I started the idea for this week’s column with a thought which seems apt: “When looking for work, jobs are like Pokémon in that you can’t catch ’em all!”
What do I mean by that? Well, it’s pretty simple. You only have a finite amount of time. There is a vast number of open roles you can apply for. Indeed, a quick search on LinkedIn (just one of many job sites available) shows 3403 positions that match the phrase “Chief of Staff” for the UK! Searching through those for a suitable role, then applying and hoping for a response, can lead to increased anxiety.
So, it would be best if you were more selective. Firstly, choose the best search site for your particular role. LinkedIn, as mentioned earlier, is quite good as it aggregates several other sites into its search engine. Still, it has a limitation of you are unable to filter on industry type. It has its limits, though, so it might be worth looking elsewhere. Back when I was an IT contractor, I used Jobserve a lot. It is usually worth asking for advice on the best for your industry from peer groups on Slack, Discord or others in person.
Then, it would be best to be more selective about the roles to apply to. It might seem a good idea to apply for project manager roles in financial services when you want to be a (or have been working as) a producer on the latest AAA title. However, this is a bad idea. You are reducing your chances of even getting to interview due to maybe not having worked in a similar role or industry.
Next, you are maybe only applying to feel progress. “It isn’t what I want to do, but at least I’m sending applications off, so I have done something”. In reality, what happens is that you increase your chance of getting a rejection letter and the associated impact on your mental health.
If you are applying for a large number of roles daily, then you can’t be giving every one of them your best. This will show up to the hiring manager, and thus, you are putting yourself on a backfoot before you have even started!
There are only a finite number of hours in a day, you are allowed to do other things when you are job hunting, you can’t force people to give you a job, nor can you push them into advertising one! Rarely do employers hire the first person that applies; thus applying for a role a few hours or days after it is posted will not negatively impact your chances of getting an interview. Be kind to yourself. To give an example, I currently write these articles, mentor three games devs and a start-up studio, and I have recently taken on a part-time chef job. As well as job hunting!
Lastly, if you somehow manage to get through the interview process and get offered the role, how long, honestly will you stay? Will you still keep looking for that elusive video games production job? Doing that is not only hard on you as you would be doing a job that your heart just isn’t in, but unfair on your employer as they will have invested considerable time and money to get you onboard. Just so that you can do a substandard job.
1) make as narrow a search as you feel confident with
2) put everything you have into each application you make.
3) be kind to yourself
4) do other stuff, not just job-hunting
5) stay in your lane if that is what you want to do (changing careers is outside of what I want to cover here and may be a topic for a later date)
I wish you all the best in your job hunt. If you want to talk to someone about your job hunt, how it’s impacting you personally, or for advice then feel free to hit me up (https://www.linkedin.com/in/phil-foxton-uk/) or if you happen to know of a company that needs a fractional COO/Chief of Staff/Head of Operations use the same link!