When I was 24, I was single and lonely.
To other people, I probably looked like I had it together. I lived with my best friend, and I had a great job. I could afford whatever I wanted to buy, and I could go anywhere at a moment’s notice. But really, I felt like I had nothing because the thing I really wanted was someone to go through life with. Someone who could make me laugh, and someone who shared the same goals that I did. Seemed simple enough to get because most people eventually have a mate, but I’ll be damned if at the time it didn’t seem impossible.
All of my friends were in various stages of relationships. Some happily alone, some dating, some engaged, some married, and some still finding comfort in bar hopping that led to bed hopping. Those of us still searching for “the one” often made questionable decisions, frequently woke up with the Sunday Scaries, and talked ad nauseum about how much we were looking forward to settling down. We were so full of it. It was the greatest time.
Until it wasn’t anymore.
The truth is that at a certain point, people don’t really want sow their wild oats anymore. Myself included. But when you’re single and lonely, what choice do you have? What I really wanted was to stop going to the same bar every weekend, find a partner to have fun with, and be loved. Just like everyone else. So, I spent the next two years trying to figure out a way to get all of those things.
I started with logic. Attractive people are attracted to attractive people. And the one thing that makes most people attractive is confidence. Sure, beauty can get you a nighttime, but it won’t get you a lifetime. Confidence will. So, it made sense to me that in order to get a husband, I had to build confidence in the areas of my life where I needed it most. It took me no time to figure out where I was lacking confidence…since it’s been the same my whole life.
What took me some time, was figuring out my personal formula for building confidence. It turns out that for me, education, fitness, and achievement make me feel the most confident. And at that time in my life, those three categories translated into going to grad school, losing weight, and making a career change.
I started my “get your shit together” campaign by going back to school. For me, education is the key to my personal development. I feel at my best when I am learning something new, working toward a goal, and thinking about old things in new ways. Not only was grad school instrumental in getting the career I eventually decided that I wanted, but it was a great way to pass time while I was single and had nothing else to do.
Next, I started taking a yoga class every week. The first class sucked…bad. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, I was fatigued within the first 20 minutes, and I could not understand why on earth people loved this (now I feel this way about Barre…wtf?!). But, I stuck with it, and eventually, I felt stronger and lighter…and obviously I got a lot more bendy.
Finally, I started to apply for jobs that matched what I wanted to do instead of taking whatever I was offered. I liked figuring out that I actually had a ton of skills and experience to offer to many companies. While I was still in grad school, I got a job as a copywriter at an ad agency. While I knew this job wouldn’t be the final stop in my career, I knew right away that I was on the right path because writing for a living felt good and came naturally. Plus my coworkers were creative, smart, and hilarious, so that helped.
Slowly but surely things started to change for me. I became more confident, I had more good days than bad days, and just like that*, I got back together with the guy who would eventually become my husband. It wasn’t magic. It wasn’t luck. And it wasn’t faith. It was that I learned how to market myself to get what I want. And that’s exactly what you should do if you want to get a new job.
To get a job, you have to understand what makes you attractive to your ideal mate (the hiring manager), so that you can sell them something (you) that they want to buy (your skills and experience). Like it or not, everything in life is about relationships. And relationships, at the most basic level, are about how you present yourself to someone and how they respond to you.
Think of your resume just like an online dating profile. Would your dating profile reveal every single detail about your past relationships? No. It would give the highlights, and share only the information that would get you to a first date. You’d tell them about your interests, you’d tell them about the trip to Europe you took last year, you’d tell them about some great idea you’re working on. You’d leave out that you’re a creepy stalker and that you’re obsessed with brunch and Housewives.
The same thing goes for your resume. Use it as a marketing document that leads you to the next step in the hiring process, and eventually leads you to a job offer. The more confident you feel about how you’re represented on paper, the more confident you’ll be in the interview, and the more attractive you’ll be to the hiring manager. There’s a formula. It’s simple and it works, you just have to figure it out for yourself and know how to apply it.
*Ok, maybe not “just like that.” I did my share of making myself seen online (MySpace…OMG) and at the places he frequented…and basically stalked him into submission, as one does. But I could only do that because I was confident in knowing that he couldn’t resist me. 😉