It’s easy to scoff at any quote that sounds like something your uncle would say or you’d see on a motivational business poster, but doesn’t the fact that something becomes a cliché mean that there must be some truth in it? Why else would these phrases be repeated over and over again?
Before you dismiss these eight overused sayings, allow me to shed some light on how they might actually help you think about your job search in a new way.
1. The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side
Do you know someone who seemingly has the perfect career? Remember that it’s easy to have job-envy when you’re only seeing the social media (read: highlights reel) version of someone’s work and life. Before you decide to start job searching, make sure you have a full understanding of the pros and cons of positions you’re getting ready to apply for.
2. How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time
Whatever your reasons for job searching, at some point you’re probably going to feel overwhelmed. It’s OK—that feeling is normal, and it can be overcome. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t eat an elephant in one bite, and you’re not going to find a job overnight, no matter how feverishly you’re applying for positions. Break it down to manageable chunks (our free, week-long “Kick Start Your Job Search” email class is a good start), and take it from there.
3. You Can’t Learn to Swim Without Getting in the Water
You also can’t get a job in a new field without knowing some people in that world! Truthfully, you can apply to jobs online all day and it won’t be nearly as effective as meeting people who know the ins and outs (and the hiring managers) of the companies you want to work for. So, get out there and network (or, better yet, meet people and get some hands-on experience at the same time through volunteering). Find industry events or conferences that need some extra hands, and get to it.
4. Don’t Keep All Your Eggs in One Basket
Your dream job might be very specific (and it’s definitely a good thing to know what you want), but you’re not doing yourself any favors by limiting your search to one or two jobs or companies. So, do your research and expand your search a bit by finding other opportunities that appeal to you. (Try following a few companies on LinkedIn then checking out the “People Also Viewed” section to find similar organizations you may not have considered.)
5. All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
It’s easy to get completely consumed by your job search. To make sure you stay motivated and avoid burnout (yes, you can totally get job search burnout), make sure you’re taking some time off. See friends, keep up with your hobbies, and do things that are completely unrelated to your job search regularly. You’ll come off as a pleasant, well-rounded person—not an exhausted, job-search-worn zombie—to hiring managers.
6. Opportunity Doesn’t Knock Twice
In a recent Daily Muse article, author Scott Dockweiler highlighted one hiring manager’s disbelief over job candidates who don’t respond to interview invitations. Apparently, this is surprisingly common. Don’t let this be you. Because, well, as they (also) say—you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
7. Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
The job search process can be grueling, so mentally preparing yourself to be patient during this process from the get-go will save you a lot of anxiety. The good news? If you’re really putting yourself out there the right way (our new and improved Muse U can help), your patience and perseverance will pay off in time.
8. It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, it’s How You Play the Game
Think about it: In going through the job search process, you learn a lot about your career goals, what’s important to you in a job and company, and how to position your goals and accomplishments in the market. So, in the end, no matter where you end up, you’ll have more than just a new job—you’ll have a new perspective on yourself, your goals, and your future.
What are some of your favorite clichéd sayings? Do they still stand when applied to the job search?
Photo of letters courtesy of Shutterstock.
Lily Zhang serves as a Manager of Graduate Student Professional Development at the MIT Media Lab where she works with a range of students from AI experts to interaction designers. When she’s not indulging in a new book or video game, she’s thinking about, talking about, or writing about careers. Follow her musings on Twitter @lzhng.More from this Author