The Great Job Hunt – by Charlotte
After something of a dry spell, job season is well and truly upon us again: in the last week, I've spotted 4 new posts advertised, to add to the 3 I'd already bookmarked to apply for this week.
Aside from encouraging my unhealthy addiction to jobs.ac.uk, this means that I'm now entering what can only be described as some seventh circle of application form hell. Gone are the days of beautifully crafting a CV and writing a nice cover letter; instead for most jobs, it's various forms of electronic application systems, the kind where you have to manually input every. individual. piece. of. data. Fiddly, time-consuming, and annoying because it's time better spent on the actual application.
Then there are the important sections: the boxes where you input your teaching, research, and other experience relating to the job. The format of these again varies between different application forms: some it's one big section, some have really specific targeted questions, and others you upload a "supporting statement". Of course with any application it's necessary to re-write the statement/cover letter to suit each role and to update with your developing profile, but it's an added complication having to work out what will go best where depending on the application form.
But all this is just minor annoyances, and ultimately worth it for the possible outcome; the worst bit, of course, is the emotional rollercoaster that applying for multiple jobs involves. I've developed something of a strategy for dealing with the inevitable rejection, which centres around trying not to get too emotionally invested in each application and not to think of it in terms of outcomes, just as a process that I'm going to be going through repeatedly the next few years. But try as I might, as I write the application I inevitably find that it's impossible not to get invested in it: I'm not just selling myself to the job but selling the job to myself, and by the end I can't help but think what a truly great position it would be and how I would bring a lot to the role.
After that comes the anticipation of the long wait - often worse for not knowing just how long that's going to be (it helps if there's an interview date set, or an estimated wait time provided, but it's not always the case). Here, though, is the one benefit of online application systems: many allow you to log-in to view the status of the application, and most send an automated email with the outcome. This is a considerable improvement on "if you don't hear you didn't get it" as you know there's going to be a final answer one day. Usually, by the time I've received a rejection I've managed to emotionally detach myself again and just go "oh well, there's another one". Whilst it is disappointing, you can't get too upset over every rejection because it's likely there will be a fair few along the way.
This is also where it helps to have several applications on the go: there's always the next one to focus on, which helps to shift the disappointment away from one specific role and instead onto the next step in the chain. I've now got 3 pending, and another 5 to do, so I should be able to get a good system going where there's always at least one submitted, one in progress, and one to do. Any more tips for surviving application hell?