Glenford Smith | Job search is a journey
QUESTION: I am a regular reader of your column in the Careers section of The Sunday Gleaner. You have given great advice to persons who normally ask questions, and I am hoping to get some of that advice. I am a University of the West Indies graduate. I completed my degree in my passion, social work, in May 2015. I was so hopeful that I would have found a job by now, however, to my disappointment I have been unable to secure a job. I have sent out countless application letters and I am yet to receive a call for even one interview. What am I doing wrong?
CAREERS: Thank you for regularly reading the Careers section of The Gleaner. Your appreciation of the help we provide is greatly valued.
I hope you take a moment to give yourself some credit. Congratulate yourself for completing your degree and graduating in an area that is your passion. Too often, graduates do not appreciate how far they've come; what they have achieved. Their eyes are firmly fixed on what they desire, and they see nothing else.
So take a few moments and survey how far you've come. Remember those days when you were dying to reach university and finish with a degree in social work.
You seem a bit worried by your letter. A job is there waiting for you, if you will give yourself the space to relax a bit.
After all, being hurried and harried is not working for you; is not getting any positive results. So, let go of the anxiety. I understand that you might be tempted to freak out if you've sent out many letters and not get any positive response. But don't panic. Look at it as simply a part of going through what's leading you to your calling.
You wanted to know what you're not doing right. I have received your rÈsumÈ and cover letter. I will be in touch personally with respect to them. What you need to be aware of is the need for specificity. By that I mean you need to be crystal clear about who exactly you are targeting with your letter.
That is why I don't support writing a blank cover letter or rÈsumÈ and sending off based on a list you have prepared. Write a rÈsumÈ and an application letter tailored to a particular employer. When that employer sees it, he should feel as if it is for him. The application must be targeted at that employer.
I can say that your application will want some modification. Don't get me wrong. I used to do the same things, with similar results. This is an area that needs some attention. When the employer gets your letter with several others, he may just lay yours aside for lack of specificity.
Finally, I think it is exciting that you are looking towards working in the area you're passionate about. Social work will provide the keen edge of motivation to push through and not become discouraged. I will be in touch with regard to your application and rÈsumÈ.
All the very best to you.
- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. firstname.lastname@example.org