It’s already been two months since I last told you about my job search, so I’ll give you a little update on what I’ve been up to since then. I didn’t change much about the way I apply, but in the past couple of weeks I managed to get a few positive results! After months of rejection after rejection, I suddenly received invitations for three interviews in two weeks. I’m not sure what exactly made that happen, but it definitely got me excited.
The three interviews were all for very different positions: a traineeship for recent graduates, a very flexible part-time job, and a youth volunteering programme. It can’t be very surprising that the interviews for the three were completely different as well, and the same can be said about my expectations before I actually went there. With none of them being positions exactly like anything I’ve done before, I didn’t really know how to prepare, but previous experience told me that it’s more about the feeling than about answering the questions ‘correctly’. Don’t have an answer immediately? Just don’t go completely quiet – “keep calm and carry on”. If I feel like the conversation didn’t go too well because I wasn’t comfortable, they probably felt like that too.
Let’s take a look at the interviews one by one, starting with the one for the traineeship. I was told that there would be nine other candidates, which made me a bit nervous. I knew it wouldn’t be just about what I can and want to do, but also about how I compare to others. The email also asked me to prepare a pitch and to think about a certain question in advance. I did feel like I would be able to do what they asked, but it made the interview seem very formal and important. When I actually arrived it wasn’t like that at all. The conversation was pretty informal and just very nice, but I felt like the director (who did the interviews himself) was a bit sceptical about my motivation and capability. His ending remark about that we should meet up for another conversation even if I wouldn’t get the job – which I honestly found a bit weird and unprofessional – definitely confirmed that feeling. Later that day I heard that they did indeed choose someone else.
The interview for the part-time position was very different. It started with a short conversation on the phone, which led to an invitation for an actual interview at the office. This position didn’t require any education or previous experience, so the most important thing would be showing that I can and of course want to do the job. I wouldn’t have any immediate competition, so I knew that I would be offered the job as long as I didn’t completely mess up the interview. The fact that they planned my interview right before the initial training session ‘so I wouldn’t have to come to the office twice’ definitely strengthened that feeling. The interview itself was an easy conversation about my motivation and skills, and I’m happy to say that I was indeed allowed to continue to the training session immediately. Next week I’ll have a trial day and if all goes well I’ll soon have a job again! Of course it isn’t a job at the level I’m really looking for, but because it’s in the field I want to work in it’ll be great experience anyway. The flexibility of the job also allows for me to keep on looking for something that is on my level and if I really like this job I could even combine the two.
That just leaves us with the interview for the volunteering position. I was actually a bit less confident about this one than about the part-time job, because I knew there was a limited amount of places in the programme and I would have to go up against some competition again. On top of that, the interview would be a conversation by phone and I simply feel more comfortable when talking face to face. The interview was nice, but not the easiest one I’ve ever had. The interviewer had a list of standard questions, which made me struggle a bit because I didn’t want to repeat what I’d already said in my cover letter and CV. Still, I got the feeling that the interviewer was happy with my answers and I felt like I was able to convince her that I would really like to join the programme. Earlier this week I heard I was indeed accepted! I’m very excited about this opportunity, so I’ll be sure to write more about it once we get started mid January.
With me landing the spot in the volunteering programme and probably the part-time position too, it doesn’t mean that my job search is over. I’m very glad that I’ll be able to start working again and spend my time on something useful, but I’m still hoping to find something more like what I actually studied for to complete the mix. Bring it on, 2017!