It’s 11am and I have already received three rejection emails. I want to crawl back in bed. But I go for a cup of coffee instead to provide some comfort. Coffee is safer than a cookie.
Sleeping in this morning would only waste a few valuable hours in which I can get hold of people and make connections. I am getting to know every professional in my field. They answer my emails, agree to meet me for coffee, and generously pay the bill. Do they feel guilty because they are employed and they know how few jobs are out there?
The late nights in the office during my previous role, and my fancy education – what have they lead to? After three months of job hunting, I am tired. I miss working, colleagues, a pay cheque, and yes, early-morning Monday meetings. My first student loan payment is due in a month and I am scared.
The numbers game
A job search is simply a matter of numbers. I estimate that every 10 inquiries that I make (mostly by email) will translate into one meeting. Ten meetings will keep me busy until an interview arises, regardless of whether it is a job that I want. And 10 interviews will hopefully result in an offer that I like.
So 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000 people who I need to interact with to lead to a potential job. The numbers sound overwhelming and quite scary, but I estimate that I am well above 600 contacts already. Perhaps it’s the mathematician in me that likes to keep count.
Are there that many people left in my industry to meet? Actually, yes, and it’s not just the managing directors, chief investment officers and HR professionals. The vice presidents and associates count too. Members of a team who could raise their hand up to recommend you are numerous throughout the experience chain.
Often the more junior people, as well as being easier to get hold of, can be your most valuable allies in sharing information such as job leads, changes at the company and introductions. This discovery has been one of the most pleasant things about my current job search.
I have been surprised by the number of people in my industry who I have never crossed paths with before but have been willing to meet me. If there is one benefit from incessant networking, I am rapidly becoming the most plugged-in person in my job sector. So every morning when I wake up, the first thing I tell myself is: “It’s not a matter of if I go back to work, it’s only a matter of time.”
The author is an American who has just graduated with an MBA and is looking for work in Singapore.