The Tough Road To My First Job

“Life isn’t a bed of roses” and even if it is, there are thorns attached. Life comes with more bad days than good days. You need to be willing to fight, till you die, in order to thrive. But however hard it seems to be, life looks best as a bunch of experiences.

Ever since I started this blog, I have been wanting to share this story but overthinking led me to believe that sharing it would make me look like an epitome of failure which is exactly how I felt when I, despite all my efforts and hard work, wasn’t being able to get myself a job. Yes, I kept applying for jobs but couldn’t get through a single one. And with every failure, I kept losing a part of my confidence. But that phase and what followed after was a learning experience which is completely worthless if I can’t speak of it to those who are going through something similar in their lives. I want you all to know that you’re stronger than you think and there’s a lot in you that hasn’t been tapped yet. I wish I could realize the same when I was thinking of myself as someone who’s way too incompetent for a 9 to 5 job.

I won’t stress upon the reason why I wasn’t getting placed. All I know is that certain things aren’t meant to be. I was having a hard time facing people who would keep inquiring me about my next probable step every time they saw me failing. The sympathies pouring in were making me feel more terrible. Thankfully, I had this great bunch of friends and family who stood by me like a rock and chose to pat my back instead of sympathizing.

Before I go ahead, I would like to share some of the things that my pals reminded me of:

  1. The interview isn’t a measure of what you’re capable of because no individual, all in a 30-minute interview, can ever know who you are and what you have been through to reach where you are. Just remember that an interview is in place to assess your job fit. You might be inexperienced, underqualified, overqualified or you might just be a misfit. Whatever be the case, never ever take it as measure of your abilities.
  2. There are people who get things with little efforts and there are others who have to work hard to get the same thing. Whatever be the situation, keep working each day towards your goals for you never know which one might just be your day.
  3. You need to believe in yourself for if you won’t, nobody else will.

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure

So I’m an MBA. I’ve majored in Finance and I was pretty adamant on getting myself a job in the same field. Dejection, at one point, led me to believe that I’m not cut out for finance and I started appearing for whatever profiles came my way. This step further added to the already escalated feeling of self-doubt as the subject of ‘finance’ has always been my love. I kept failing time and time again. How won’t I be? I appeared for every job opportunity that came my way without knowing how I really wanted my job to be like.

I remember waking up one morning telling my room-mate that this phase makes me feel like I’m not being able to do anything for myself and every second that I spend doing nothing seems lifeless. That very morning turned to be an eye-opener when I switched my laptop on to go through some success stories to keep myself motivated which is the best thing I did to myself. I was amazed to read about people who failed interviews after interviews and yet didn’t choose to give up. I spent the next few days reading about these people and what all they did to get to their dream jobs. I would like to share some of the things that I figured out in the process:

What’s wrong with my Resume?

Your resume is a summary of what all you have done to further your learning. Include nothing in your resume that you can’t provide a proof for. Make sure it includes everything that you have achieved in the fewest possible words. Keywords are (as) important here (as they are in blogging), as recruiters use them to filter out the ones which don’t match the skills they are looking for. If you’re a fresher, seek help from people who have a significant corporate experience and who are willing to help you out with improving your resume. If you are ready to shed some money in the process, look for a resume writing service that’s worth your money. But don’t let a job slip off all because of a bad resume.

Employment Assessment Tests

I heard about ‘Aspiring Minds’, an Employment assessment Test here in India that can open the door to a lot of job opportunities if cleared. Although I was told that 90% of the opportunities listed there are for the engineers, I decided to take the exam because I didn’t want to miss out on the remaining 10%. I prepared hard for the exam for one long month and was able to clear it. I was amazed when I found my mailbox flooded with job opportunities majority of which were not the ones I had been looking for, but that at least put me in a position to choose out of the remaining ones.

Employee Referrals

Right through the period from job searching to appearing for the interviews, I was certain that I won’t resort to the option of asking people to favour me by referring me to their employers. Not that this is wrong, but I didn’t want my first job to be a favour. Moreover, I was looking for a way to boost my confidence that I had lost in the process.

Your LinkedIn Profile

I had a LinkedIn account ever since I heard about the network, but I hardly logged in until the day I read those articles about how powerful a platform it is. LinkedIn isn’t just another social media network where you can informally interact with people. It’s rather the hub for millions of job opportunities and a platform that can connect you with those who are hiring. I worked for days to improve my LinkedIn profile and kept working on the keywords. Resume Writers provide it as an add-on to writing resumes for a perfect LinkedIn profile is one of the key elements to walk you closer to your dream job.

In the process of getting to know LinkedIn better, I learned everything about how one is supposed to reach out to the recruiters through LinkedIn. Effective communication forms a major part of making the best use of the network which can go a long way in forming some useful connections that can help you in the later stages of your career.

LinkedIn is often used by recruiters to cross-verify your credentials with your resume. If any recruiter posts a vacancy, don’t shy away from mentioning your email ID. You can even ping the HR up on LinkedIn to have a better knowledge about the job profile. Never give an impression that you desperately need this job, instead make it appear that you’re more concerned about the type of work you want to do.

Corporate Careers portal

Every corporate house has a career portal listing the job vacancies. Having been someone with no prior work experience, this was one daunting task. I accessed the Career Portals of over 200 companies and dropped in my resume. I did whatever I could to make sure that my resume reaches their drawers, if not their desks. I collected email IDs of HRs from wherever I could and mailed my resume to each one of them. Mailing wasn’t as difficult as customizing the mails as per the job opportunity. This brings me to the point that writing a single job application and sending it to all the mail IDs is something that you should never do. I say again, NEVER! Your job application (and sometimes even your resume) needs to be customized as per the job opportunity.

To be really frank, out of all the companies I mailed my resume to, just the two of them responded which hardly accounts for 1% of my efforts. But a 1% response is anyway better than none.

Online Job Portals

Online Job Portals are the most popular hiring platform accounting for a major part of hirings taking place across the world. Keywords are not just important, but the most important thing to address when registering yourself here. I had my accounts made on every legit job portal I knew about including the internship opportunities because sometimes the company you intern with often extends the alliance by offering you a job opportunity with them. So I was open to the idea of interning and then applying for the job with the same company.

Online Job Portals have thousands of profiles registered with them and hundreds of others are added on a daily basis to their depository. The most effective way that can make you appear at the top of the search lists is by regularly updating the profile. Updating doesn’t mean that you should para-phrase or add something every day, even a spacebar would account as an update making your profile rank higher in the search. The first and foremost task I used to do every morning for a month is updating the profile.

After hundreds of hours spent on laptop and weeks of stress, it came down to five big companies that I finally decided on appearing for. I didn’t get through the Group Discussion Round of the first company. I appeared for the interview with the second one but didn’t hear from them for three long weeks. So as they say that no answer means some answer, I moved on.

Unfortunately, two of the remaining three companies had their interviews on the same day. So I ended up choosing to appear for the one which I deemed fit for me, let’s call it the fourth one. I went through an assessment test and a couple of interviews, each lasting an hour, all in two days. Failure had turned me into this hopeless individual who couldn’t believe she could have a job. As fate would have it, I received a call within the next 24 hours confirming my selection for the job position. That moment was the one I had been waiting for since ever but for the first time, I felt that I deserved it. I knew that I had worked hard for this day and I’m not undeserving of what I’ve been offered.

As I said that you don’t know which one might just be your day, another surprise poured in with a phone call from the second company to confirm my selection for the job I had appeared for three weeks back. Yes, they called me after three long weeks, just when I was sure I’ve been rejected. Eventually, I chose the former offer and skipped the fifth interview. Getting a job didn’t make me as happy as did the fact that I kept walking.

Today, more than a year later, I’m a full-time stock trader who isn’t disappointed to have left her dream job to lead an independent life. I’m happy that I didn’t give in to my failures and I made many connections through this struggle. The only regret I have today is the time I spent stressing myself out to death. I regret to have skipped those get-togethers because I didn’t want to answer the same questions time and again. I learned it the hard way that all the things worrying me today won’t be of any meaning a year later. But I learned it. Finally!!

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