How I Survived “The Process”

by Lisa Hill

I have made a career out of job searching. I finished my masters program in May 2016 and job searched until August 2016 when I started a temporary position. I worked fulltime until the position ended in January 2017, when I started my job search again. I have been told to “trust the process” more times than I can count, but I HATE the process. I know that this process ultimately ends with a job, but there are still challenging ups and downs.

The ups, I love the idea of the job search. All the possibilities of where I could live and work are great daydreaming material. Before I submit an application, I check the cost of living, if Trader Joe’s and Costco are near by, farmer’s market options, and the selection of regional hiking trails. Before I submit an application, I have a general idea if the location meets my basic living needs and lifestyle.

The downs, when applying for jobs, there will be rejection. This can be easy to brush off but with some positions it can be hard to accept. Early in my job search I would apply for jobs and was confident that I would receive a phone interview but would never hear from the institution. There were other positions I applied to which felt like a reach yet I would hear from the office soon after the closing date.

By my second round of job searching, I had developed several strategies to beat the downsides of The Process. To handle rejection, I changed my outlook and drew on my experiences as a member of search committees. There were times when we used an old version of a position description because updates had to be approved through HR and took too long. Other times the expectations for candidates of my fellow committee members didn’t align with my interpretation of the position description. I now apply for positions and ignore my gut reaction to the position description. I apply to jobs that ask for more experience than I have and I apply to jobs for which I am overqualified. During interviews I ask questions to gain a better understanding of what the supervisor envisions for the position.

Additionally, I limit my job search to one day a week. I finish applications throughout the week but I only search for new positions once. This way, I will not miss any opportunities but neither will I stress when I don’t find new positions for several days. I also found a part-time job and other projects to keep me busy and feeling productive. Finally, and most importantly, I no longer wait for a job offer to celebrate. Instead, I celebrate after I complete an on campus interview. This celebration can be a weekend getaway to visit a family member or it is a nice meal out with friends. Either way, I trust that the process will result in a job, but in the meantime I’m going to celebrate the little things and enjoy my free time.

The job searching process can be described as draining, stressful, or frustrating. Fortunately there are ways to ease the process, and the process does work in the end. You just have to trust (and beat) the process.

How do you keep your cool during the job search? What are your tips and tricks?

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