The Cycle of Resumes, Interviews, Let Downs & Sweet Successes


Kathryn Hudnell

Featured image by Paige Gaskins

When I think of any application process, a few things come to my mind immediately. The tedious task of the search for an opportunity, the time consuming reading of all the required qualifications and compiling the necessary documents are the worst of them. Most people would agree with me on those; however, one part I think a majority of people skip over is the vulnerability applying for anything brings.

There’s little difference between an interview and a first date: both involve two people talking face to face presumably for the first time. Both include people trying to sell themselves within a limited timeframe, and they each end with one person waiting for a phone call from the other. 

This pressure of needing to impress a potential future employer has been an added stressor in my life recently. I have never been a very competitive person, but now I am seeing that holding an appropriate level of competitiveness in the job market has its benefits. The highs and lows of applying to new opportunities is always a roller coaster. It only takes one open door to make it all worth it, but finding it can be difficult.

The fact that if I don’t step up to sell myself no one else will is a hard truth for me to swallow. I began trying to see the job market as a game. The position I want is the prize, my resume and skills are my tools to help me get there, and the other applicants are my opponents. If I want that prize, and believe me I do, I need to be willing to complete the quests along the way. 

Even as I look at this process as a game, I find myself often frustrated that it appears the deck is stacked against new players. Many positions require experience I don’t have. Of course, I need a job in the first place to get that required experience. The endless cycle of not being able to check every box people expect me to is headache-inducing. I find myself often tempted to procrastinate the entire process.

Something that keeps me motivated is to see rejection as a step closer to getting to the place I am meant to be. Slowly, I am getting used to the idea that not every opportunity I apply for is for me. Even though it is always disappointing to go through the work of applying and interviewing for something to not get it in the end, when it does work out, that feeling of achievement is even sweeter.

For anyone who has not gotten to that rewarding feeling yet, just know that it is waiting for you. Continue playing the game and improving those skills, because with time, the right opportunity will present itself. I encourage everyone to practice selling yourself before an interview. The more you do it, the more genuine it feels. 

Even if you think a job or scholarship is beyond your reach, once you get to the interview stage remember that you had the confidence to apply in the first place. It is also important to remember that the company wouldn’t have called you for an interview if they didn’t think you had the potential to handle the job. Your purpose now is to show them they made the right choice in calling you.

I maintain hope for what the job application process will hold in the future. Every year colleges and employers take a step away from the traditional stages and focus more on getting to know the person behind the resume. There are also new ways to make resumes and interviews more personalized. With these advancements come new learning curves in the game, but it can mean that the right opportunities will present themselves in a clearer way.