In Search of that Something Special

In Search of that Something Special

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Jade and I both have been looking for new opportunities in our careers. In the past six months I have applied for about two hundred jobs. Seriously, I really have. In this time period I have received numerous rejection emails, several rejection phone calls, and countless no replies at all. It’s a bit disheartening putting yourself out there so much just to have metaphorical door after metaphorical door slammed in your face. I do understand that I am not the only one in this situation. There are literally thousands of people who are going through the exact same struggles I am right now. I think in these situations one would like to feel as though they have that ‘special something’ that sets them out from all the rest; that something that would make them the right or ideal candidate for the job. I don’t know if this ‘something special’ is something I possess or not. I don’t know if this ‘special something’ is actually an obtainable quality that one can aspire to embody.

I do know that I feel like I am a very professional, skilled, charismatic and educated individual that can offer so much to any organization, university or company that would choose to hire me. I don’t think that believing in yourself or having high self esteem is a bad quality. How can it be an unattractive quality in a potential applicant for any position? I have gone into a handful of interviews in the past few months and put my most calm, collected, and professional foot forward in the attempt to move up the ladder career wise. So far I have come up empty handed. I called one of those places that I interviewed and got turned down by today. I got to the second interview, for the second time. I had an interview last June with them which I got to the second interview and now it happened all over again this last week. Same place, same position, same management of the department I applied for. Obviously they see something in my resume, be it experience, accomplishments or education that lead them to bring me back a second time. But two days after this second round of my second interview, I received an rejection email, “Upon further review and consideration, we have decided not to move forward with you as a candidate…” this is the second time this has happened. This time I felt like I deserved a reason why. So I called.

I called the head of the department and asked him respectively why was I not selected for the position. He assured me that it was nothing personal, which I had already assumed it wasn’t, and it was nothing to do with my qualifications. He told me that my qualifications, education, experience and skills are on par or above average, basically everything they are looking for in a candidate for the position I interviewed for. But I lacked that additional ‘special something’ that they were looking for. This particular role is a position within an admissions department at a college. My ultimate career goal is to work within education at the college level, specifically administration as a short term goal, and eventually teach as an instructor or professor as my long term goal. I am not only applying for these types of jobs but they are a majority of what I apply for. It was this department head’s belief that I would be an ideal candidate for a role in student affairs or academics, and advised me to keep my eyes upon their online job board for future openings. But I applied for this position, a position I already have had experience in and have been successful in, something I relatively enjoy doing.

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All in all, this was a position that allows an employee to get their foot in the door and move up afterward. This position at this college, however, requires that ‘special something.’ I know for a fact that I did fantastic in the interview. Possibly one of my best. But how am I to know if I am emitting that ‘special something?’ I think that something is different for any job that I apply for. He admitted that this job’s ‘special something’ is a ‘sense of urgency.’ They want students to feel like the time is now, no turning back, your future starts today! Carpe diem as it were. I know how to get someone excited for their next positive steps in life. I’m a one man cheer-leading squad. I have done this before in my past admissions role. But in this instance, they didn’t see that in me. It makes wonder what else past interviewers have not seen in me. How are you to know what you aren’t putting on the table for these people if they don’t highlight it in the requirements or daily activities of the job description? Am I a mind reader? I honestly would love to be at this point because I am getting nowhere without it.

I am not discouraged. Though it might seem like I am. I am still positive, optimistic, realistic and believe I am full of enough good karma to last lifetimes. But how do I learn how to have that one special thing that is going to get me hired on the spot? What do I need to do to exude that special thing in a room of one to five people asking me questions about my qualifications, education and career history? How do I reach the next step? I am seriously asking. If you have any idea how I can do this please leave a comment and give me some pointers. If you are on the job hunt like me, know I’m rooting for you!

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22Comments

  • Nadya / 26 November 2013 2:03

    I feel your pain. Tomorrow I have my next interview, again! I have the same questions you do. I think employers prefer to hire according to the referral from their current employee. Or maybe the destiny says to you to look at different direction and maybe you need to do another kind of job that is waiting for you. I wish you good luck! You’ll find something!

    • endlesslyenraptured / 27 November 2013 8:26

      And good luck to you as well! I know the right thing is out there for both of us. Stay positive and never give up 😉

      ~Cory

  • Nora / 26 November 2013 3:07

    Sorry to hear that things aren’t going so well with the job hunting. I’m sending you a whole load of positive vibe and I’m so glad to hear that you are being positive 🙂 It’s good that you know what your strengths are though – the perfect job is out there! It’ll be here soon!

    • endlesslyenraptured / 27 November 2013 8:27

      Thank you! I need all the positive vibes I can get! And I know you are right. It’s all just a matter of time.

      ~Cory

  • Marta @ What Should I eat for breakfast today / 27 November 2013 3:45

    I admire you. Seriously. And I am sure that all the people who didn’t hire you have a serious case to regret. I know it sometimes happen. It happened to me as well. But go girl, you have the spirit and you don’t give up. And I am proud of you that you actually called them and asked about a reason. Fingers crossed for another interview! 🙂

    • endlesslyenraptured / 27 November 2013 8:28

      Thank you so much! Very much appreciate your enthusiasm.

      ~Cory

  • Juanita / 27 November 2013 5:47

    A friend once gave me some advice that had a profound effect on my view of life’s circumstances. ~ THE DEGREE TO WHICH YOU NEED TO KNOW AND CONTROL IS THE DEGREE TO WHICH YOU LIMIT YOUR LIFE ~ I don’t claim to know it all, actually most days I am a hot mess LOL , but my experience is that I had to do my part,, then ALLOW the Universe to move in its own time and way. Perhaps you want to move one way regarding your employment situation, perhaps the Universe says “your gift needs to be shared with the world in a different format”. I truly feel inspired everytime I visit your blog. I am just a cute lil black lady in Houston, Texas. LOL. Know that you are touching lives in ways you have no idea… It is all in Divine Order. Nothing happens before it’s time….. Sending love to you both……

    • endlesslyenraptured / 27 November 2013 8:30

      Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and kind thoughts. We really appreciate readers like you and feel very blessed to have your feedback. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and hopefully it will bring luck of some sort to both of us 😉

      ~Cory

  • Melanie / 27 November 2013 10:33

    Well, now you know what to put in your next cover letter. “Above all else, I love the admissions field because I love having a part in setting people down the path to their new life.”

    As for applications… I really, truly know how it can be. (I’m on the unemployment train right now too.) Just remember, brevity is the soul of wit. I’ve had the best luck with cover letters when they’re kept under 200-250 words max — and when they’re only tangentially linked to the info in my resume. Think of it like teasing a blog post — you want to make them click through to your resume. I’ve had to work really hard to break myself out of a cover letter rut — mix it up, use anecdotes (e.g., talk about your own college experience and how it changed your life), keep it light. DON’T drive yourself crazy.

    Just remember, your experience speaks for itself — IMHO, it’s more important to come across as a cool person to work with than anything else.

    Good luck out there. If you need an extra pair of eyes, let me know.

    • endlesslyenraptured / 11 December 2013 9:09

      Thank you, Mel! Really appreciate your insight. I actually applied some of your ideas in my current interviews and they did help.

      ~Cory

  • Wayne / 27 November 2013 12:01

    The normal advice I would give for job searches you seem to be doing already. You have a clear idea of what you want to do and who you want to work for. I think you’re doing the right thing by asking what more you can do. You’re talking to the people hiring which is most important. If you’re not already, take a look in the individual departments you’re looking to work in to find out if they have any openings. This is really where internships should help if you were able to do any in college.

    Teaching is a whole different beast. I was in the university system for several years, taught everything from prep college classes to senior level classes as an adjunct. I was able to interview a few times for full-time positions and was politely declined after rounds of interviews. This is part of the university system hiring process game. We could chat sometime if you want about my experience. But quickly said, getting a job in the public sector has been sooo much easier than in the University system. If you’re not a student at the school, it gets pretty tough to get entry.

    Take a different approach for a little while and start aiming higher than the jobs you’re looking at right now. Avoid online resumes (I know that’s impossible for the university system) and just talk with people. Take a really hard look at what you can offer a company that will make them money and/or make their life better. Sell that to them, not your education or accomplishments.

    • endlesslyenraptured / 11 December 2013 9:14

      I would love to never fill out an online resume ever again, hah! But unfortunately that is pretty much all there is to do here in my area lately. I long for the days of actual face to face interaction turning in a resume. Using my charm is the way I have gotten my first few jobs!
      But thank you so much for you detailed insight, Wayne. Definitely will keep it in mind for the future,

  • Sarah Lang / 28 November 2013 1:27

    Oh Cory, what a bummer. Glad to see you’re staying positive though. What a crap response, that they’re looking for that “special something”- if that’s not a bit of a punch to the gut to hear you “don’t have”, I don’t know what is. Good luck and keep up that great attitude, I’m sure it’s not easy.
    Beautiful photos, as always.

    • endlesslyenraptured / 11 December 2013 9:17

      A punch in the gut is right. Thanks Sarah! My attitude shall remain great! 😉

  • Katie / 28 November 2013 5:22

    Hi, I stumbled on your blog today and it is my first time reading so I obviously know nothing about you, however I used to hold interviews for new hires at my work. I’ve also had the experience of being unemployed (we all have at one time or another) and needed to go on interviews. Remember that every interview helps you for the next. It sucks being rejected, but it is practice for the next interview. It is difficult to see how one comes across. Self-confidence is great, but while you may feel you are exuding self-confidence you may inadvertently be coming across as cocky. It really is a fine line and can be very off putting. Most universities have career services that extend to alumni. If yours doesn’t check within your community because many organizations will provide the same services – but what I think could be good for you is to have a “mock interview.” There you can prepare for an interview and the career services will film it. Then you will be able to watch it back and critique yourself. Personally I think that is a great way to see if you have any off putting quirks from nerves. We all behave differently in stressful situations and even if you are calm, cool, and collected interviews are stressful. I have done practice interviews and resume reviews for countless friends and so maybe ask for some honest constructive criticism from then also. Keep putting yourself out there and continue to be open minded and willing to grow and improve your skills. It is always easier to find a job when you already have one so see what else university jobs are out there just to get your foot in the door. I wish you the best of luck!

    • endlesslyenraptured / 11 December 2013 9:20

      Practice interviews are a great idea. I have done them in the past with peers for different things in college, but haven’t since. Getting my foot in the door is definitely the hard part. Hopefully I know so some folks in my area that work for some of these places… might be time to utilize my connections 😉

  • Reham / 10 December 2013 7:45

    Hi Cory!

    First, I wanted to tell you that I landed your blog by complete accident and that I absolutely LOVE everything about it. I think the thing that I love the most about it is that it’s got SOUL and it feels authentic and real. And, that’s the best quality about it and it’s clearly a reflection of who you are as person.

    I will tell you that I have had one of the toughest years in my 38 year old life this year. But, the one thing I wanted to mention to you is that often you may not have gotten hired through no fault of your own. More often than not, the person who gets the job is not necessarily the best candidate for it, but someone who knows someone who knows someone on the hiring committee, especially in universities. There are also too many good people applying for the same job. I hate to say that, but there is a lot of life that’s much about having connections. People often go with someone they know, or someone who they trust knows, than go with their own objective judgment.

    I would highly recommend that you reach out to people who work where you want to work (and more specifically people who hold the job you aspire to be in or their boss) before a position is available and suggest to chat with them over coffee or ask that you stop by and chat with them for 15-20 minutes because you want to ask them about their job as an informational interview. Be brief, courteous, and considerate when asking for their time. Email is the best way to do that. LinkedIn is great to reach out to people and they get to know who you are. I have been meeting several people I networked with over LinkedIn and when you meet with them without the “pressure” of an existing job, if you stay in touch with them, when you approach them when there is an opening, they will help you and share information with you and in fact, they may even put in a word for you with the person making the decision to hire you. It takes time to build these networks, well before a job is available.

    Please email me if you would like and I will share many more specific ideas with you. You seem to be doing all the right things and it will happen, just keep building your network and putting yourself out there. It will happen for you when it’s meant to happen. Sometimes, things don’t work out where we want to go because we’re supposed to keep looking for the thing that’s really meant for us. I can’t tell you how many times this happened and still happens to me in life and I look back and think, I am so glad things worked out the way they did.

    Hang in there and keep your positive attitude. You will get somewhere great I know it. You’re a fighter I can tell!

    Best of luck to you 🙂

    • Reham / 10 December 2013 7:48

      I forgot to say…really important, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back. As a rule email each person 2-3 times with about a 7-10 days interval in between emails. Many people respond the 2nd or 3rd time and not the 1st because they’re busy or just forget to respond. Reassure them that you have no expectations and just want to chat with them about their career/job.

      Good luck 🙂

    • endlesslyenraptured / 11 December 2013 9:31

      I really appreciate your detailed insight and kind words on my situation, Reham. I have given though to contacting those who work in departments I would like to work in, but there is never a guarantee there will be an opening in the foreseeable future. It seems like a lot of time to invest without a high percentage of return. Though I really am not criticizing this approach, I can’t see it working out for me in my situation. But, for someone who is seeing as much negative response as I am, what do I have to lose, right!? Haha!

      Again, I really appreciate your feedback.

      • Reham / 13 December 2013 11:04

        Cory…I know this approach takes time to lead to results, but although it may not lead to immediate results, what you will end up having is a network of connections and people who know you in the line of work you aspire to grow in and as you find a position eventually, it will be great to have connections who can tell you when an opening is available so you can get a promotion and also grow from sharing experiences with them.

        I just know a friend of mine who already knows that she will be getting a job as soon as one opens in a place because she networked with the people there really well. I also know another friend who found out she was losing her job and reached out to her network and said “people I need help finding a job” and the people she had made connections with helped her find one. So, this approach works eventually…you just have to make it second nature to you, not just when you need a job. The one thing I learned in life is that spending time building relationships is never wasted time because truly you never know who will help you down the road. I hope you realize I do not mean to give you “advice.” I am just sharing with you what I learned.

        I wish you the best of luck Cory! 🙂

  • Asha@fsk / 11 December 2013 11:43

    Just stumbled on your blog and read this post. I am in the same boat as you. Been job hunting for more than a year. 1000s of applications sent in I got rejections and no replies in return. Last month however, I was called for an interview in 2 places, both then turned me down – one actually gave me decent feedback, something I could put my claws into. The other declined saying that I was an excellent candidate but they were concerned about my stability in the job.. which was honestly BS. I gave them my 5 yr plan for contributing in the role! Besides for this one, I was referred by the hiring manager!

    Anyway, in the end I realized that it was the Universe telling me this was not the right one and I should just work on expanding my experiences and then what I am a perfect fit for will become obvious and it may not be in the area I was trying to squeeze myself into…

    This process led to self-analyse my fears and desires. In my case, I actually realised that on digging deeper, I was not really tied to what I was striving for and this was indeed holding me back from being happy 🙂

    Nevertheless, my hunt continues. I dont know where I’ll end up but I have decided to just not take the journey personally and enjoy the experiences along the way.

    Good luck on your search! Keep the belief and faith in yourself, because you are perfect and awesome and more importantly unique!

    • endlesslyenraptured / 11 December 2013 9:35

      Thank you so much, Asha. I too need to think about what would make me most happy. I’d hate to say that I think it might not be working anywhere at all ha! >_<