Many people look at job-hunting as an action you only do when needing a job when in fact there are benefits to applying to job posts regardless if you need one or not, or applying even if the job might not sound like the perfect fit. Obviously, it makes sense to do this if the job is within your line of work or if it’s a job alternative you might’ve considered. I’m not saying to apply for the sake of applying, but there may be some use or advantages you’re overlooking.
Has a job posting ever rubbed you off the wrong way that you don’t apply? The person responsible for posting the job may not know all the specifics regarding the role. Many job postings can sound vague due to the lack of information the hiring manager is given. On the flip side, the job might sound unclear or excessive because they decided to bombard the posting with every possible related task and software with a very generic version of the role in mind.
If you’re interviewed, you now have the opportunity to learn more about the role and the company. Do your research about the company as much as you can prior to the interview. The more questions you ask, the clearer it will be whether the job and the workplace is the right fit for you. Asking questions will also reveal how genuinely interested you are and the effort you put into asking the right questions. Never leave an interview without asking any questions.
Some of you may feel like you’re wasting their time by being interviewed as a person who might not need or want the job as much as someone else. Again, if you have the opportunity to chat with them, you’ll have the chance to learn more about the role. There’s a chance the job might be worse than it initially sounded, but there’s also a chance the role might be a lot better than you expected. You’ll never know unless you make an effort to find out.
A lot of people hate interviews! Most of those people have the same feelings about giving presentations. You might feel like some people are naturals when it comes to interviews or anything communication-related, but the truth is learning to communicate well takes practice. It’s a similar type of practice as playing the guitar, drawing, skateboarding, cooking, or singing. You might not be the next Adele, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a singing career. Others might have better vocal cords than you, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.
Active learning — learning by doing in the context of interviews does a couple of things. Learning how to speak in that environment will improve over time; knowing what questions to ask, when to ask them, how to respond, active listening, and maybe even reading body language. On top of that, actively applying to jobs will boost your courage and confidence; this is huge!
“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it by use.” — Ruth Gordon
To many recruits, confidence is key. There’s a chance you might not be the best candidate on paper, but if your confidence made a higher impression than the other candidates, this might show recruits that you’re honest, that you’re great at troubleshooting, or that you’re easy to talk to; that you bring some kind of value to the team that’s not listed in the job posting. At the end of the day, if a potential employer were to decide between you and another candidate, and everything on paper were nearly identical — aside from your personality — your communication skills could very well be the deciding factor of landing the job.
You apply for the job, you get the interview, and then you don’t get the job or you choose to not accept the job. You learned more about the role and you’ve hopefully leveled up a bit in your interview skills. Is that all? That depends. Do you feel like you made a good impression? Would you apply there again? If your answer is yes to one or both of these questions, there’s a chance you just made a strategic career play because now, the company knows you.
In the creative industry, freelancers are very common to workplaces such as marketing agencies or animation studios. If you don’t end up working full-time for the company for whatever reason and they like you and your portfolio, you’re now on their roster of freelancers.
Aside from freelance opportunities, applying to places still puts you on their radar. If you’ve made a good impression, there’s a chance they’ll remember you if you apply again in the future. Whether you’re later applying for a more suitable position or whether you later have more experience under your belt, your hope is that they remember you not only because of what was on your application. If you feel you didn’t make a first impression as good as you hoped, well, now you have an opportunity to show that part of you has also improved.
Practice makes preparation
Thinking about jobs and interviews this way may sound like a very strategic way of active career planning; that’s the point. I also look at this as investing in your future. You never know. Strategic moves like this may result in blessings in disguise; it might even be a life-saver down the road.
For those who are hesitant to apply for jobs because you doubt yourselves — again, it takes practice and it takes patience. Theoretically, it should improve over time. You’ll have a zero percent chance if you don’t try at all. Learn to pivot from all the no’s you receive which are usually disguised as failures.
“Failure is success in progress.” — Albert Einstein
As one who’s felt ‘lucky’ at times in my career, I leave you with this quote:
“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.” — Oprah Winfrey