The Art of Job Seeking

by Julie Watson, former Head Editor, INALJ Pennsylvania 
previously published on 10/29/13

The Art of Job Seeking

julie_watsonIt’s easy to feel stuck when you are job seeking in this economy. Try un-sticking yourself by tapping into your inner artist:

Innovation – Artists think outside the box to overcome challenges and/or respond to opportunities. They don’t rely purely on tried and true methods, but think of new ways and methods to actualize their visions. In this economy, you must think outside the box when looking for employment. Maybe the position does not have “librarian” in the title, but it may require the same skills; or maybe you’ll end up as a “librarian” someplace exciting.

Inspiration – Good* art stems from the heart, is sparked by an inspiration. The spark is transferred to those who view it, listen to it, and/or experience it. Hence, inspired art inspires. The weeks, months, maybe years of slogging through the job search can be a draining. Endure them by remembering what inspired you to seek this career path.

Intuition – If inspiration is a spark, then intuition is the guiding light. By tolerating ambiguity, an artist can engage in the artistic process without a clear picture of the outcome. Intuition enables the artist to keep going and guides her towards a result better than any planned outcome. Likewise, you’ll be able to maintain clarity and happiness in your job search if you recognize that the process is non-linear and trust your intuition.

Communication – An artist communicates an idea in a work of art, engaging the viewer and inviting interpretation or enjoyment. To land a job, you must communicate your qualifications in writing and orally. Good writers will get interviews and good speakers will get job offers.

Design – Artists understand the elements of design and how to use them to create visual effects. This is called composition. Job seekers compose when they select items for portfolios, solicit references, and arrange information in their resumes and cover letters. You can design a successful job search by strategizing.

Authenticity – Just as collectors prefer certain artists, hiring managers gravitate towards certain candidates. When interviewing, try not to be what you think they want, but strive for authenticity. Be yourself. People say it all the time, and it’s true: both the employer and the job seeker should look for a good fit.

Willingness to fail – Skills are honed over time with repetition and trial and error. If an artist waits for perfection, she will never dip her brush into paint. When you are looking for a job and you are willing to risk rejection by putting yourself out there, you are really risking missed opportunities.

*Subjectivity – Art means something different to everything and is open to interpretation.