Updated: Jun 8, 2021
In the process of career hunting, it is now the norm to advertise your job credentials or network within your industry to get hired. Well, I tried doing both on Facebook and LinkedIn and it failed. On Facebook, I joined the Government of Canada networking group since one of my areas of interest was in policy. I advertised my skills, experiences and education, and the fact that I had already completed a previous term with the Federal Government and was bridgeable. I hoped that with my newly minted Master's degree in International Affairs on Policy, I would be the right candidate for any department, but alas, I did not receive one response.
The second time was based on a job I found on LinkedIn. Luckily, I had a LinkedIn connection who was the vice president within that department of the job posting. I had initially helped this connection in the past with some questions on international admissions within the post-secondary institution I worked for at the time. Since I knew this connection, I decided to send a message, hoping to ask some questions about the position, but I never got a response.
Initially, I was very upset with myself for reaching out to others for help with my job hunt. I was particularly upset at the LinkedIn connection because I had actually helped this person in the past and the connection could not even offer a response. Plus, I knew they had been on LinkedIn because I saw them post content a few days after I had sent the message. But after recovering from my anger, I realize that there was a lesson to be learned. I will not always get the recognition I want or think I deserve from others. Plus, I should not feel entitled to get answers because I provided help initially.
The Facebook incident brought about shame. It exacerbated the negative, self-loathing feeling I was experiencing during this job hunt; the feeling that I am not good enough for these companies hence why I am not getting more interviews, or why companies are not responding after interviews. I also experienced the feeling that somehow it is my fault that I am not working; maybe I am just lazy; maybe I stayed too long at a job; maybe it's my last name is a problem for employers; maybe my qualifications are not enough; maybe I should have responded differently to a question on an interview; maybe I am not looking hard enough; maybe I should apply for lower-level jobs. These feelings and thoughts had one thing in common: I must have screwed things up; it's all my fault that I do not have a job.
But something came out of putting myself out on Facebook. Someone found my post on Facebook and messaged me on LinkedIn to ask about my graduate school experience and how they could get into the program that I just finished. Unlike that connection that I messaged on LinkedIn, I responded and offered my time and information. It was a very productive meeting. Even though Facebook and LinkedIn did not help me the way I wanted, the platforms offered me a chance to help someone else on their professional journey.
I am learning to deal with my shame. It helps writing about how I feel during this job hunt and talking to friends about my journey. Even though these platforms did not work out the way I wanted them to, I am happy I put myself out there and I will most likely keep networking until I get the results I am looking for. For readers out there, have you had any success reaching out to others (apart from friends and family) to advance your career? What advice would you give others?
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