Looking back at my job search

Getting any job, let alone what feels like the right job, is stressful. The whole process is an opportunity for self-evaluation and self-doubt. You might end up delighted, disappointed or somewhere in between.

Since the subject came out on top in an Instagram stories poll, I’ve pulled together this post about my most recent experience.

Background

I’m a communications specialist – a comms person. Last April I moved into a maternity cover position with an arts and heritage charity, having been involved with several education and youth charities since 2012/13.

While there was a possibility I could stay on after my contract ended, timings and funding weren’t aligning. I knew I needed to find something that would stretch me more and enable me to plan further ahead.

Narrowing the field

When it came to deciding the kind of roles to look for, I had a decent starting point. Having taken a friend and ex-colleague up on the offer of some peer mentoring sessions the previous winter, I could imagine the situation I’d like to be in at the end of 2018.

I’d also been saving job descriptions I liked the look of, even if they were based well out of my location range. When considering my next move last summer, I made a list of the aspects of those jobs that appealed to me.

I wanted:

  • a role that would involve strategising, writing, web editing and building relationships across an organisation
  • to move to a bigger organisation
  • to work alongside communications colleagues, rather than being a team of one
  • more security, in terms of contract length and salary.

I didn’t want:

  • to specialise in social media or media relations full-time
  • to focus on sales
  • to commute to London
  • to relocate.

I prioritised role over sector and was open to working for a range of organisations. I knew that the security I was after probably meant moving away from the arts and the subject of my Master’s degree.

Applying and interviewing

Towards the end of August I started applying for jobs. My contract was due to end in November, so I had late November in mind as a start date. I hoped I wouldn’t still be looking in 2019, but I had enough of a financial cushion to wait a few months for a good fit if needed.

In the end I only applied for three jobs.

Job #1 was a partnership management and marketing role with a large digital company. A week after applying I received an email saying that they had decided not to recruit for the position.

Job #2 was a marketing role with a small digital company. I heard back straight away and had two good interviews within a fortnight. My gut feeling was that the job wouldn’t be varied or challenging enough. Plus, I knew I wanted to try working somewhere bigger. After almost a week of silence I was informed that they were interviewing for the wrong role and actually needed an events assistant.

Job #3 was a communications manager position in a university along the south coast. I spent the best part of a day on my application, revising all my experience working with students and my knowledge of the higher education sector. I had two interviews then got the job offer call in mid-October.

Two months in, I feel like I’ve landed in the right place. For a while I was concerned that a suitable role wouldn’t arise, especially as there aren’t as many positions outside of London. Thankfully, the transition has been quite smooth.

Do you have any questions or experiences of your own to share? I’m happy to swap stories, so do say hello.