What Trick-or-Treating Taught Me About A Successful Job Search

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In my opinion, the search for candy on Halloween was me at my most cunning and strategic. My goal was to get the most candy possible in the short time that I had available; I couldn’t just randomly go from house to house, it wasted precious time. I had to think through the process and weigh my options. In a sense, this is the same thing that I had to do during my job search. Instead of getting the most candy, I wanted to give myself the most opportunities to find a job that I loved. Here are four important things that trick-or-treating taught me about a successful job search.

Use Your Instincts to the Best of Your Abilities

When I trick-or-treated with friends, we typically sized up a street before we went down it to see if it was a good use of our time. If the street was littered with children and lots of decorations, it was worth going down the street. On the other hand, if it was deserted and dark, we skipped it because it would be a waste of our time and efforts. When looking for a job, I used those instincts to decide whether a specific job (or an entire section of jobs) was worth my time to apply to. If I didn’t do this, I would use up valuable time applying to jobs that I had no chance of getting, or frankly, didn’t even want.

Rely On Friends When Forming A Plan of Attack

When my group of friends ran across other groups of friends while trick-or-treating, we would trade intel on what houses had great candy and which we should skip. When on a job search, I found using friends, and professional acquaintances, for advice was a great idea. If they were also looking for a job, we could trade information on what job boards to use and which companies were hiring. If I had friends who were working in the field that I wanted to work in, I would use them as an “in” to a company, or at the very least, a reference.

Costumes Make You Look Cool, But They Become A Burden

Wearing a big, bulky superhero costume sounded like a great idea when I left the house at sundown, but within a half-hour I realized that the costume wasn’t just uncomfortable, it was also slowing me down. Looking back, I realize that the easiest costumes were the ones that accentuated who I already was. Some smart clothing choices and a little creativity allowed my inner superhero to shine without the discomfort of trying to be somebody completely different. When I was looking for a job, I found that trying to carry around the bulky “costume” of being someone I thought employers were looking for was much more uncomfortable than just being who I really was.

The Scariest Houses Have the Best Candy

I remember that old house on the block that we all thought was haunted (for reals). Or that house where I knew someone was going to jump out and scare me. For some reason, these always seemed to be the houses that were giving out full-sized candy bars (the Holy Grail of trick-or-treating). It was a lesson that sometimes a bit of courage is needed to get the reward I was looking for. During my job search, I remembered this idea and recognized that the companies and positions that I was afraid of applying for were the ones that I should be applying for.  Even if I didn’t end up getting the job, I gained more confidence, which helped me out down the line.

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