A close friend’s mantra is: “Run at the wall until the wall goes for a drink with you” and he swears by the results. He wears his target down until they eventually – as his current girlfriend did – say “Yeah OK let’s give it a go then”. They’re together three years later. This works perfectly for your jobhunt, provided the “target” isn’t a specific company, but an entry-level position in the career you dream about.
Say your employer is a hot girl. That hot girl has loads of people after her, so it’s all too easy for you to dissolve in a pool of “why would she pick me” before backing off, but think about it – she’s going to date someone eventually. She won’t pick the stupid-but-rich-and-also-hot guy if she has any brains, because we’re all looking for someone we connect with. So why shouldn’t that someone be you?
Of course, if she DOES end up picking the stupid-but-rich-and-also-hot guy then you wouldn’t have wanted to date her anyway. She’s too shallow. Yes, we’re still talking about jobs here. It’s a metaphor, OK?
It’s time to start acting like you fancy your job, until it agree to be your job. Stick with me.
Part one: pre-date admin
What’s the first thing you do when you fall desperately in love with someone? Stalk the crap out of them on social media, then stalk yourself so you can see what THEY see when they look at your page. That photo where you look insane? Detagged. Maybe get rid of that tweet about how you spent Friday night cleaning your oven, too. And the OKCupid Profile where you talk about “Wanting to get down with all the ladiez” because nobody should spell “ladies” with a “z”.
Once you’ve dealt with that, you need to check out her likes on Facebook to see which movies to casually drop into the conversation, as well as every single photo of her to make sure you’ve also been to that cool bar she’s always photographed in. OK, so that seems over the top but don’t say you haven’t ever obsessively stalked someone you fancy on Facebook. Don’t you dare tell me I’m the only one.
It’s the same with jobs – notice they’ve got a website? They write a blog? Read both, obsessively. Check out their employees. Desperately try and piece together their enigmatically attractive personality via everything you can get your love-fuelled mitts on. Find something to fall in love with (a really good social media presence, a core aim you’re impressed by), something you can comment on when you eventually get that face-to-face meeting.
Part two: up your game
Your CV is basically the equivalent of flirty banter. Crap at it? Get help from experts, friends, family or (some) movies. That way, you can make the best possible first impression. If your crush knew you, she’d be all over you in a flash because you’re a great guy – problem is, when you fancy someone you get nervous. And when you get nervous, you act weird and people don’t see the Real You Underneath All That Sweating. Which is exactly the same as the job application process.
Think about how much care you’d take over your first text to someone. A casual request to borrow notes from a lecture, or a joke that you’ve painstakingly transcribed from Twitter (So cool! So casual! GO YOU). You wouldn’t call them by someone else’s name, would you? So don’t start copying and pasting your cover letters, in case you make the dreaded mistake of using another company’s name and then they think you’re a massive idiot and will by no means snog you/give you a job/both.
It’s also important to also demonstrate how great YOU are in the process without saying the words “Honestly, I’m really great – you should give me a shot” because that sounds mega-desperate. Be clever. Think of ways to show a potential employer why you’d be perfect for the position, rather than just pleading.
Part three: the actual date
A job interview is essentially a date where you REALLY REALLY fancy them, and they’re still weighing up their options. The worst, most stressful kind of date.
Thing is, you’ve got to fake confidence and act totally un-phased even if you’ve sweated through your tee-shirt, shirt, cardigan and jacket (also, don’t wear so many layers, you maniac). You’ve got to be charming, make them smile, make them think “yeah I wouldn’t mind hanging out with this guy on a daily basis” – sure, your date is interested in what you’ve done, but they’re mainly interested in what you’re LIKE. They can see what you’ve achieved on paper, they can stalk you on social media, they can ask their friends about you, but none of that matters when you look into each others’ eyes and it just… clicks.
Too many people put on airs and graces during a job interview in a misguided bid to appear professional; they use overly long words that they don’t understand or panic and attempt to change their personality to fit the interviewer. Just like any date – this doesn’t work. You want to be you, but on a really On The Ball day. Looking your best, feeling your best and acting as confident as you possibly can because hey, a potential employer needs to fall in love with YOU, not just your academic achievements or impressive range of experience.
Also, you’ve got to ask them questions about themselves. Show you’re interested, switched-on and the sort of person who really LISTENS – where did they grow up? Which films did they love and hate this year? What do you enjoy most about working here? What are the company’s core goals? Those first two are for dates, the last two are for job interviews. Don’t spend your precious interview time talking about how disappointed you were with the new Hobbit films.
Oh and please, for the love of god, don’t get confused and snog your potential employer.
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