I realize that I have given a lot of advice so far on how to job search, but haven’t talked about the hard part: submitting applications. In reality, most people that find great work find it without my advice. You don’t need to write out your cool job criteria or follow my application formula to find something great. While helpful, they can be preoptimizations that keep you from hitting the submit button.
Optimizations are the easy part. They're easy because they don't put you on the hook for anything. There is no concrete way of saying if you were successful.
Applying is different. You either get rejected or get an interview. No one likes the feeling of facing rejection. We like confidence and we want to feel confident that we are on the right path. Unfortunately, there is no right path, and looking for one only guarantees that you will get a mediocre result.
War on Art popularized this idea of resistance.
How does one face this resistance? Here are some of the things that helped me
1. Separate your identity from your “success”
“You can learn so so much on the internet for the low low price of your ego.” -Swyx
We are surrounded by many people that got into Google with no practice on their first try. That was a joke, but sadly, people that post about their career success often are greeted by a host of social followers that are looking for a hack ~ a quick and easy way in. This makes the algorithm push their content which warps our perception of the industry. These people are either statistical outliers or manipulative storytellers.
Job searching is the wild west and if you get rejected a bunch you shouldn’t feel bad about it, because you aren’t graded like we were in school. Humble yourself enough to give yourself the time you need to learn how to survive in this wilderness.
This clip was really helpful for how to think about this.
2. Embrace “yet”
You haven’t gone through this process yet. You don’t have a bunch of stats like me on what worked and what didn’t. But the only thing that separates us is that I have more cycles on the subject. If you can embrace “yet” in this job search it frees you up to try things without needing confidence in their outcome ahead of time.
3. Simply - haul water and chop wood
Find jobs. Apply. Find jobs. Apply. Find jobs. Apply. It’s that simple. Hauling water and chopping wood used to be common everyday tasks. They weren't special occasions to be celebrated or mourned. The tasks lacked drama. No one competed in hauling water efficiently. It’s not about that. Treat applying in a similar manner.
At some point, my mindset changed. Job searching doesn’t have to be a dead sprint of “wasted time.” In reality, it’s a part-time job in the marketing firm of you. Viewing it as such allows you to not sprint, to not ruin your weekend over a rejection letter, to keep the main things the main things in your life. It also gives you time to build systems and data so that the next time around you aren’t overwhelmed.
4. Don’t do it alone
I was fortunate enough to have my wife and many friends that I could lean on when I was going through a lot of rejections. Lean on people in your life that will support you, but also do them a favor and don’t just be a parasite on their good vibes. I definitely did this in my marriage when I was searching, and it caused a lot of tension. Viewing it as a part-time job creates a boundary for this not to happen.
There are people on the internet like me that are really into job searching. Find them and engage them! If you don’t know where to start, my email is in the footer of this page. I’m serious. I would love to hear your aspirations and strategies. Or if things aren’t going so hot, your fears and uncertainties.
It’s funny I am talking about this
Who am I to tell you how this works? I don’t know everything. I have a couple of people I am following, but I am just some other 24 y/o, who is struggling against the resistance in writing this article. It’s worth it though. It’s worth it if it helps you.