Surviving the job hunt-It’s a jungle out there!

I recently applied for a job (wasn’t successful) and found out that nearly 300 people applied for the position. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard about it but when you consider the floods of applications to bodies such as the PSNI for positions you really understand how it really is an employer’s market.

For any university graduate or person who has lost a job the harsh reality of continuously applying for a job and hearing nothing back can be a soul destroying process. It actually got to a stage for me when I was just grateful to receive a rejection email. But for those of you who read this blog I thought it might be useful to share my experiences over the last few months and hopefully offer some useful advice.


Before you begin with anything, you need to have a CV that can get you to an interview. Education is a great opener but it really is not the end in and of itself, you need have some good experience and skills to go along with this. But the key thing to remember is to make sure that it addresses the job you are applying for-do not just send out the same CV over and over again-this was a mistake I made for a while and it does not work. There are a lot of websites that can help you with formatting and style-use them.

Another thing I would say is be proud of your CV-if you’re not confident about what you have done, then how on earth can you convince an employer?

Hanging in there

This is crucial, it can be really difficult to get rejection, if an employer rings up and says that you have not got the job-don’t get angry, thank them for taking the time to actually talk to you and end things on a positive note. You should always remember that just because you are not working with them now, does not mean you can never work with them in the future.

If you get rejection-take it on the chin and learn from it. If you simply take the attitude that the world is out to get me and nobody wants me then you will go nowhere. I know this is easier said than done, but trust me it’s much better to try and get feedback and learn for your next interview than it is to be bitter. At the end of the day life is just too short!

This leads me on to my next point-keep looking! I know people who had 5 or 6 interviews before they were offered anything and some went for weeks without an interview. If you keep looking, then something will turn up. You should always keep in your mind that you only need one person to say yes and that should be your goal.

Final thoughts

I am a big believer in the saying that everybody has something to offer and just because a certain skill set you have is not in vogue today, does not mean that it will not be important in the future.

When the dark days come about just remember that it is up to you to make your life better and you can make the change you want to see in your life. But you’re never going to achieve any success if you fear failure. Failure and disappointment can be great teachers and will in the long run make you a better candidate.

I received some disappointment on the job front today myself and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about it. But what matters is what I am going to do tomorrow-I shall dust down the auld CV, hit the websites and do it all over again. That is what matters when it comes to surviving the jungle, being willing to fight for your spot and persevering and if you can do it with a smile on your face at the end of the day then you’re not doing too badly at all.

So to all your job seekers out there you’re in good company and as you approach Christmas keep in mind the saying ‘tough times don’t last, tough people do.’


David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs