Through the interminable slog of a job search, you can learn a lot about your character, both personal and eternal.
It takes tons of guts and sometimes a lot of prayer to make it through a job hunt. After a while, very little makes sense in the process. You can bust your humper sending out resumes and Linking In and networking with little result, then out of the blue a recruiter calls you and suddenly you're interviewing for a job that would seem to be the right thing. But even that can end in disappointment.
Despite all the advice from so-called job hunt experts, there are a few falsehoods out there that need to be debunked.
Hide your age
The first one is that you can somehow hide your age. What a load of crap. It doesn't matter what you put on your resume. If someone wants to find out how old you are, all it takes is a simple Google search to find out what college or high school you attended, and what year you graduated. Of course, the job experts encourage you to hide that fact any way you can on your resume, and there may be some initial or practical truth to that. But in the end you face a contradiction in terms, because you need to show (or prove!) that you have a college degree, after all, or you won't get hired. Truly, you should be seeking companies that look at you in terms of your value proposition. Emphasize that rather than trying to hide your age. You won't regret it.
Limit your experience
On your resume, you are also only encouraged to list your experience back 10 years or so. Well, how nice that a significant portion of your hard-earned experience really doesn't count in the job hunt! So why is that? It's both an "age" thing and a time factor at work. Plus people have limited attention spans. So you have to be efficient and constrained in how much you shovel at someone at one time.
It's all a calculated ruse, you see, compounded by digital filtration devices called Applicant Tracking Systems that have all the humanity of a shit-scooping machine at an industrial farm. We're told that companies need to sort resumes somehow. Keywords in your resume do the trick. Whether that means absolutely anything about the quality or type of work a person actually does has yet to be really determined. But it's the best shit they have, for now.
Always wise to be honest, and positive
It is far better not to play these games and be hired by a company that respects your experience and abilities than to try to fool someone into thinking you are younger, and therefore possibly dishonest, than you really are. That goes for gaps in your job search, recent volatility in your work history or any other negative factor. Find a way to present the positives in all these instead, and you will have more success finding companies (or clients, if you are going it on your own) that appreciate you for what you really are.
It's better to laugh a little and play along
It's a bit of a Shakespearean comedy, in the end. You really must learn to laugh and play along. That's particularly true when it comes time to actually interview. Think about it: Were the people with whom you worked at your last job all that perfect? Likely not. Is there a chance that same type of person could be interviewing you across the table. Sure there is. So don't beat yourself up if things don't go perfectly sometimes. Better to take note and add as many contacts as you can from your experiences in case you make a good impression with someone in the room that can refer you to other positions or recommend you when you are networking.
Just, be likable-like
People like to hire people they like. That can mean anything to anyone. It's both entirely random and incredibly specific what type of audience you'll likely face in an interview. There are agendas hidden behind the questions you'll be asked and there are keywords in speech that people like to hear as well. So you must glean that information from the job description, the company website and if you're lucky and smart, from networked contacts inside the company who know the lay of the land and what the recruiter or hiring manager wants to hear.
Be polished. But not too
Yet even then, interviews can be a hall of mirrors. You can polish up your image and dress well and walk into a room full of people wearing jeans and two layers of shirts and find yourself completely out of tune with the culture. So you'd best know that going into the interview, or risk facing a line of casually dressed interviewers with rigid faces wishing they could just get back to work and be rid of the stiff in the suit or pantsuit.
Be real. But not too real
There is such a thing as being too professional after all. Knowing when to let down and be real is a question of reading body language and subtle signals from your listening audience and your interviewer.
You can also try to hard to relate, and find out later that you came off a little (or a lot) phoney, as in trying too hard.
Be not a threat
The worst realization is that you can be too well-spoken and threaten your audience because they don't like something in your manner of speech such as the big words you use in normal sentences or coming off as if you are talking down to your audience, seeming to know more about the interviewer's job than they do. All these things are a turn-off when it comes to the prospects for potential job candidates.
Objectivity is a survival tool
Having sat on both sides of the table, as a job candidate and a hiring manager, it is possible to be objective about the whole job search process. You realize that despite the threatening facets of the job hunt, it is still just people on both sides of the table. The job hunt process is imperfect, and likely will always be that way. It is also cynical at times, and seemingly heartless.
The world is not a completely godless place
But there also people who really get it. Recruiters and HR people who dignify your presence with respect and courtesy. Hiring managers who actually show up on time, or show up at all, as if you really mattered in their day.
It doesn't always happen. But sometimes it does. You always hope that it will be sooner than later. But you can be well-spoken and not get the job. Have a killer resume, knockout online portfolio or wicked LinkedIn profile and still be ignored.
Spending Eternity in the Land of Job Search
When you do find a job, the relief can be so great that you never want to revisit the Land of Job Searching again. But the advice job tipsters give about maintaining your Personal Brand even while you're profitably at work is all true. These days, we're all in the job hunt from the time we're born until the time we die. And then, as some believe, we are judged by our Maker and his Gatekeepers, St. Peter and whatever.
Even when the job hunt seems to end, it never really does. Just don't try to talk too sweet with God. The Creator tends to see through all that crap. Best be real and be honest. And if you're meant to get the job eternal bliss in the afterlife, you will.
Otherwise, life in the here and the hereafter can really be hell.