Job hunting is easy… said no one ever

For many of us who have walked the stage at commencement or who will be embarking on the journey soon enough, job hunting is a looming fear in our minds. Like a dagger hanging above our thoughts by a tattered thread. Everyone keeps asking us, "so… are you working?" Or stating the obvious, "you need to get more work experience." And I respond with a shrug, "yes Sherlock, thanks for stating the obvious."

Job hunting is no easy feat! Everything is a process with no guaranteed outcome. Our search engine history lights up with job opportunities but we may be overqualified or under qualified. When I decided to get a job in physical therapy, I had the resources and the skills my potential employers were looking for. However, my process was a lot shorter… let me explain.

Networking! Networking! Networking! The statement that who you know is more important than what you know has never been proven to be more true than in my situation. I got hired for my first job in the physical therapy industry because of my history with the company. In high school I used to volunteer with the clinic I currently work at as well as observe in the sports clinic every weekend for my sports medicine class requirement. That was my first foot in the door opportunity, where the stakes were low but I had ample room to make a great first impression. I took the opportunity just as seriously as I would've the actual job. I suited up in khakis & a freshly ironed polo each visit. I wanted them to see that I exuded professionalism.

Fast forward to 4 years later, I'm in my junior year of college and I was itching to get work experience before applying to grad schools. I went back to the same clinic and spoke to my now boss about any openings. He asked me to give him my resume and that he'd call me for an interview. Looking back in retrospect. My resume was shitty. It was extremely wordy not to mention 3 pages long. Like seriously Ashna, what were you thinking? Luckily enough my boss chose to look beyond that piece of paper and invited me for an interview. That was my big shot!

My interview lasted 3 hours. And before I left, my boss told me that he's never had an interview last this long with a potential hire. But I didn't see it as a challenge. I had to be myself, beam with confidence and show them that I was cut out for the job. So… all the anxiety I was experiencing about not having completed my degree yet or having prior work experience in the field went out the door. My boss glanced over my resume but never asked me questions about it. The hiring decision boiled down to how I presented myself and my previous experience in conversation.

So folks, it's not always about that pristine resume that highlights your many accomplishments. Job hunting can be made easier when you know someone in the field you want to pursue. Word of mouth holds more importance than what you claim on a piece of paper. Go out there and network till you drop, it'll be rewarding in the future.