Over the last several months, I have been applying for jobs in the cruise industry left, right and center. I have had several interviews, can complete an online application with my eyes closed and have several copies of my cover letter and résumé, customised for each cruise line and position that I have applied for.
None have been successful.
As I mentioned in a previous post, each and every position that I have applied for was a position where I felt I could make a success of it with my current knowledge, background and experience. In fact, I know that I would make a success of each and every one of them, given the chance to prove myself.
The standard reply on each of them were: “We have stronger candidates who meet the requirements of the position better and you are no longer considered at this time.” – or something to this effect.
To say it is discouraging is an understatement of note. It takes strong discipline, motivation and sometimes madness to keep on going and not give up. I haven’t given up!
I recently customised my documentation for yet another angle to take on getting a foot in the door in the cruise industry. This time, I focused on the things I have solid experience in, through the employer I have been with for the last 11 years. I was fortunate to have it sent to the relevant people directly, and they thought my résumé good enough to at least have an initial telephonic “meet and greet” – the first interview of what I would imagine be a couple at least to follow.
Will this be my “big break” that I have been praying, asking and begging for someone to give to me? Do we absolutely have to rely on someone giving you that big break? Why do we find it so difficult to get somewhere in life without someone giving you that opportunity? Surely my track record, experience, attitude and values should be enough to make my dream come true without having to rely on that? How do we make recruiters, interviewers and potential new managers understand what our competencies are and that we are suitable for the position – in fact, not only suitable for the position, but to stand out in the crowd of sometimes thousands of applicants, and convince them that we are the best candidate for the position?
There are two schools of thought here: The first is the almost cliché “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” The second is that you determine your own destiny, and that you cannot rely on other people to make it happen for you.
I believe that being successful calls for both, at various times in your life. Sometimes you have to rely on someone else to give you that chance, and sometimes you have to outright ask for it. The key is that you need to make them understand that, in other words, you determine what they think of you, that they understand you are the best candidate for the job, and that you will be successful. As the person applying for the new job, you are ultimately the one determining your own destiny.
How do we bridge this gap, and make that happen? Confidence without being arrogant, doing your research about the requirements of the job, good communication, good first impressions, be honest, be friendly, smile. These are all examples of advice that you will find when you read articles about how to get the job. But they do not answer that question, how do you convince the recruiter/interviewer that you are their perfect candidate, and convince them to give you that chance to prove yourself?
I haven’t found the answer yet. If you have, and you are willing to share it with me and the people who read my blog, please leave your comment below.