Thursday, September 23, 2010

The NeverEnding Learning Curve

I’ve been going on about my job search for a while now and to be completely honest, there are days when I all I want to do is pack it all in and hurl abuse; at the countless recruiters, in-house human resource management teams and even at the poor automated response systems churning out hundreds of we- regret- to- inform- you’s a day.

Since I’ve begun documenting my journey, I’ve been faced with a range of feedback. There are people who have been confused/unimpressed/supportive; others simply feel I am abusing my ‘blogging privileges’ in reaching out to the public with my experiences. Funny, I thought that's what personal blogs were for?

Now although everyone is entitled to an opinion, it is in turn my prerogative to utilise the tools I have been offered via social media to market myself – I only wish I’d begun to do so earlier. It’s a double-edged sword, the attempt to publicise one’s skill set through said means, as often this can be mistaken for egotism, conceit and even presumptuousness.

I’m willing to take that risk.

In a short span of time, I’ve been lucky enough to come across a number of professionals who have kindly taken the time to talk with me about my online presence, in a bid to guide me to my currently elusive job opportunity. I am going to share a few of the tips they have offered me in order to help whoever is reading this to better understand the journey of this unhappily employed twenty-something; I am also sharing them because slowly, things are starting to happen:

Tip #1 – Be wise in choosing your network.

This rule isn’t exclusive to online presence, but translates into real life. I remember my folks always reprimanding me on my latest selection of friends and saying, “Who you associate with, is who people will perceive you to be”. As always, they were right.

I am now trying to connect/network with a number of broadcast personalities/employees/media recruiters in the hopes of demonstrating a certain degree of initiative as opposed to the monotony and frankly, the futility of open job applications. So far I've managed to elicit feedback from/establish connections with journos, techies, motivational figures and marketing moguls alike. 

Tip #2 – Don’t spread yourself thin.

A particularly difficult one for me to follow, as up until very recently, I resembled a bit of a headless chicken, endeavouring to prove my competence in several journalistic niches. Now, although one may indeed be capable of juggling varied projects, whilst in a state of career limbo it is unwise to attempt to present oneself as a ‘jack of all trades’.

Select the one thing you excel at, or alternatively, the one thing that sets you apart from the crowd. In effect, in weeks to come, you will notice that I will have culled my general randomness for a more focused approach. Hopefully soon that will entail less job search grief and more employed banter and bliss.

Tip #3 – Pay attention to detail.

Recycled content is boring; people may read it, but it’s not exactly going to bring the lovely people from BBC a-knocking. Therefore, continuing on from Tip #2, Tip #3 advises that you stay on top of what’s hot. As you all know by now, I more or less have an opinion about everything, but ranting about the jaded world of socialites at London Fashion Week is not the best look for me at the moment.  

What happened this morning? And this evening? The Dell Looking Glass if you’re in tech, the epic Toon army win over Chelsea at the bridge if you’re a sports writer, etc. For a sociocultural journo, my own diverse background - my entire life really – is a unique tool I should be using to my advantage. There is so much happening on my side of the world that people are completely unaware of. I will change that.

More tips at a later stage; this is a steady learning curve and (mostly) I am enjoying the growth it's afforded me. Besides, you don’t expect me to give away all my secrets, do you? Watch this space. 


  1. Consider also writing nothing but unadulterated drivel until (fingers crossed) someone reads your blog and thinks,

    "My word, this man is a miracle. I shall furnish him with infinity dollars, and we shall drink together. How fine a time we shall have!"

    Give it a month or two.

  2. Excellent points. I especially like tip #2. As a small business owner, I look to hire those that can fill specific needs. I don't need a company of super heroes. We need a bunch of side kicks that can fill specialty roles.