel in them when you can because when you have a job, you will not have a lot time to do those things.

6. Start a personal project
For me, this blog is a hobby and also a project. My wedding is a project, because I have designed my save-the-dates and I will be designing the invitations, table seating chart, name cards, etc. so I have tapped into that creative side more. I have also revamped/rebranded my portfolio website here

7. Start a business/freelance
Being employed is not for everyone as some people prefer to be their own boss. But this takes A LOT of self-discipline. Discipline to not get distracted while working, to get started, to find clients, etc. It is sometimes recommended to work as an employee for a few years before you go this route. But it's up to you.

8. Read
I admit I could be doing this more, but I do have a short attention span and there are a bunch of books that I want to finish. But get your hands on a wide variety of books: fiction, self-help, books that will help you with your career skills, etc. anything to sharpen your brain.

No matter what though, here's what I want you to remember (and I'm writing this because I struggle with reminding myself greatly:

  • Be kind to yourself. No one is judging you for your job (or lack of), and your family and closest friends understand. If they don't, then they don't deserve to be in your life.

  • You are doing your best and don't give up. No matter how hard it seems or feels. You only lose out when you quit.

  • Don't compare yourself. It seems easier said than done, and it feels like other people an easy time getting everything they want while you're struggling. They probably got rejected too, they will never admit that on Facebook or Instagram though.

  • Your self-worth isn't based on how much money you make or what your title is. No. God has made you fearfully and wonderfully made, and nothing or no one can take that away from you.

  • You WILL reach your goals, or end up with different goals than what you originally planned for. Life's journeys aren't a clean, straight road, but are valleys and mountains of twists and turns.

  • Have you struggled with finding a job or with a goal you had in mind? How did you overcome it?

    1 comment :

    1. It's actually a really helpful post, thanks for sharing! And good luck with everything :)

      She is Mary