I’m sure I won’t be alone when I say that trying to find a job in a new city can be tough.
Unless you are lucky enough to know someone, your usual support networks which you’ve usually spent years building up, are suddenly gone. Sure, you’ve got great references and you know you can do anything you put your mind to, but how do you translate that to a prospective employer when you can’t even get past the first goal post – getting a call back on your resume?
Watching resume after resume go unanswered, wondering just what it is (or rather isn’t) that attracts bevvies of recruitment agents to call begging you to take their advertised jobs, can be rather disheartening. What is it they are looking for that I don’t have? Is there something they are seeing in my resume that they don’t like? Is my cover letter too boring? What am I doing wrong?
Having worked in the mining/construction project work field for the last decade, I’ve had the luxury of being able to rely on my work ethic ensuring that those who have worked with me in the past, have re-employed me on subsequent projects. I haven’t had to submit a proper cover letter and resume since that time and, let me tell you, in the meantime things have changed. These days you need to ‘sell yourself’, written references and certificates of achievement mean nothing, you need to have a resume that’s no longer than 2 pages but also fully comprehensive, write an attention grabbing cover letter – oh, and you need to be on LinkedIn. Everything’s emailed and there are KPI’s and things that you have to address into even the simplest of job applications – you think it’s easy to apply for gift wrap volunteering roles at Christmas? Think again.
Admittedly I didn’t start the great job hunt as soon as I arrived because I wanted to ease into the city and find a job which I had some level of interest in doing. I’ve heard many people say that if you love your job you’ll never have to work a day in your life. But I had never experienced that and, well, everything else in my life changed last year, so why not that. So, I also admit that I was being a little picky about the jobs I was applying for in the beginning.
But then the weeks pass and you still don’t hear anything – anything at all – and you start to panic a little, and apply for all sorts of crazy jobs that you wouldn’t otherwise apply for.
And then sometimes, a miracle will happen in the middle of that frenzy. Just when you have a zillion job roles open on seek, and seven hundred application letters in process, the one job you should have applied for in the beginning, just appears on your screen.
Out of nowhere.
I was actually quite despondent when the ad for Flight Centre appeared on my screen. I thought, well, I’ve applied for everything else, why not this too. Why do you want to be a travel agent? Cause I haven’t come across a great one. Yes, I actually wrote that in my application. As you can imagine I was a little taken aback when I got an email saying they were impressed with my application and could I undertake a phone interview. An online personality assessment followed the phone interview, and a Careers & Assessment Session after that. I managed to survive all of that despite my total lack of any sales training, and be offered a position at a store just a five minute walk from home (stroke of luck or what?). Then I just had to survive three weeks of training with another assessment to ensure I would actually be employed by Flight Centre.
The good news is I passed. But as I’ve been told, I have a tough year ahead of me, with yet more training and most likely a baptism of fire in many cases (though accompanied by a “Wolf of Wall Street” cult-like environment, complete with parties of the like which I’ve probably never seen before, hopefully minus the dwarf throwing). If I make it through though, I think I’ll have one of the best jobs in the world – making people’s holiday travel dreams come true.
I’m looking forward to the challenge.