Home > Employ Thyself: Step 4 – Apply and Persist

Employ Thyself: Step 4 – Apply and Persist

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On August 24, 2018

Before beginning this step, please complete step 1, step 2 and step 3 as described in my previous blogs. At this stage you should be actively applying to jobs.


Here are some psychological barriers you may experience and strategies to conquer them.


Low self-confidence – along the job search you are bound to doubt your abilities and feel inadequate.


  1. Seek reassurance and perspective through your support network.
  2. Use positive music to put you in the right frame of mind before beginning each job application or interview.
  3. Keep a list of your strengths and remind yourself of these each time you feel yourself slipping into despair.


Low motivation – you may stall out on job applications due to job-search fatigue or because you think you already applied to the one and only perfect job. But you must keep applying until you have job offers.


  1. Create deadlines for yourself – for example plan to apply to at least one job a week.
  2. Reward yourself for each job-search related success.
  3. Get a job search buddy. You can encourage each other and enforce deadlines.


Anxiety – waiting to hear back is the longest part of the job search. The glorious feeling of victory after applying for a great job is short-lived. You will soon be ready to pull your hair out as you wait to hear back.


  1. Get out of your job search space. Take a hike, have lunch with a friend, go see a movie, or anything else that can take your mind off the job search.
  2. Adjust your expectations. When says they will get back to you in a week assume that means two weeks. Then follow-up.
  3. Stay on task. Go back to your job search plan and keep on searching and applying for jobs.


Rejection – a job rejection can be a soul-crushing experience, but you can mitigate those negative feelings by:


  1. Learning from the experience.- If you did not get an interview, ask a trusted advisor to look at your application materials.
    – If you were interviewed, ask for feedback.
    – If an internal candidate was selected, step up your networking game. Next time get an internal referral if possible.
  2. Reflecting on whether the job would have been a great fit.
  3. And recognizing that this rejection is not an indication that your life is a complete failure. You are worth more than your resume. There are several reasons why you may not have been accepted into the position, as highlighted by Liz Ryan in, “Ten Reasons Qualified Applicants Get Rejected.


Here is an outline of the process from application to job offer:


The job search process is comprised of job applications, interviews, and negotiations. I’ll break it down, so you know what to expect.

  1. Application
    – Education and Job History
    Pro Tip: save all relevant answers so you don’t need to look them up each time.
    – Resume / CV
    See the writing exercise below to upgrade your current resume.
    – Cover Letter
    This is a formal letter that should explain why you are interested in the position and highlight your strongest skills. In other words, this is your written elevator pitch.
    – References
    Ideally you should include a previous supervisor, a trusted colleague, and an expert in the field (possibly someone you met at a networking event).Talk with each referee about your career goals and ask for their permission to be listed as a reference on your application.
    – Essay and long-form questions.
    Do not speed through questions such as, “Please highlight your relevant teaching skills”. This is an opportunity to elaborate the skills that the hiring manager has prioritized. Do not copy and paste what you wrote in your resume.
  2. Interview a. Phone screen
    – HR / recruiter.
    Write up a summary of the job responsibilities, company mission, and examples of your relevant skills.
    – On-site 1 / Video call
    Make one page of notes on the interviewers (if you know their names), more details about the company, detailed examples of your skills in action, and 3-5 questions you might want to ask at the end of the interview.
    – On-site 2
    Put together a binder with copies of your resume, cover letter, and a portfolio highlighting your experiences.
    – HR interview
    Be prepared to negotiate, as explained in exercise and ask questions pertaining to benefits and compensation.


Exercise #1: Accomplishment-driven Resume


As resumes styles vary from on job sector to the next, I will not provide a resume template here. However, every resume to should highlight relevant skills through appropriate use of key words found I the job description within accomplishment-driven statements. To match you keywords from a job description, use Job Scan to compare your current resume with a job description that interests you. This web tool helps you get past Applicant Tracking Systems. If you find yourself unable to match the keywords, that is likely because the job is not a good fit for your skillset or you are not adequately highlighting transferable skills.

Each keyword in your resume should be supported by an accomplishment. For example, you can highlight your customer service skills by saying something like, “Recognized for best customer service for in the sales department from 2016-2018”. Other skills should indicate quantifiable achievements. For example, “Increased outdoor equipment sales by 10%.” Do not forgo quantified accomplishment statements just because you are unsure of exact figures.


1. Identify a job description that interests you.

2. Compare your most recent resume to the job description using Job Scan.

3. Add in bullet points with the missing keywords.

4. Write an accomplishment statement for each keyword. At least 60% of these statements should have a number.

5. Edit your resume for clarity, accuracy, and conciseness.

6. Re-run the Job Scan.


Exercise #2: What are you worth?


Identify your market value and get paid what you are worth. Start by researching what people in your position earn through website such as Paysa and Glassdoor. Use your desired location, as pay can vary geographically. Next, craft a summary highlighting your relevant skills, education, experiences, and awards. Include the salary range for the position, the market range value for similar positions, and the minimum salary you would need to accept this position.

Last modified: August 24, 2018

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