My job search is going horribly.
That first company I phone-interviewed with gave me the silent treatment. The person I spent an hour on the phone with never got back to me, ignoring the 2 or 3 emails I sent. Game over. Fine, I didn’t really want that job anyway, but at least have the courtesy to get back to me and say no thanks.
The company where I had the other phone interview may schedule me for an interview next week. This has dragged out for weeks now, with responses to my emails and voicemail coming very slowly. The hiring manager does seem genuinely interested in bringing me in for an in-person interview, and has been very nice to me, but the hiring process has been slowed down due to client needs and managers on vacation.
The week before last I felt bad/guilty about my very low number of job applications, so I really buckled down on that. I sent out 10 (targeted) applications in one week, which was an exponential improvement over what I had been doing. Then last Tuesday I went to a workshop at my local JVS and was told, not for the first time, that networking was really where it’s at, and job applications are basically useless. So this past week I sent out over a dozen cold-call emails to people, based on the strength of some common affiliation or both being PhDs, asking them if they’d meet with me and tell me about how they got started. I’ve gotten 3 responses so far, which seems pretty low to me.
I’ve devoted a lot of time to that, and to my career-relevant volunteer work, and so I didn’t apply to any jobs last week. I’m getting back to that this week. Wanting some feedback, I sent my materials to my career counselor at JVS. He left me a voicemail a little while ago saying that my application isn’t targeted enough and he’d like to talk to me about it. And since this application is built on the same basis as a million other applications, I feel like everything I’ve done has been a waste.
So 3 1/2 months after defending my dissertation, and 2 1/2 months after graduating, I have two phone interviews to show for all my job-searching efforts. I’m treating my search as much like a full-time job as I can, and this is where it’s gotten me. I read up on my new field, conduct informational interviews, do relevant volunteer work, go to career skills workshops, write targeted resumes & cover letters, and go to networking events. I’ve got a PhD from a top-tier school, and no one gives me a second glance. I know that’s a horrible, braggy thing to say. But I picked my university because I thought for sure everyone would want someone with a degree from THERE. It was supposed to make me marketable. Desirable.
Next week is my birthday. I’ll be celebrating by sending in a giant check (a loan from my significant other) to pay for a four-month extension on my student health insurance so that I can get the (wildly expensive) medication I need, and also spare myself the crushing debt that would result should some horrible catastrophe should befall me. These few months are massively overpriced compared to the rate I was getting as a student, and perhaps to a more reasonable rate from another company, but I don’t have the time or energy to research other options, given all the small print and “catches.” Also, I’m not sure how they define “pre-existing condition,” and maybe I wouldn’t qualify anyway. Obamacare, you are kicking in a few months too late for me.
I love the post-ac community, but it really bums me out to read all those posts on Versatile PhD from all those people who landed great jobs right out of grad school and then just marched right up the ladder to career success and fulfillment. Also, on the site’s sample job materials, a lot of the submissions break the rules of how you’re supposed to write an effective cover letter and resume (too long, irrelevant information, jargon-y, stilted language) and yet these are the materials that got people jobs. And most of them do not appear to be through networking.
A friend who I haven’t talked to since early June emailed me the other day and asked if I had a job yet. It’s worse than being asked if you’ve finished your dissertation yet.