If You’ve Been Beaten Up In The Job Search, It’s Time To Take Off The Gloves And Fight Back

Christel Deskins

getty We were all raised to be nice, polite and considerate of others. As young children, our parents told us to watch what we say in public, not to purposely offend people and to always respect our elders. This was and still is good, sound advice. There are times, though, […]

We were all raised to be nice, polite and considerate of others. As young children, our parents told us to watch what we say in public, not to purposely offend people and to always respect our elders.

This was and still is good, sound advice. There are times, though, when you have to respectfully diverge from your parent’s lessons. The real world, as an adult, is far different compared to being a kid. The jungle rules of the corporate world sometimes don’t lend itself to a pacifist approach. There are only so many times that you can smile, nod and say “thank you” to a person who has treated you like dirt. After months of getting kicked around, you have to start standing up for yourself. You can’t continue letting life push you around. It may be time to take the gloves off and fight back.

Looking for a job during the pandemic is brutal. Millions of Americans and people all over the world are out of work. Millions more worry about losing their positions. Six months into the Covid-19 outbreak, things are still hard. Career and job search advice dispensed by the so-called experts have not changed from the pre-coronavirus days. It’s the same type of stuff that our parents said—nice, safe, overly polite and noncontroversial. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. You can sit back and take the rudeness and abuse or you can stop playing defense and go on the offense. If you’ve been knocked around without realizing any success, you have nothing to lose and should start considering a more aggressive game plan. Here’s what I’d suggest that you do next.

  • Stop caring about what people may think or say about you. Instead hyperfocus on yourself and what you need to do to succeed in your job search. Go after what you really want to achieve.  Life is too short to settle for anything less than what you truly desire.
  • When you’re rejected, there’s no need to take “no” for an answer. Follow up with the company and their representatives by asking why you weren’t selected for the interview and job. Ask them for constructive feedback, so you could improve upon the next interview. If they refuse to respond, seek out their manager or an executive to tell them about the shabby treatment you have received. If everyone does this, corporations will be forced to change the way they operate and become more empathetic, transparent and communicative.
  • Contact everyone you know and demand their help. Hold them accountable. Let them know you’re in a tough bind. If people really care about you, they should want to find ways to help. It will be awkward, but if your friends, family, alumni, network, colleagues, former co-workers and prior managers aren’t there for you in your critical time of need, then it’s time to question why they’re in your life. 
  • Boldly brand and market yourself on LinkedIn. Connect with people that can help your career. This will include hiring managers, human resources, internal talent acquisition professionals, recruiters and peers at companies you’d like to join. After these people accept your invitation, like and comment on their posts. Add your own thoughts, advice and articles. Position yourself as an expert and thought leader in your space. Soon, you’ll get noticed and decision makers will keep you in mind when they have suitable jobs.
  • If job listings seem like a stretch, take a chance. When a job is advertised as based in another city or state, ask if you could work remotely. The worst that happens is that they say no. Big deal, you can move on to the next one.
  • Track down the hiring managers and human resource professionals responsible for the job listings that you possess all the right background and experience. Contact them directly, let them know of your keen interest and the reasons why you’d be fantastic in the role. If they ignore you, keep trying to get in front of them. Find other people at the company who may be connected with the coveted job and contact them too, and tell them to put in a good word about how wonderful you are.
  • Get in touch with top recruiters that specialize in your field. Sometimes they may blow you off if they don’t currently have the right job for you at the time. That’s okay; keep trying to get in front of them, so that they’ll remember you and keep you in mind when they do have the appropriate job that’s a fit for you. Remember, a recruiter only gets paid when they place a person in a new job. If you have the appropriate talents for a job that that they’re recruiting for, they’d be happy to help—as they’ll earn a commission.
  • If all of the doors and windows are closed and locked, start considering a Plan B, pivot or reinvent yourself. You’ll be afraid to try something new, going back to school or starting all over again. If that’s the only option left, don’t bemoan your fate and go for it with gusto.

I get that this sounds sort of aggressive. It is, but it doesn’t mean you have to come across as a jerk. Follow these instructions in a polite and persistent manner. Never lose your cool, get angry or say anything nasty that you’ll later regret. Make them see you as the winner that you are.

It may take some time, but with this renewed vigorous mindset and strategy, you’ll eventually win everyone over with your charm, skills, talents, enthusiasm, motivation and relentless drive.

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