Every time I applied for a position, my head was full of doubt. Who did I think I was? I had no real professional experience. Was I even a professional? And every rejection seemed to confirm that. I wasn’t good enough (there goes my chance to be a professional). It is impossible to talk yourself out of that doubt. I had to be brave and reach out to family, friends, and mentors to pull me out of that hole. And when that rejection eventually came, I had to ask for reassurance. I needed their reassurance to keep applying and not settle for the part time hustle.
After I received a rejection email from an in-person interview, I had had it. On the drive to my part time job, I called my mom crying. I had put everything into that interview. I had built myself up from rock bottom, put on makeup, and pushed my anxiety aside. And all I got was another fucking rejection email. I wanted to give up that night. I was angry with the world and wanted to watch it burn. I had felt an unfamiliar rage and it took my mom an hour to calm me down.
When it Started
It’s a long and lonely road to get a job. While it may seem short on this blog, it took me about 10 months to get here. But if we are being honest here (which I usually am) I’ve been working for this moment for five years. When I enrolled in a Masters program, I started the journey of building my resume with experience and education. I had no clue or any guarantee the degrees or experience would get me anywhere in life. It was an exciting risk to take.
In those five years, I had two unpaid internships, one student assistantship, enrolled in another Masters program, and a few part time jobs. Every year, I went to local and regional conferences and forced myself to have the confidence to meet new people and network. I attended as many free and low cost webinars and workshops as possible having no idea when or if I would use the information.
I started my job hunting journey in May of 2018 proudly holding my MSIS degree in hand. To keep track of the applications, I created a spreadsheet. Looking back, I only applied to about seventeen jobs in 2018, all of which rejected me. Those rejections were easier to let go of because I was still enrolled in another program. I was distracted with papers, projects, and my assistantship.
In the last year of my second degree, I asked two professionals to look at my resume and cover letter. And I started applying for jobs again. And I kept track of those applications on another spreadsheet. This spreadsheet included forty jobs out of which two asked for a phone interview, and only one offered me a position. It was a part time supervisory position at an academic library for the evening hours. It wasn’t ideal but it was something!
Do the Math
I continued using the spreadsheet during the last semester of my program up until I graduated in May. By that point, I was burnt out from wrapping up graduate school, hosting my own graduation party, and moving to Long Island. I was also tired of keeping track of applications and rejections. So I opted to keep track through emails. There are at least fifty emails that are either job applications, confirmation from the application site, or rejections.
If you haven’t been doing math, don’t worry, because I have. Since 2018, I have applied to ninety eight jobs. Out of those ninety eight applications, seven asked for a phone interview. Out of those seven phone interviews, five asked for an in-person interview. And out of those five, only three offered a position (two of which were part time positions).
If you have read the blog, then you have an idea of how lonely job hunting can be. If you are new to the blog, then let me tell you. No one is going to ask you to review your resume. There is no one standing next to you dictating the perfect cover letter. You have to write and rewrite alone for every application. I rewrote my resume at least three times and my cover letter changed with each application (ninety eight times).
A New Journey
I was so tired of being alone. I started this blog to share my anger, doubt, and pictures of cats, hoping to reach someone on the journey too. While there are plenty of blogs that share jobs in the Information Science field and blogs that provide tips and tricks for resume and cover letter writing, there are no blogs about the journey. I couldn’t find anyone to share my journey with. I couldn’t find anyone to show me that I wasn’t alone. So, I became the person I was seeking. And I’m not going to stop. I’m still here to listen to your journey. I am still sharing my job hunting journey.
And now, I have a whole new journey to go through alone. The ninety seventh job application returned with an offer. I finally got a fucking full time job! But no one tells you what happens when you get the job. No one tells you there is another world of anxiety on your first day of work, first week, first month, first year. It’s a completely new journey, with no road map. After being on the job hunt for so long, I felt comfortable and expected rejections. As I come down from the excitement of getting a new job, my mind is beginning to fill with doubt.
Can I do this? What does it mean to be a professional? Am I worth all of this? While my job hunting journey has come to an end, it does not mean my experiences meant nothing. I still want to write about the journey because the sting of ninety six rejections still burns. And my new journey on the career path is terrifying and unknown. Like job hunting, a career path is different for everyone but the general feelings and experience is the same. Both journey’s face the unknown.