Let’s get practical: finding a job in your 20s

You guys, I have been looking for a new job lately and it is taking up alllll my time and energy. I’ve been told finding a new job is itself a full time job 😳 & I believe it.

My struggle in this process has been lack of clarity. I have no idea what I really want to do! Certain jobs sound good in the description but they might be spruced up to get people applying. Or maybe they sound terrible and hard so the company can weed people out.

Everyone always has an angle and you have to learn how to read it – exhausting, I know.

If you’re looking for a new job or you want to but you’re terrified – I GET YOU.

I have been very lucky in this current process because I have had a lot of help. Hopefully these tips I’ve been given will help you!

1. Find a mentor<<
o do you know that has a great job they love and knows a good amount of people in the city you live in?

  • Is there someone in your family doing the type of job you think you’d like?
  • Who do you know that’s done the search before?

Find this person, see if they’d be willing to give you pointers and ask them a TON of questions. Knowing someone who has navigated the process before and did it well is huge!


2. Set time during the day to search for jobs and compile resumes<<
u heard me right- “resumes”, plural.

One of the (many) valuable things I learned from my mentor is to customize your resume to the job description.

  • What should you include?
  • What can you remove that isn’t applicable?
  • Try to be as descriptive as possible – if you did a project for the company, what did it produce? Why was it important?
    • For example – I created a training program for the entire company. So I made sure to put a number of employees, the number of courses I created, etc.

You’re going to need different experience for a marketing job than you would for a customer service position, so if you’re applying for different types of positions, your resume should look different too.

Yes I know this sounds a little overwhelming and crazy.

To handle all of it, I keep a Google spreadsheet of all my applications: the company, a link to the job description, the date I applied, follow up dates, any names and contact info I gather.

I also kept track and numbered my resumes so if I applied for multiple customer service jobs for example, I can use #3 for all of them.

And COVER LETTERS people, these matter. Write one for each application and direct it specifically towards the company and position you’re applying for. You’ll need to do some research on the company for this so it’s not just a basic one.

All of this can get stressful, hence my tip: block out some time in your day to do this – maybe 2 hours, then take a break. Your mind will turn to mush if you try to do it for 5 hours straight.

3. Ask your mentor if they know anyone at every company you send an application to<<
% of jobs are offered based on referrals! This is why having a mentor can be so valuable. Your resume usually goes to the top of the stack if you have a referral, which means you get through at least the first stage of the process almost immediately!

4. Don’t be shy – FOLLOW UP PEOPLE<<
rry for yelling 😬 but this is huge!

If you want a hiring manager to remember you (especially if you don’t have a referral), it’s important you find a way to follow up with them.

  • Can you find an email address?
  • A phone number for the HR department?

If you do have a referral, ask them for the recruiter or the hiring manager’s name and contact info. Don’t be a nuisance – one followup per step is a good guide.

5. BE AGGRESSIVE BE BE AGGRESSIVE (in loud cheerleader voice) My mentor told me something really important: no one cares about your career as much as you do. If you don’t advocate for yourself and ask for more, no one will.

Don’t be shy about this. Find out the average pay for the position you’re applying for and take that information to your interview. If they’re offering you the low end, let them know that. Put the ball in their court to decide if you’re the best fit – but don’t be afraid to assert yourself here.

This is my biggest struggle and what I’m the most nervous about. I have to be really care with the way I come off during this step. I have “RBF” and a very expressive face I can’t control very well. I’m aware of this, which is helpful, but I honestly have to practice this conversation. I’ve asked for help with the exact words I should say and how. I don’t want this weakness to effect my success.

My mentor says it’s important to put the ball in the hiring manager’s court. You don’t want to come off demanding or entitled.

This is especially because I’m a girl.

The line is blurry between assertive and bitchy. I have to be careful of this, which is disappointing but necessary. It makes me sad that I have to be afraid of seeming bitchy when I’m assertive. Maybe one day that won’t be the case. Until then, I’ll be careful with my words and try to control my face….

There’s no telling what kind of timeline is necessary for this process, which I know can be frustrating. My biggest tip during it is to be patient and pray. I pray about this every day, asking for the job I desire and wait for the Lord.

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14

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