Over the holiday when I was visiting with friends, I had the chance to catch up with Lizzy Biener. The last time I had seen Lizzy may have been when she was in high school. And here she was, a young professional woman, talking with enthusiasm about her job in Seattle.

Of course, the career coach in me had to know how she had found such a great fit. This is her story:

What I Wish I’d Known About Job Hunting Before I Started

At the beginning of my job hunt I believed I knew just about everything I needed to know. I had been to the career office’s lectures and knew that networking was important. I knew that LinkedIn was a key tool in the new world of job hunting. I knew that recommendations and referrals could put a resumé at the top of the pile.

But…I was different. I had a stellar resumé, chock full of the requisite D.C. internships and foreign language proficiencies. I had practiced my interview technique and knew how good I was. I didn’t need a connection to boost me through the application process–I would succeed on my own merits. At the end of the day, I wanted to feel like I had earned the job I was in.

Job Hunting Takes Stamina And More

Besides, I had something that I thought few of my competitors possessed–stamina. With sometimes hundreds of resumés being submitted for one position, I figured that if I played the numbers game, I would strike gold soon enough.

Flash forward to a few months later and over a hundred applications submitted. Flash forward to my exhausted, burned-out self sitting in front of my career counselor who, shocked at how none of my effort paid off yet, leaned over his desk and whispered those words I dreaded to hear: “Have you tried…networking?”

Fine, I Thought. I’ll Change My Approach To Job Hunting. I Had Nothing To Lose.

So I dredged up both the physical and social energy to talk to people. I narrowed my job hunting searches, contacted only those who worked at organizations where I wanted to work, and applied primarily to places where I would get a referral. I went to information sessions and made sure to message the presenter afterwards to let them know to look out for my application.

And, well, it worked. While the results weren’t instant, after a month or so of this new strategy I received two job offers on the same day, with several other promising leads still in the works. Each of these bright spots were dependent upon connections I had made, whether via a friend of a friend, an alumni I had contacted, or a recruiter I had reached out to.

What had been an endless slog became a careful, focused search with less wasted energy. And my concerns about having “earned” my position? I realized that I could take credit for my accomplishments–I finally recognized the hard work that went into searching for connections and the thoughtfulness that went into crafting an informational interview.

I just wish I hadn’t waited until I was desperate before finally listening to the advice I had been given. The job I accepted is a great fit for me, and I wouldn’t have gotten there if I hadn’t broken out of my comfort zone. If I could fly back in time to deliver a message to my senior-year self, it would be this: “You know what you have to do–now do it.”

I have a feeling Lizzy’s story may sound familiar to you! I know it did to me! Sometimes, we make things harder on ourselves than they need to be. Many times the first step is just reaching out to talk with someone. Click here to schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation with me directly. I’m already looking forward to it!