Having babies is a lot of work. Not just making them, but living with them too. You know what’s harder than that? Trying to find a job AFTER having a baby during a global pandemic.
Now we’re talking next level struggle.
Seriously. It’s been hard. Especially when all I want to do is write some epic content and earn some effin money. Seems simple. So simple.
To be fair, it was simple on my first rodeo. Although we didn’t have a global pandemic then. Well, we did actually have a small one in East Africa (heard of Ebola?) but it hardly caused a blip globally.
First baby went like this. “It’s time – let’s have a baby!”. 9 months later – positive test. 9 months later – beautiful baby boy. 9 months later – first job post-maternity.
And the second one? Well, he took THREE years before he deigned us with a positive pregnancy test so the signs were already there that this was going to be an entirely different rodeo! And it has been…. including my 50+ job applications (I stopped counting after that) and 16 interviews to date. That’s correct. I’ve had some sort of post-pandemic interview/call/zoom with SIXTEEN people – and I’m still mostly unemployed.
I don’t even want a whole job. Just a half one. Or even a quarter. But that apparently makes it even tougher! At time of writing, seek had over 3,138 jobs for full-time marketing roles, and a whopping 479 for part-time roles. So, the odds are well and truly stacked against me.
It’s been more than a year since I first started putting feelers out for work, so I consider myself a bit of an expert now (I do love to be an #expert) and the things I’ve discovered are…
Don’t expect a reply….
Yes. I know. All that effort, none of the reward. For the average job application, I’ll have a good read of the job description, a good look at their website, LinkedIn and other available platforms, and then craft a really good cover letter… but all that effort does not mean that YOU’LL GET ANY SORT OF RESPONSE!
Shocking. Rude. And so absolutely inexcusable.
Is it REALLY that hard to reply to an application with a quick ‘Hey! It’s an employees market at the moment and we’re being hammered by some really strong candidates. You’re likely not going to be good enough, but thanks for making the effort anyhow, ’cause, well you just never know, right? Also, by the way, we’ll only be contacting successful applicants. Have a nice life if you don’t hear back from us’?
Seriously. You can automate this stuff, there’s some pretty good technology out there for those that missed the memo. Agree, not all places are shit at this. For some industries – like recruitment and large corporates – auto-reply is standard, but it’s not always good. (Please check out this lady on how to do it well!)
And then there’s those that nail it…. like this one from Garden to Table – simple, to the point, and leveraging any opportunity to get their brand out there with some social links. Ten out of ten. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the job, or even an interview, but they did get back to me as promised.
Sadly though, a stellar application acknowledgment really stands out more than it should in this game. Some people totally get this and are trying to make a change.
But sometimes you’ll get a reply – even when you don’t expect it anymore
Ok. All potential employers – listen up! You know that saying ‘rather late than never’. Well, when it comes to letting someone know they didn’t get the job and it’s been more than 4 weeks since they applied – DON’T BOTHER, they’ve worked it out! I’m not sure why, but this really annoyed me. It seems token. And pointless. And a bit of a KPI. Please refer to above point for how it should be done.
When it comes to being rejected – I prefer email
I’ve got a feeling this might be a bit controversial but I would genuinely just prefer my ‘Dear Johns’ via email. I’ve had three calls like this – and they suck. Firstly, when you realise it’s someone you’ve interviewed with, you kind of get excited. A call is good news, right? Um. Wrong. You then have to listen to how it’s not personal, you’re a great candidate… just, well, not as good as the others basically. An email with some solid feedback is all I need, thanks. (Here’s a different perspective for those that like to play devil’s advocate)
‘Hire for attitude, you can always teach skills!’ (Insert a gazillion laughing emojis!)
Um, in an ideal world, this would be #truth. But over here in the real world – it’s a load of bollocks. This and the ‘transferable skills’ line. All bollocks. Experience wins the race. Maybe not all the time, but I’d say most of the time. Interestingly enough, for one of the jobs I applied for (and was knocked back not once but TWICE), the amazing recruitment agent, Sarah from Execucare, mentioned that people who would normally have got the job the year before weren’t even getting interviews. So…. maybe this does prevail at other times, but it was certainly not my experience this time.
Don’t re-advertise the job BEFORE you’ve actually rejected all the candidates
True story. One phone interview. One in-person interview including 2 Ubers, lippy, heels and a blow dry (they seemed fancy!), and they didn’t have the courtesy to let me know that I wasn’t what they were after before re-advertising. I was gutted because it was a company I really liked and had followed for a while. I still get a bad taste in my mouth when I see their posts pop-up. I likely wasn’t a good fit (refer fancy comment above) – but still, so not cool!
Contacts are king (Or queen. Or both. Or just #legends)
This. A thousand times this. Never a truer word was said. It’s the only way that I’ve got work so far. It’s people that know me and are confident in taking a risk on me. They know I’ve got an incredible work ethic, I’ll get the job done, and that I’ll bend over backwards to support however I can. Hallelujah for my contacts. You are all my rock stars in this disgruntling, ground-hog epic.
However you say it – it’s still no
Got some time? Have a read of the range of no’s that have popped into my email over the last year. I’m sure one day I’ll look back at this, and be like, lucky that happened… but mostly I really just wished that someone had seen the incredible potential I offered and taken a chance on me.
Of course I know that my no meant someone else’s yes (damn I love that sentence!), but it still sucked.
However, it is what it is, and there’s no point in crying about it. So instead I wrote about it. That’s what I do. Now, let’s play a game…. why don’t you sit down, grab some tequila (or some other enjoyable something that you can get away with), and have a shot on me for every time you read ‘unfortunately’.
Get ready, team – my loss is your gain – your day is about to get a whole lot more fun!
‘Thanks for getting in touch. I really appreciate your interest in joining our company and want to thank you for the time and energy you invested in applying for our job opening. I greatly enjoyed our time together, including your lovely personality and great energy. Though your qualifications are impressive, we have unfortunately decided to move forward with a candidate whose experiences better meet our needs for this particular role. We hope you’ll keep us in mind and apply again in the future should you see a job opening for which you qualify.’
‘We have been fortunate to receive a huge number of great applications from highly experienced candidates. Unfortunately, in this instance, we will not be taking your application further.’
‘You were a top candidate, however after a very difficult decision I ended up moving forward with another candidate.’
‘We regret to advise that after careful consideration, your application has not been successful.’
‘…we won’t be taking your application further as there are other candidates at this stage who are a closer fit to the requirements of the role.’
‘We have received a large number of applications for this position and unfortunately you have not been selected to progress further.’
‘We have had a lot of interest in this opportunity and we have now reviewed your application and we regret to inform you that it has not been selected for further consideration.’
‘We did forward on your CV for consideration but, when comparing against the Job Brief & other candidates, unfortunately they did not wish to proceed any further.’
‘You wrote a great cover letter and obviously have really good skills, but unfortunately we need someone with experience and skills that fit with the nature of our work.’
‘We have had such an overwhelming run of applications for this position and unfortunately, you were not successful on this occasion as we could only pick one candidate.’
‘We received a large number of high caliber applicants for the role. In this instance, you were not successful in progressing to an interview.’
‘Thanks so much for taking the time to meet with me last week, I really enjoyed our interview. Unfortunately we have decided not to progress to the next steps. We have a few candidates who had some really specific experience that I think will make them more successful in this role.’
‘Based on the availability of other, more suitable candidates, I have chosen not to proceed with your application at this time.’
‘We want to thank you for the time and effort you took in applying for the role. Unfortunately, you have been unsuccessful with your application, whilst you have some great skills and expertise, they don’t quite line up to what we are looking for and we won’t be proceeding further with your application.’
‘As expected, we have received a number of applications and decided to move forward with other applicants whose skills and experience better meet our needs at this time.’
‘We appreciate the time and effort taken with your application including completing a video interview, however after careful review, we have decided not to proceed with your application at this stage.’
‘We’ve been fortunate to receive some strong submissions for the role and unfortunately can’t move forward with every application. In this instance, we have decided to progress with other applicants whose experience was a closer match.’
‘We have been overwhelmed with the response and caliber of applicants and regret to inform you that you have not been successful in your application.’
‘We have had a lot of interest in the role and after reviewing all applications I thought it only courteous to let you know you have not been shortlisted for an interview on this occasion.’
‘I really like you and there is potential, but there are better fit candidates to progress to the second interview.’
Unfortunately, I never got any of these jobs. (That one was free. You’re welcome!)