I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. ~ Michael Jordan
Being in the job market can be hard; it comes with a lot of uncertainties, especially when you have financial obligations. The butterflies you get during an interview mixed with the anxiousness right after may cause some anxiety. Then there is the deafening silence—waiting to hear back from the company—anticipating whether you got the job. You have read every article about how to land your first job, spoken to every mentor, and have been networking like crazy. Still nothing.
The phone is not ringing and, when it does, it is not from a recruiter—more like a bill collector. Your inbox is filled with emails from companies and it was not because they chose you. It is a generic email informing you they have chosen to go with another candidate. This can affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence level. Let’s be honest. It is hard to stay positive during a job search that has become stagnant. You have done everything you can do, having checked all the boxes and still nothing.
I recently watched an interview with Meryl Streep on The Graham Norton Show talking about her audition for a part in King Kong. She stated she was brought in to see Dino De Laurentis, Sr. by his son. Upon seeing her, he asked his son (in Italian), “why did you bring me this ugly thing?” She responded by saying, “I understand what you are saying. I am sorry I am not beautiful enough to be in King Kong.” Luckily she did not hold on to his opinion and let it destroy her to the point of never auditioning again. She continues to have a very successful career in the film industry and has won many awards since. During your job search not every employer will see your talent and you might get a lot of no's because you are not what the employer is looking for. It does not mean that you are not good. It just means they do not think you are a good match for their organization. Developing a thick skin, nursing your wounds quickly, and not dwelling on it will do wonders for your career. It is a learning process.
Do not give up
No matter how hard it gets DO NOT GIVE UP. Keep applying, networking, and remaining persistent. When I decided to change my career and start over, I was really motivated by an alumnus who spoke at one of our monthly events. She encouraged us not to get deterred by the no's and I have not forgotten this. She reminded us if we stay in the game we will eventually get a yes. She was right. Apply for jobs even when you do not feel like it. Tell people in your network you are looking even if you are a little embarrassed. Whatever you do, do not give up.
Create a strategy
Creating a job search strategy can be very effective. Confront it like a challenge you must win. Simply put, this should become your full-time job until you find a job. Think about the different avenues that you want to take and the companies you want to work for. Get organized and keep track of the jobs you are applying for. Target companies and research the hiring managers. Get creative—this is a game you must win. Get dressed as if you are going to work and take your laptop to the nearest Starbucks and/or library and do your job search there. A change of scenery might do wonders for your attitude.
Tell everyone and network
Let everyone know you are actively looking for a job. For some, this is the hardest part, especially if you are an extremely private person. If you keep it to yourself, how will anyone know that you need help? Tell your friends, family, and the people with whom you do business. You would be surprised how many people your barber or beautician may know. They might be able to introduce you to a few connections.
Get outside of your comfort zone. Networking is a great way to meet people and make some valuable connections. Some of the people you meet along the way might become instrumental in your job search, in mentoring you, and in coaching you. Networking should be genuine; it should not be self-serving and/or superficial. People can sense this a mile away. While networking, be ready to help others as well. Do not network only when you need a job—do it periodically throughout the year because if you only show up when you need a job, your credibility might be questioned. Be intentional about the people you meet. Some networking events are free. Try attending a couple of the free events if you cannot afford the paid events right now. Here are some great sites that might help you when looking for a networking event. Sometimes being with like-minded people can give you a well-needed energy boost.
- Meet up. This consists of a number of different groups in a number of different areas. Think of a group and it is probably on the website. According to their website, they currently have 26.57 million people—248,265 meet up groups in 182 countries. Their website boasts they currently have 606,096 monthly meet-ups, 3.82 million RSVPs, and 2,185 meet-ups happening now. Search for groups and opportunities on this site that might be good for your career. http://www.meetup.com/
- Eventbrite. This is an amazing resource for free events that are currently happening in your city. According to their website, they host at least 2 million events yearly. Networking with people inside and outside of your industry is a great idea because you never know where your connections may lead. www.eventbrite.com
- Network after Work. These are networking events with a varied group of people representing different industries. The cost is normally $15 if paid in advance or $25 at the door. www.networkafterwork.com
- Local Bar Associations. Your local bar associations will also host networking events. This might be a great way to network and meet other individuals within the industry. Use this link to access the various bar associations in the United States: http://goo.gl/eEyfui
- Local Paralegal Associations. If you are a member of your local paralegal association, you might be able to meet people there as well. Paralegal Today has a listing of local paralegal associations and their chapters: http://goo.gl/Rki2YG
- NALS…the association for legal professionals also has local chapters that you may want to visit. It is a great organization with a lot of resources for its members. http://goo.gl/zmcm7v
It is hard to stay positive during a job search if you keep applying and nothing is bearing fruit. You have gone on a couple of interviews and nothing. Napoleon Hill once said, “Everyone faces defeat. It may be a stepping-stone or a stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced.” Having the right attitude can make a big difference. If you go on an interview with a bad attitude, the interviewer can sense it. Surround yourself with friends and family who can help to motivate and bring out the best in you. Avoid being around negative people. Make sure you have the right expectations. Not every job lead or interview you attend is going to be successful, but do not get bogged down by the no's. Remember, perseverance will take you places that talent will not. There are many talented unsuccessful people who do not have the drive or will to go out there and grind. Try to stay positive even when it becomes difficult. All the best on your job search.
Tashania Morris, MSHRM, ALS, CDF, CPC, started her career as a paralegal. She has over six years’ experience in the legal field specializing in the areas of foreclosure and bankruptcy. She recently completed her master’s degree in human resource management which has equipped her with the tools needed to think strategically and develop creative solutions to problems in the workplace. As a Certified Professional Coach and Career Development Facilitator, she loves all things career and personal development. She is able to recognize people’s skills and abilities and enjoys working with individuals to figure out their “why.” Her mission is to engage, empower, educate, and promote change from within. If you have any questions about any of the articles written, suggestions about something you would like Tashania to write about, or enjoyed reading the article, send her a quick note. You can reach Tashania at Tashania_m@hotmail.com.