The one where I get a job.

Wow. Well, I think the headline says it all really. I have been offered a job.

My hard work, perseverance and determination have all finally paid off to where I am torn between crying in relief or dancing around my room in excitement. Technically I have already done the crying, so I guess once I kick this flu thingy, the dancing will also take place.

It has been a long journey to get to this point. So much has happened in the last, almost, two years since I graduated from AUT with my diploma.

I have hit rock bottom more times than I can remember with my depression, but I have fought the whole way and come out on the other side with a very tame black dog as my shadow. I say shadow, because he will always be there with me, where ever I go in life.

It was needing to tame this black dog, which is why I took some time off after uni. I am all the better for it. Through all of this, the events of the last two years have been a roller coaster ride, which I have survived.

Our family felt the full impact of the Christchurch earthquakes, with my sister and brother-in-law experiencing it all and still doing so. I even felt a few myself in a trip down last October. I got a job and lost that job. I gained a Man Piece, who has supported me in my search for a job and helped me in the taming of the black dog. I lost my Grandfather, which has been a huge change to my family. I’ve struggled with job rejection after job rejection. I’ve looked after my mother while she was in and out of hospital for surgery and needed someone to administer medications.

There are most likely more things that have happened that I haven’t listed, but I’m just not thinking of them right now.

I can finally put down some roots and stop living out of a suitcase going back and forth between my parents and Man Piece. Obviously this means that Man Piece and I will be doing the long distance thing again, but we will work that out.

A big thank you needs to go to everyone who has supported me and told me to keep following my dreams, who have listened to me rant and moan and still stuck by me throughout this journey. Without that support, I would have given up (even though there were a few times that I almost did.)

So today, I end my journey of the #lifeoftheunemployed and enter the gainfully employed.

Tonight I am going out for dinner with my parents to celebrate, possibly have a drink (although I probably shouldn’t ’cause of the antibiotics) and breathe a huge sigh or relief for beating the odds.

So as my Granddad used to say in times like this, “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!”

Oh, and cause I can’t do a happy dance, here is Neil Patrick Harris doing one for me. I guess I should tell you where it is too – I am to be a journalist at Pharmacy Today in Auckland.

I will persevere.

I know I have been rather absent lately. I apologise. It’s a hard road sometimes.

I was in one of my down/funk periods and if you haven’t realised by now when that happens I don’t tend to write. Think of it as me saving you from my emo ranting. I kind of knew one was going to come after I lost the constant that was Oh, The Scandal! but I’m getting back in to it.

I had a few more interviews and even though I didn’t get those jobs, my confidence has been boosted a bit. It seems kind of weird that that has happened, but hey, I’ll go with it.

I have another interview on Tuesday for a job which would be absolutely perfect for me. So I’m going to do heaps of prep for it and exude confidence. I possibly have another one next week too, which I’m just waiting to hear back on – I’ve already been contacted because of my application.

Currently you could probably say my moods are dependent on how good my job hunt is going. It’s just how it is.

I’ve come to realise over the last month or so that I am quite a determined person. I am going to persevere until I get a job. I might have set-backs and think that it’s not going to happen, but eventually it will. I will get a job.

Interviewing – what I’m now going to be doing.

This post is a few days late, but Tuesday was another WINZ appointment. We discussed interviewing.

I’ve started to feel that the interview is where I have been losing the job. I’ve been getting interviews with my cover letters and CVs, but I just never get the job after the interview.

Now it may be that I’m just not the right fit for the job at hand, but there must have been something about my skills and experience they thought would make me a good fit, but I then fell short after the interview.

I’ve never had many job interviews before. Trying to find a journalism job is my first real experience in job interviewing.

I’ve had nine interviews to date for journalism related jobs and have another one on Monday. I’m hoping it will be my last for awhile.

After the seminar on Tuesday, I feel more confident about the interview process. It gave me a few tips to prepare myself better and possible questions that may come up so I can prepare some possible answers.

I have gone through possible questions in the past, but I’ve never really done it all that well. So hopefully by following the advice I was given on Tuesday, I can do it better this time.

I don’t really have a problem with looking presentable. I make sure I pick out an outfit that is fairly business attire and have time to do hair and make-up before the interview.

To the interview, I usually take my diary and a pen, so I can write down anything I need to know and also it is where I’ve written the details of the interview and questions I would like to ask. I also take my portfolio with me, so that I have the examples of the work I sent them with me. If they ask about them, I can pull them out and show them.

One thing the seminar said was that you should take the cover letter and CV that you sent them with you. I’ve never done this before. I don’t take my CV, because I know what’s in it – my education and previous employment. I always think that that is not going to escape my mind, but you never know when you’re nervous. From now on, I will be taking one with me.

I’ve never taken my cover letter with me either, but I will be from now on. I might even print out the job ad.

It is also about phrasing what you say. No “I believes” and “I think”, it is time to be sure of what you want and your skills.

In most interviews they are going to ask about weaknesses. It’s a question you can’t avoid. Pick one, not in conflict with the job, and provide a solution to it. Sounds easy, right? Which weakness do I pick?

Another tip from the seminar was using the STAR approach – Situation, Task, Action, Result – as a means to answer a question. You explain the situation, the task that you had, what action was taken and what resulted from it all.

By putting these all together and practicing in front of a mirror with my poker face, I’m hoping it will make me a better interviewing candidate, which will result in me being employed this time next week. Hopefully.

Calling voicemail – 404: not found.

With going to WINZ employment seminars I thought it was about time to do one of the things that I’ve been told to check – that of my voicemail message.

If you’re looking for work, your voicemail message on your phone could be the make or break point. You don’t really want a possible employer calling you hearing a loud burping sound and then a beep, do you? Or being told to F-off, I’m not going to call you back.

So not having done anything with my voicemail since I got my first phone eight years ago, I thought it was about time to double check what my message said. Cause frankly, what could 16-year-old me possibly have recorded?

This was easier said than done.

I tried to call my voicemail, something that I have been able to do in the past, no problems. But it asked me for my phone number, sure, enter that. “Your number is not listed.”

Say what now?

Yeah, my number wasn’t listed. Does not make sense as I have received voicemails before and have used the service many times.

I got Man Piece to call my phone to see what my message said. It just hung up on him.

Not a good look for prospective employers.

So I called Vodafone. The first guy I talked to was pre-occupied with the last time I had actually received a voicemail and thought that me changing from pre-paid to plan might have cancelled my voicemail.

Yeah, nah. Same number the whole time. Plus, I changed to plan at the beginning of October last year. Turns out, I hadn’t received a voicemail since November last year. Now that didn’t seem right. But I’m usually pretty good at picking up my phone and usually when I have a missed call it’s usually from someone I know like my parents or sister.

So this guy went on saying my voicemail had been turned off. No explanation for how that happened, cause I sure didn’t do it. So I asked him to turn it back on. He said he did and to call 701 to set up my voicemail again.

So I called and got the same, “Your number is not listed.”

Thanks dude.

I called Vodafone again. This time I got a very helpful young man who wanted to talk about the weather and the rugby. He saw what the problem was and actually turned my voicemail back on. This time when I called 701, I was able to record a message. One that I know no prospective employer is going to take offence at.

Ah, the things an unemployed journalist with nothing to do on a Saturday night, while Man Piece plays games on his PC, does.

Work seminars, job applications, interviews, and WINZ isn’t that bad.

I have just gotten back to the flat after being at WINZ for the employment seminar – week two.

Surprisingly, I’m actually really enjoying them.

The case manager is a lot of fun. She cracks jokes and says it like it is. They are really starting to help me in seeing what things I have been doing wrong. Not that I have been doing everything wrong and not that everything is wrong, there are just better ways of doing them.

Today we were covering CVs and cover letters.

At uni, we were educated a bit on how our CVs should look and what to do in trying to get a job, but WINZ is in the business of finding people jobs and helping them get into the workforce.

I feel that these seminars would be beneficial for EVERYONE, whether they get recruited straight out of uni or enter the workforce out of high school into apprentice type jobs.

The seminars cover things that you just don’t pick up in high school or that one hour lecture on how to promote yourself and your CV. There should be consideration for implementing a compulsory six week course for every school leaver, which would provide NCEA credits – more worth wile that picking up trash for credits. (But I may cover this at a later time on a different blog, just an idea.)

Some of you might say you can pick up this type of thing on the internet, but it’s not the same. There are a lot of inconsistencies on the net – one site can tell you something completely different to the next.

THE INTERNET IS NOT ALL KNOWING.

My CV and cover letters are fairly in-line with what the case manager was saying today, but I can tweak a few things. Things that may actually be costing me interviews.

And in today’s tough market of finding a job in journalism, I need to do everything that I can to get that interview.

Yesterday I did have an interview. They told me they had more than 70 applicants for the job. Although the interview was more of a “meet and greet”, it shows they are interested in me, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I get into the second round of interviews.

I’m actually excited for next week’s seminar, it’s on interviewing. I’ve been trying to work on my interviewing skills and this will be a huge help.

Today, I am going to do some job applications, there are always more to do. Tomorrow I have an appointment with the employment seminar case manager who is going to help me with a specific application, because it is my dream job that has come up. I am going to everything I can to get an interview for that job!