When I used to read or hear about unemployment, I never thought I’d be part of this phenomena. I’m smart, ethical and fundamentally driven to make a difference so why is it that I’m not being wowed by compelling offers by every company. When I made the decision to change my career path, I thought following my authentic self will open doors for me, that I won’t need nepotism to land a job, I’ll land it all on my own.
But then I had my ‘the world is bigger than your problems’ moment, I attended a job–fair. It was one of those rude awakening moments, it was very sobering to know I was not the only one. The area was closed down at the time the job–fair was supposed to open, nationals from all over Abu Dhabi and it suburbs showed up two to three hours before the opening time to stand in line and get ahead start. The room was packed with unemployed UAE nationals age ranging from 18 to 50?. An older lady sat to my right who looked old enough to be retired, she was desperate to find a job as a cashier in Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society but was devastated to find out that they were looking for a candidate with at least a diploma degree and she only finished high school. The other girl sitting to my left was a fresh graduate and this was her third job fair, she was a pro by the time I met her; she knew that we can take breaks, and that its going to be a long sit-down so bring in your cup of coffee and some visual entertainment to cut time.
It was not just me, I’m not a singular effect. that was the moment I realized I was part of a percentage. According to tradingeconomics.com UAE unemployment rate “increased to 1.72 percent in 2017 from 1.64 percent in 2016.”
Nonetheless people like me push forward and continue to put ourselves out there. Every morning brings in new possibilities, so we apply, make a number of phone calls. But we are always faced with this endless debilitating loop of not getting the job because we don’t have enough experience or not getting it because we are not fresh graduates.
“But no, this job is for fresh graduates”. I’ve heard this statement at the end of the line so many times. But your job description states you are looking for a no experience to two-year experience candidate and I’m it, so why not shortlist the best candidates for the position without being rigid and traditional in terms of picking who you find qualified?
The United states Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that individuals change careers 11.9 times in their lifetime. Almost everyone starts their careers practicing what they learned but with growth and exposure comes self-evaluation that a bachelor’s degree shouldn’t set in stone a career–path. The 11,943 civilians who were surveyed were able to pivot and remold their future. Age and the date of graduation should not be an issue. Passion, drive and most importantly skillset should be taken into account during the shortlisting process.
Yet I am left at the end of each day feeling that professionals like me missed their chance and now we are redundant unless we know someone who knows someone.
When looking to grow or as the Jefferson’s Theme Song goes‘moving on up’ in our professional life, depending mainly on our wall of achievements will most times than not take us nowhere. While an overachiever successful person can get you a meeting or can get you shortlisted. But on a personal level and professional, people want to know how you got to where you are today, what were the struggles and tumbles you’ve gone through to get to where you are. They are looking for relatability and humbleness. People who take first meeting to explain how successful they’ve been in achieving their goals without mentioning the hardship that got them there might never live to see a second meeting. Mainly because they fill the room with an underwhelming sense of excitement. However, when someone reveals the failures behind their success, they start to feel identifiable and relatable.
In a study titled Impression (Mis) Management When Communicating Success, Dr. Janina Steinmetz explained that “A success story isn’t complete without the hard work and explanation of why we were successful. Did the success come easy, thanks to one’s talents, or was it attained through hard work? Both of these attributions can be part of successful self-promotion, but my research shows that emphasizing effort is more likely to garner a positive impression and people really want to know the story behind your success.
Resume is a clear indicator of our professional successful landmarks. Recruiters can look through your social media account(LinkedIn, Instagram) to get an idea of how you want to be perceived. It also offers an introduction of who you are and/or a summery in terms of career choices and interests. A sit-down interview, on the other hand, requires openness and digging deep. Recruiters want to see what’s your character like in person, behavioral interview to see if your personality will fit well with the team, to ensure that you’ll be able to get along.
In most cases people who achieved a lot can appear jaded or even worse will have a demeanor that says, ‘my work speaks for itself’. They won’t show the effort that it took from them to get to where they are. Whilst a person with a success checklist less checked will show all the enthusiasm that can be fathomed to make sure that the interviewer realizes what the candidate lack in success milestones, they more than make up for it in effort and hard–work.
Interviewers encountered candidates who try to seem like an overachiever maybe even try to lie their way through an interview, but what they neglect to see that this approach will get them eliminated faster than if they chose to be honest about their achievement regardless of how humble they seem compared to others. Moreover, interviewers who actually put in the work can spot when an interviewee who tries to fabricate by realizing that they aren’t familiar with an important detail or inaccurately talk about a task related to the work they are interviewed for. This ultimately cuts their chances of getting a future phone–call for a job that might better suit their skillset and experience. Since their first impression interview showed how unethical the candidate was.
Ultimately, humbleness and humility win always when put side to side with overconfidence and a bragging personality. Its best to use the time offered during the first interview wisely, by balancing it between your successful milestones and the effort you put into getting there.