Facing rejection is, for lack of a better word, a bitch. I’m not going to pretend to have a high sense of delusion about my self so let me tell you, when someone tears me down, it tears me down and I take some time to recover. This can be as blatant as full on racist talk (yeah, I’ve heard “Go back to your country!” which is always hilarious because I was born here) or as simple as “Unfortunately due to the high level of applicants, we were unable to progress your application forward.” I’m queen of the rejection letter, I’ve heard it enough times that I could probably work in HR.
I had a lot last year from the break up with my, for lack of a better word, “boyfriend” to several rejection letters for jobs I very much coveted. Damn friggity ham. I really wanted them but alas…we collect our sodden selves up and move on, right? Not always so. Recovery is a hard process and I find the hardest part is motivating yourself to get up and have another go – this time better and smarter than before.
I’ve got a quote on my mirror: “Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up.”
This is true but damn if it ain’t hard to not curl up in bed and declare apathy on the world. No one ever tells you how easy this is or that it’s okay once in a while as long as you eventually DO get up and not give up.
Work motivation in an industry like mine is probably the cruelest. I’d more likely find a life partner in the next month than I would a job. It’s not impossible but in a shrinking industry in a city where jobs are scarce – I’ve had more than a few friends move to Sydney because of it – and there are more “law students than law jobs” isssue, it’s a trick. So how do I do it? Take it from me, there’s only SO MUCH you can do yourself – sometimes you gotta rely on a few bros.
Remember that you’re not the only one in this situation and not everyone who is also in this situation is a competitive rival ready to outwit and step on your face for that job. (There are so be warned!) I learned this at university but also recently sitting in a very competitive group interview round for the Communications Council. I’ll talk more about interview rounds in a later post but the greatest thing I took out of that was new friends – ultra-amazing talented new friends who serve not only as new drinking buddies but people to motivate, cajole and buttress me.
Make use of that – not as networks and contacts but in a collaborative sense. Today we organised to come together and have a fun little working bee talking about what we have done or about to do in our search and to bounce off each other advice and tips. We’re all in the same hole with ideas, recipes and a willingness to help each other so why not?
I met L and E in that interview round and from having to work together in our groups to drinks after – we’ve become firm cheerleaders to each other. Only today did I truly discover the vast amount of talent they both have in their strategies and work which I believe I somewhat added to. I told them today that I needed motivation and they certainly did that. Even if was only after a full-on dishing about boyfriends, agencies and bosses over coffee and vegan burgers.
They’re both advertising students while my background is firmly in PR and Media but, for example, having them both show me their resumes indicated to me that I am probably missing out on a very visual style to my very bland CV. It’s easy, they told me, to learn Illustrator and InDesign – programs I should use and learn especially as they’re often position requirements – and jazz up a resume. We discussed designing a logo for my brand and many other interesting ideas including very tailored, long applications, origami (what?) and overall strategies.
I discussed, in return, sharing my own knowledge and strategies I’d worked hard on and while E was excited, L was reticent. Not in a condescending or critical manner but as a reluctant feeling of using something she hadn’t herself built. There is a difference between using an idea that can be converted into something I could build myself to strictly just using the exact template of someone else’s. The truth is, if a strategy like mine works for her and I’m glad to share it then I feel you must go for it. I’m not going to share it with everyone and in the very rare case she nabs the position over me because of it, I would rather that happen. Our networks are everything – it is an advantage to me to have someone I know very well who I can trust in a position at one of the few firms in Melbourne. Plus, for me, the better candidate won and I want my friends to win.
You’d be surprised where you do find that motivation, however, in your peers. I’ve attended Communications networking nights where journos and industry insiders are happy to prod you along, interviews where even the employers admitted it’s a rough industry, monthly meet-up groups where I spoke to a wonderful AM who literally sat me down over a cigarette and wine and gave me her entire strategy. Then there’s, of course, the PRIA NEPG committee who I’ve become fabulous friends and with that comes many fun nights but also brilliant advice and further networks.
Though I’m working on my success, I always try to extend the olive branch myself by offering starting students sagely words of wisdom. A mate’s sister came into my work specifically to speak to me about attaining internships and I offered to help her go over her resume and told here where and when to look. It doesn’t have to be a competition and you certainly don’t have to go it alone although it can certainly feel that way when you hear about everyone and their turtle nabbing some and such coveted job. You’d be surprised at how much work that candidate went into to get it though – it could be as silly as wearing a funny hat and doing accents during the interview, sending in a tailored 50 page application detailing in a brilliant SWOT analysis: “HIRE ME HERE’S WHY: Challenges and Incentives” or it was a simple persistent “Let’s get a coffee. On me!” every two weeks. You’ll never know and you might be doing the same boring thing in the same boring way without every knowing.
Sound familiar? Get thee to a working bee. If anything, it’s a great chance to meet up and catch up (read: bitch about) something. At best, you walk away from that having cemented better friendships and you’re one step further along than you were yesterday to getting that job.
(Photos by me)