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by Rob Porter | August 14, 2023


Embarking on a job search is serious business. You’ll have to put time into updating your resume and writing numerous cover letters, while also dealing with multiple hiring managers from different companies. In addition to this, there are other aspects of a job search that don’t seem to get a whole lot of attention. Today, we’re going to shed some light on the hard truths of job searching. Let’s begin.

It Takes Time, Effort, and Luck

During your job search you’ll likely come across a listing that seems too good to be true, or you might receive a phone call from a network connection who says they have a “sure thing” for you. Of course, a job that promises a salary that is tens of thousands of dollars more than you’ve ever made sounds incredible, and a slam-dunk job prospect right when you need it feels like a cool oasis in the middle of an arid and unforgiving desert, but you must always remember that nothing in a job search is guaranteed.

Finding the right job takes work. It’s entirely possible that someone might call you out of the blue with an amazing job opportunity, or that you find a job that features all your dream benefits, but more often than not, these things take a lot of time…and luck. Learning to use discernment in a job search is key, as there are many fake or otherwise dishonest listings out there. Additionally, you have to put in the time to prove your worth in the eyes of your network connections before they’ll even consider you for a new role that just opened up. Always keep your head up, and persevere.

You Might be Ghosted

Throughout your job search you’ll be emailing and speaking with many hiring managers, HR representatives, or other contacts at the companies you’ve applied to. During this process, you might have several exchanges, whether by phone call or via email, and you could be required to attend multiple interviews. It’s entirely possible for a hiring manager to lose track of some of the many applicants, so following up is key.

Wait about a week between email exchanges. If you’ve gone on an initial interview, send a follow-up “thank you” email later on the same day. In the event you haven’t heard anything, give it a week or so and send another politely-written follow-up email. At this point, if you still haven’t heard back from the hiring manager, just move on. The best-case scenario is they’ll reach out to you at a later date, but don’t rely on this. Keep your job search momentum going and don’t let being ghosted get to you—it can happen to anyone.

Experience and Qualifications Aren’t Everything

You could have put in countless hours on your resume and cover letter, landed every great job you’ve applied for, held the most prestigious titles, and made the most impressive achievements, but that doesn’t mean you’re a shoo-in. The companies you’re applying for know exactly what they’re looking for in a candidate, and their decision-making process is often more complicated than you might suspect.

Let’s say you’re competing with four other candidates who share similarities with you with regards to their education, work history, and set of skills. Here, a potential employer might select a candidate based on certain personality traits that fit well within the company’s workplace culture. If you’re ever confronted with this scenario and you aren’t selected, don’t let it get you down. When you trust your intuition, your unique personality will often lead you toward employers who are a good fit for your life and your needs.

You Have to Be Relentless

You might have come across the greatest job listing of all time; it’s your dream job, it pays well, you can work from home, it has great health benefits and lots of PTO, and the workplace culture is a perfect fit. You decide to put all the proverbial eggs into one basket on this job, only to find out that the hiring manager is totally obnoxious, unprofessional, and rude—this does not bode well.

It’s important to keep your options open during a job search, and to not let dreamy job postings throw you off guard. Remember, job postings can sometimes be dishonest or misleading, and you shouldn’t pass judgment on them either way until you’ve actually done some research or spoken to the hiring manager. You might be surprised at which jobs turn out to be a nightmare when compared to their well-written, fluffy job postings.

Rejection is Inevitable

This is the big one. One of the hardest things about any serious job search is dealing with not being selected for a position. It can be particularly difficult after you’ve spent so much time speaking with the hiring manager and dealing with multiple interviews. To be blunt, rejection can feel like a punch to the gut, but there is a silver lining—you are not alone. Anyone who has a career has dealt with being rejected.

Think back to our previous entry about keeping your options open. If you’re in talks with several potential employers and one of them decides not to move forward with your candidacy, it won’t feel as devastating. On the other hand, if you’ve been waiting for a response from the one company you applied to and they reject you, it can seem like the end of the world. Don’t let rejection bring you down, it’s just another part of the process.

As always, do your best to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. There will always be bumps in the road during a job search and throughout your career, so it’s best to be prepared. Understanding and anticipating the types of obstacles you might face is key to overcoming them. If you’re ever feeling down during your job search, just remember that you’re not alone and keep pushing forward.