25 interviews in 3 months... Say what??
You get an interview, and you get an interview, and you get an interview. That is all good, but can I get a job?? I was unemployed from mid November until June 26th with a 3 month temporary position thrown in when I accepted my current job at Duke.
During the 2nd time I was unemployed I had 25 job interviews in 3 months... 25 individual job interviews in 3 months... Yes, it is crazy! 50% of the interviews resulted in a second interview. 7 on campus interviews. Interviews with schools in Oregon, California, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, New Jersey, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Utah, Alabama, Nebraska, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia. I was a state trotting interviewer.
My resume did well, so amazingly well and I am was surprised as I was transitioning out of college athletics. But, my resume wasn't always this good. My first resume I used from November until mid March resulted in 1 interview. 1!!!!! I knew I had to change it, but wasn't sure what format or what it had to say. In athletics they like resumes with bullet points, numbers, percentages, and volleyball terminology so that is what my resume had. Student Affairs is not the same.
Looking for a job in the career field you are in is tough. Changing careers from 15 years in college volleyball to higher education is even tougher. This process was definitely challenging as I had to:
- Take chances
- Be open to change and doing it fast
- Learn more about myself and what is best for me
- Trust peoples' advice who I didn't really know
- Ask questions
- Update or put my resume in a different format
- Step out of my comfort zone
- Made my own business cards and pass them out to any and everyone
I was lucky enough to go to the NASPA Conference as a volunteer, and it was there my life and resume changed. Before I went, I contact people through Facebook groups and Linkedin to ask if they would take time to chat with me and look at my resume. Everyone I contacted was more than willing to do it, and that is what changed my life. One woman looked at my resume and said no to the whole format. At that point I could have listened and changed my resume or just nodded and kept going with what I had. I decided to change my resume. With that change my resume started getting hit after hit after hit. I learned to make my resume conducive to the industry I was applying in. I took everything about volleyball out of my resume and transferred what I did to easily understandable terms for colleges and companies to understand. They not only didn't understand the volleyball terms, they didn't care, and if they didn't understand or care then they weren't reading my resume.
I interviewed so much I could possibly be considered an interviewing pro. I interviewed 2 and 3 times a day. I interviewed in an airport, I interviewed when I was in Canada, I interviewed in a parked car when I was driving to DC. I interviewed a lot. I felt like I was in the movie 27 dresses, always the bridesmaid, never the bride.
I had great interviews both on the phone or on campus where I was sure I was going to get the offer. But I didn't. I had interviews where after the first few questions I could tell that it wasn't the place for me. I also had an interview I bombed so badly, midway through the interview I just wanted to tell them, "we both know this isn't going any further so let me just get off the phone with some dignity." I had it all. Except for a job.
I learned through this process to have patience and to have faith. I had to believe in my decision to switch careers and stick with it even though I was getting emails from athletic directors about their open positions. I had to stick with it even though people were calling me about volleyball jobs. I had to stick through it when it became even harder, when I was getting rejections phone calls, emails, bat signals, pigeon carriers, and etc. You name it, I was rejected by it. But I had to stick through it all and believe I was going to come out on top.
If you feel you are in a place of no forward movement where are somethings to think about:
- Is your resume format conducive to the industry? The government likes bullet points and short resumes where else student affairs like you to tell a story with your experience.
- Are you putting the posting job descriptions into your resume. Don't be subtle about it. If they are asking for someone who basketweaves with armadillos and you have done it, then put the sentence from the positing in your resume.
- Is your cover letter game strong? Do you highlight what you have done within your past or current jobs that relate to the job you are playing for?
- Do you take the time to adjust each resume and cover letter to fit the job you are applying for?
- Do you tell them in your cover letter you are the IDEAL candidate for the job and then list the reasons why?
- Do you NOT apply for jobs because there is one thing in the job description you don't have experience in? If you are doing that then STOP. Ladies especially, don't hold yourself back. Apply to everything.
- When you meet people do you tell them you are looking for a job, what industry you are looking in, and asking if they can help you?
- And lastly, are you asking and taking advice people who were in your situation and came out on top?
Just remember what you are going through is what you are going through. Don't look at someone's chapter 5 and compare it to your chapter 2. It isn't the same. We all have our own journey and have to keep that in mind when we feel down and want to compare ourselves to someone else.
If you are interested in having your resume or cover letter redone please let me know and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let's start the process!