If only finding a new job were as easy as applying for it, going to an interview and receiving an offer. IF ONLY. Scarlett Cayford explains the many soul-destroying stages of finding new employment.

1. Decide you hate your old job

It might be the hours, or the pay, or the way the long-legged teen who sits opposite you sometimes kicks you under the desk, reminding you that in 5 years he’ll be on twice your salary, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

finding a new job

2. Update your LinkedIn

Remove the selfie of yourself squinting into the sun with bits in your teeth. Replace it with a professional shot that makes you look like an over-tired vampire, but at least it’s in high-res. List out your skills, breaking them out into as long a list as possible. Contemplate asking the teen for a recommendation. Refrain.

3. Send off 43 identical cover letters to any job that might have you

The important thing here is to make sure that you’ve only read the first three lines of the job spec, that you misspell at least one important word, preferably in a paragraph that waxes lyrical about your attention to detail, and that you do all of this on your lunch-break, glancing furtively over your shoulder.

finding a new job

4. Read 17 articles on why that was a shite idea

There are more than 17 out there, but by the time you’ve read that far, you’ll either be drunk on despair, or actually drunk.

5. Write 43 bespoke cover letters, send them off to jobs you actually want

Best done at 9pm on a Sunday night, when the overwhelming despair that accompanies your imminent return to the job you loathe inspires enthusiasm and a flair for job applications in your dead, tired soul.

6. Hear nothing

During this period, every email makes you hopeful. Alas, it’s just LinkedIn, reminding you about all the jobs you haven’t yet applied for, or spam from Time informing you on exactly why you’re holding on to all that belly fat.

finding a new job

7. Decide that maybe your old job isn’t actually that bad

The roof doesn’t leak. There’s sometimes milk in the fridge. Who are you to complain?

8. Get an interview invitation


finding a new job

9. Frantically go through your emails to remember what the job was

“Command F” is your friend here.

10. Research the company

Google is your friend here, as is Glassdoor. Remember that Glassdoor can be ignored if the reviews are bad, and followed to the letter if they’re positive. Everybody knows that.

11. Go to the interview

Don’t forget to: brush your teeth and hair; clip your nails; wear deodorant; look like a real human being rather than an advanced AI sent by a competing business to steal intel on the company; poo before you go; wear matching shoes; pet a cat for good luck; refrain from bringing a gun or drugs to the interview.

12. Receive your first rejection

It’s normal at this stage to become convinced that this is the year it all falls apart, everyone you love will die, you’ll develop an allergy to both beer and kittens. That’s OK.

finding a new job

13. Repeat steps 7 – 10

Probably more than once.

14. Receive more rejections

After a while, you begin to see the funny side. LOL at all the money you spanked on that degree. LOL again to your youthful certainty that everything would be OK. LOL nine times at the fact you spent £100 on interview outfits.

finding a new job

15. Go to a second interview

Don’t forget to: wear a different outfit (they won’t remember, but what if they do), do everything you did in Step 11; affect an attitude of insouciance as if all your personal happinesses don’t depend on this one moment.

16. Repeat Step 14

Probably more than once.

17. Get a job offer!

It will be: almost certainly less money than you hoped for and possibly a bit of an anti-climax. Celebrate anyway. Party poppers are not out of the question, nor is a large badge that says “I AM THE BEST”. It’s totally fine to buy it for yourself.

finding a new job

18. Think about asking for more money

Wuss out.

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19. Accept the offer

Try to leave at least 4 minutes between receiving the offer and emailing back. The working world is not so different to the dating world. Don’t look desperate, even though everyone knows you’re desperate.

20. Quit

Try neither to cry, nor laugh. Calm acceptance is the best middle-ground. If all else fails, stare at the desk and mumble something about being thankful for opportunities. You can mean the opportunity to eat hamburgers for all three of your meals, every day, because you’re an adult. They don’t know.

finding a new job

21. Buy an outfit that you can’t afford

It is an Unwritten Rule that the outfit you wear on the first day of your new job must be both more expensive and much cooler than anything else you’ll ever wear, ever again. Nobody knows why. But it is writ.

22. START!

Try to ignore the surging sensations of self-doubt and fear. It’s completely normal and everyone feels them. Remember how cool your outfit is. You’ve got this.

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