Admittedly, you probably won't tell your grandchildren in the future that looking for a job was one of the greatest experiences of your life. Job hunting is tough, mentally and physically; it's fraught with worry, exhaustion, and the pangs of rejection. But it can teach you tremendous life lessons. If economic cycles have an upside, it's that you may be forced to reexamine your skills and interests and try things—and consider careers—you may not have otherwise.
The Greatest Lessons Hunting for Careers Can Teach You
1. The phone is your friend.
Many job hunters hide behind their computers, expecting that once they've filled in those resume templates online, the offers will start rolling in. But most online resume submissions never get a response, so don't wait. Get on the phone. Start making inquiries, building your network and using your connections. And once you hit the workforce, your comfort level with the phone will enable you to pick it up and make that much-needed sale, which will serve you well throughout your career.
2. It pays to donate your time.
While you may be thinking “I don’t have the time to volunteer” the reality is that many volunteer roles can be part-time and flexibly fit into your schedule. Plus they add a critical element to your resume: experience. There are several benefits to volunteering:
- It keeps your mind and body engaged
- It's rewarding
- It teaches you new skills
- It introduces you to new people
- It might just open the door to careers you wouldn't have previously considered
Plus, when a new paid role comes available, many companies and nonprofit organizations hire volunteers and interns for entry-level jobs. Research shows that those who work in their fields, even at low-paying or unpaid jobs, tend to rebound more quickly when hiring picks up.
3. Balance is important.
Don’t try to do everything at once nor try to force things unnaturally in your job search. Maintaining a balance is important for staying positive, which, in turn, is vital when job hunting. Ironically, this positive attitude often makes you more attractive to employers.
4. You can do more than you thought.
Just because you've studied and prepared yourself for certain types of careers doesn't mean that's all you can do. Once you open up your mind to new possibilities and capitalize on your untapped talents, you may be pleasantly surprised with where it takes you. Look for entry-level jobs for which you're qualified, and if you aren't qualified, look into which online degrees you could complete to meet the requirements—a little knowledge can go a long way. You could even try temp work, particularly in positions which expose you to different fields and work environments. Why not use this chance to broaden your horizons?
5. You can always be better at what you do.
Graduate applications at colleges around the country continue increasing as job hunters look to enhance or add to their skills and make themselves more desirable to employers. Consider online degrees, which can often be completed more quickly and less expensively than traditional programs and offer the flexibility that allows you to still job hunt or volunteer on weekdays. No one ever said job hunting was easy. But it can certainly be a time to learn more about yourself and have new experiences—and that's definitely a good thing.