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Find Your Job-Hunting Personality

Find Your Job-Hunting Personality

No one I know enjoys job-hunting. Looking back, you may think of a time you wished you had done things differently or even studied in a different field. Whether you are looking for your first permanent job, a mid-career change, or a transition to self-employment, there will always be challenges. So, how can you find your job-hunting personality?

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When I was younger, I worked at a law firm for about 18 months. I saw a job advertised for a labor union job; I was convinced I would be happier in that environment. The labor union was undergoing funding challenges. When I first interviewed, I was three months pregnant. I was called back for another interview when I was seven months pregnant. I felt like it would be a total waste; I had nothing that professional to wear; who would hire me…All of these thoughts took over my mind.

In the end, I decided to try, because there is always something new to be learned, even if it is only understanding the job market a bit better. I was hired as a consultant, one day a week, starting two months after birth, then three days a week for three months, and then full-time. I stayed there for 18 years, and my three great friends are still my three great friends.

When I first started reading the article, “What it Took Young People in China to Get Their Jobs,” in The New York Times 1, I wondered if I would relate to it; after all, the unemployment rate for those 16 to 24 in China was estimated to be 21% in May of 2023. Yet, there is a lot to learn by reading about the trials of five young people who graduated college between 2019 and 2023.

I believe that you will see parts of your own job-hunting experiences, both positive and negative if you read the complete article. If you can get beyond some of the dollar amounts, what will you learn? Here are three of the five students discussed in the article:

Student 1 – Nadia Yang, Class of 2019

Ms. Yang was originally a private tutor. However, China cracked down on private tutoring (which would take a whole other article), her company dissolved, and she was in the market again. That experience jolted her; she was determined to find a government job. She moved back home, used up all of her savings, and asked her parents for money. For 20 months, she basically studied.

The competition for government jobs was fierce. Due to COVID, she had to pay for weeks of quarantine stays when traveling between cities. Study materials alone were $200; each city had its own exam, and she signed up for 15 of them, paying additional fees.

She never moved past Round 1, until after a year from the onset of studying, spent $2300 for an interviewing course, waited 5 months for her interview, and was hired to work at a transportation bureau of a small city. And her salary? $420 a month, but housing and meals were covered, along with the most stable type of employment and benefits available.

In her job as a private tutor in a major city, she made $1000 a month. This is her quote: “Be content with what you have. What else can you do?”

Student 2 -Fiona Qin, Class of 2023

Ms. Qin always wanted to be a journalist. She started applying for permanent jobs in Fall of 2022. She would graduate with a master’s degree, had completed several internships, and submitted 100 resumes. There was another lockdown, compounding her problems.

In January of 2023, she was offered an unpaid internship in Shanghai by a news outlet. She signed a $370/month lease with her savings and help from her parents. Although in the past, she would have continued to apply for jobs, she decided to only focus on her new internship. A few months later, she was offered a full-time paying job by the outlet.

She doesn’t really want to think about long-term plans: “Life is too unpredictable. I just want to do well in this moment.”

Student 3 – Ethan Yi, Class of 2022

Fresh out of school, he found a job at a Chinese car company, making almost $1000 a month, considered a good salary for someone right out of school. His job was not that exciting; he had to do admin jobs; he thought these were beneath him and 5 months later? He quit.

He worked some temp jobs while applying for a permanent job. He would quit each one after a brief time: three days only as a waiter, for example. He thought “to go serve others” was too low for a college graduate.
Then, at one point, he realized his expectations may have been out of whack. His new attitude: “If others pick me, that’s enough. I’m not qualified to be picky.”

He moved to Shanghai and two weeks later got a new job for $730/month and threw himself into training. He concluded: “Making fast money is impossible. I see that now.”

Although unemployment in the U.S. is unusually low, certain industries, mainly Tech, are being hit with layoffs, with reports nearly every week of employers cutting jobs. If you are job-hunting, ask yourself what you hope to find in a job. When someone contacts you for an interview, think about what these graduates went through and ask yourself: What is the harm in speaking to this employer?

Most importantly, be yourself. If you are too far away from your true self at the interview, you may not fit into the corporate culture once you are hired. Prepare well, but make sure the employer sees who you really are; if it’s not a match, it is not your fault. You will find somewhere else where you feel comfortable and happier.

Sources

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  1. New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2024/01/28/world/asia/china-economy-job-market-young-adults.html[]

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Laurie Borman, a distinguished job interview expert and career coach at Megainterview, brings over a decade of expertise in HR and Career Coaching, holding a doctorate in Law. With a global reach as a certified ESL Tutor, she combines her diverse background to provide invaluable insights for job candidates and job seekers, guiding individuals worldwide to career success. Her extensive experience includes law, human resources, recruitment, and tutoring roles, enriching her content with practical strategies rooted in real-world industry knowledge.

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