Patience Is …

Patience is a virtue, and a necessity!  The hardest part of any job search is the waiting.  After dutifully contacting numerous employers with openings well suited to your skills and experience, you hear … nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Bupkis!  No calls, no emails, no smoke signals.  You have followed every instruction, sent every required document, without a hint of feedback as to whether your materials have been received, let alone whether you’ll get called in for an interview.
Is there some kind of conspiracy at work here?  Most likely there is no conspiracy (not in this case at any rate).  Unless you were a major screw-up with a bad reputation for doing harm, chances are very good that the employers you are targeting are not discussing you over lunch.
But why have you heard nothing?  What are you supposed to do when your efforts are seemingly ignored from multiple employers?
Well, despite the three dreaded words seen on most job announcements – No Calls Please – employers really do want job seekers to follow up on their applications and resume submissions.  But they don’t make it easy! Many companies don’t bother putting their names or other specific contact info into their recruitment ads and job postings.  They don’t tell you whom to contact.  And if you do have the business or contact name, there is likely a gatekeeper who will do their best to dissuade you from getting through to the decision makers.
But be polite and friendly to those gatekeepers.  Rudeness or impatience displayed to them can kill any chance you have of getting hired.  Making a positive and personable impression can do wonders for getting your foot in the door.  That gatekeeper may be more influential than you imagined. Remember to ask this person if they would kindly confirm that your documents have been received.  And leave a message requesting that the contact knows you have followed up, and that you would like to meet in person.
When you follow up on a submission, accept that you may not hear anything back. Probably 90% of all job applications and resumes receive no confirmation or acknowledgement.  Just hope that your attempts to follow through are recognized as an indication of your motivation and commitment to work for that company.  Even if no one gets back to you, it’s a start, but it still requires your patience.
Depending on where you apply, the wait for a response can be extremely long.  Public sector employers are notoriously slow in generating acknowledgements, particularly for state and federal positions and those at universities.  And even if they do send out postcards or emails confirming receipt of your application, you’ll still need to demonstrate patience.  It could be 6 months or longer before they begin the actual hiring process, let alone deciding on whom to interview or hire.
Another area that warrants a job seeker’s patience is when you’re waiting to be interviewed.  Don’t distract yourself with your personal communication devices while you’re waiting; it is bad form to be texting, talking or otherwise conducting unrelated business while you’re in an employer’s waiting room.  Instead, review your list of questions to ask the interviewer, and going over your most relevant accomplishment statements so you can answer the employer’s questions concisely.
And waiting for the actual interview is no fun either.  Some employers will keep applicants waiting to determine their resolve and how they handle stress.  Others keep interviewees waiting because they have poor time management skills, while others just get backed up.
Patience is most difficult after an interview.  Because it is rare for an employer to hire an applicant on the spot, there is an inevitable waiting period that is almost as painful to endure as watching paint dry.  After the interview, other than waiting, the only thing you can really do is send your Thank You note to your interviewer.  And then send a follow up note or call to express your continued interest AND the relevant reasons they should hire you.  So before your interview concludes, ask the employer if it’s ok to call and check their progress completing the hiring for that position. Unfortunately, too few employers bother to notify rejected applicants that the position has gone to someone else. So those who don’t stay in contact with the employer will need even more patience.
So when is it hardest for you to exhibit patience?  Like Tom Petty says:  “The waiting is the hardest part!”  But job search is a numbers game.  The more resumes and applications you submit, the more likely you’ll hear something positive, and get hired. So don’t sit around waiting.  Put your patience to good use and keep your search active.  Patience is a virtue, but it is also a necessity.
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