Aspects of job searching I’d forgotten about: the post-application “still interested” letter…

I got one of those notifications in my e-mail today, indicating that “hey, if you’re interested in this job, you just miiiiight want to send the employer a follow-up letter to let ’em know that.”

Cue cold-sweat, a rock in my stomach, and shaky fingers.

I hate job searches. But what I hate most is the uncertainty and ever-changing advice, and then trying to figure out what to say in these situations. The time between filling out the application and an interview have left me weeded out so many times. I can’t remember the last time I did a follow-up notification, or even if I ever actually did one because there was such a quick response.

But yeah, I REALLY hate the application process and the waiting because I’ve never figured out how to navigate the fine line between showing interest and looking desperate (and honestly, I’m afraid my desperation will win out and make me look freaking unhinged on the screen).

I’ve never really gotten the hang of “formalities”. It just feels like a stupid waste of time in one sense, and more than that, feels like it’s gonna waste an employer’s time. One job I applied to had about 150 other applicants that went through the same job search site. I’m sure they’re sifting through the applications (or letting the bots do it), but if we all do the “it’s been 3 days, time to follow-up with a note or call” thing, it feels like that would back things up a bit more.

My phone and internet fiasco that I’ve been dealing with over last week (a reason I haven’t posted in ages) has probably cost me a few job opportunities already. It made me blow money I don’t have on a new phone once I realized I had nothing in my call log indicating missing calls or info and I was 5 days late responding to a manager’s call (forehead, meet brick wall).

Formal Recruitment GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

More on that, later.

It’s times like this I wish I’d learned more about networking when it mattered most, because seeing that suggestion e-mail in my inbox this morning made my stomach sink and I haven’t been able to even approach it. The only good thing that came about is finding a learning program has dropped it’s price, so I’m hoping my check comes in quickly so I can pay my bills and see if I can afford it (fingers crossed that I can, or better yet, can learn what I need to just fine from Skillshare instead… that’s what I’m tackling this weekend).

I think it’s nerve-wracking because job hunting trends change and I don’t know if this is outdated advice, like when folks still insist (read: usually baby boomers or Gen X’ers) that you should say hello and hand your job application in to a manager directly. Yeah, unless you personally know someone that works there and can vouch for you on the spot (and a position has been advertised), no way in hell.

The only time I ever got a job that worked even close to that involved me being my chatty introvert self to someone who introduced herself as a seasonal store owner while we waited for our coffee. She basically went around asking any warm body if they could use extra hours for the holiday season (or knew anyone who could) and if they were interested. I took her card, filled out the application to the parent company, and waited for the call. Nerve wracking as all hell, difficult (but learned a lot about modern retail… and became wary about assistant manager “we will train you” promises), and I got a few hundred extra dollars doing it.

At least job search sites have stream-lined some retail or sales position application process (so far). But damn–I really need to brush up on my professional writing and keeping things short and sweet. I’m willing to learn just about anything I can, especially for something like a sales job. My appearance I can’t help much, but I’m getting my skin-care routine going again, exercise and a better diet, and I’m dropping enough pounds that my nicer clothes are fitting or getting there.

Scarves to cover up my head are going to be my thing, unless nobody really cares or I have to wear something else for safety (I shaved my head again last month BEFORE I realized I needed a new job… the heat was getting to me badly and I need to fix the A/C in my car instead of showing up everywhere with sweaty hair and breakouts all along my hairline). I’ve let my hair grow out from bowling ball smooth (finally managed to get it that way) a couple millimeters. If I added a sleepless week, I could almost cosplay as Uncle Fester. Now the hair growth makes me look like a middle school defensive football player (or maybe a skinnier, slightly taller Pugsley, to go with the Addams Family theme).

#The Addams Family from Yikes

But I digress.

It’s been a rough day and I’m fighting a migraine thanks to work (the location next to us spilled some pretty awful industrial-strength floor cleaner everywhere and the smell was driving me up the wall for hours). And now I’m here, drinking coffee (way too late) to kill the headache so that maybe I can get some less than fitful sleep in a few hours. Rainstorm kept me up half the night, so I slept in. Wouldn’t have been tired anyway.

But not alert enough to answer a job post follow up. Just alert enough to browse possible courses in Skillshare and check every job posting for minute things that would waste my time if I tried to apply. (Why aren’t job titles and positions more clear? It’s annoying to get yourself hyped up by a possible interesting position only to find out–after digging around for the description in the company website–that you’ll have to be a low-budget Superman to even get in the door… dammit).

I’m trying not to depress myself too much and find things I can enjoy or am willing to learn. I just draw the line at restaurants and gas stations… which I know already drastically cuts my options for work. But I am avoiding them for the same reason a person who is trying to stay sober wouldn’t try to work at a bar. In my case, trying to ignore my junk food addiction day in and day out while in a fast-paced environment with impatient people staring at me might make the Hulk duck and cover when I finally lost it.

There are some retail jobs I don’t mind and would like to learn more about, and some other opportunities I’m opening myself up to. When I realized I’d thrown myself into yet another dead-end job that I had to leave completely, it actually made me want to get out of my comfort zone and see what was possible. I just hope that employers I’m looking into won’t pass me over into the “overqualified” pile because of my degrees.

Yes, possible employer, I have a few degrees and am not a teen or early 20-something trying to get their first job. I’m proof that college degrees don’t guarantee financial stability and success, and I REALLY need to pay my bills and eat more than I need a job that uses the darn things right now.

Still, I’m gonna have to tackle the whole “notification follow-up” thing tomorrow. I’d hoped to feel better about it tonight, but I suppose I’ll have to meditate and sleep on it… when I finally do get to sleep. I just wish I was better at this.

Til sleep comes, I’ll keep browsing SkillShare and jot down courses I might find helpful.

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