The following is a bonus article to the articles running in the AFRO’s 5th Annual Career and Education Fair supplement. The AFRO’s Career and Education Fair will be held on September 25 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at The Forum Caterers, 4210 Primrose Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland.

By Carl Thomas, Special to the AFRO


That’s the number of job applications I completed in 45 days during one drought in employment opportunity. I called friends, family, associates, former co-workers, mentors –still- I found myself reading yet another “Thank you for your interest…” (TYFYI) email.

If you are reading this article, you likely know precisely the correspondence being referenced. You have read it, deleted it, forwarded it to friends who claim they have clout, and (depending on how long you’ve been looking) printed out a few copies to use as targets for your dart game.

While it can be difficult to look for a job, don’t give up. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The first thing to remember is volume does not matter. ‘Landing a gig’ is really a function of timing and preparation. With the perfect timing, one could apply to one job and find success was merely a resume upload away. Less than perfect timing, and you may reel in 500 TYFYI emails before someone invites you in to interview.

You complete the number required to arrive where you need to be. The moment you concentrate on the number of applications, you launch an offense against your own self actualization. You begin to say things like “I’ve sent several emails and nothing.” If you have not found a position, it is definitely going to take -at least- one more application.

Likewise, if you read the title of this article and continued to this point, you may feel yourself approaching the end of your rope and wondering what to do next. The answer is simple: hold to that rope. What that really means is not quite as simple, but still a very achievable option: keep pushing forward.

The urge to quit is strong, especially as your running counter of resumes sent out continues to move expeditiously toward the infinite. We’ve concluded that volume doesn’t matter, instead, we turn our attention to the accuracy and aesthetics of our resume and cover letters.

The Department of Employment Services has employment counselors who can assist with resume revisions. Based on the number of people who need assistance, definitely don’t expect them to start one from scratch, have one already done or find someone to help you prepare one.

Once you have checked the resume and cover letter off the list, it’s time to turn your sights to your presentation. By now, you have procured lots of interview attire and are fairly comfortable with what you will be asked. “No” has become such a common response, it is necessary to protect against depression.

Meditation and visualization can be powerful tools in your fight against allowing weeks of negative responses to pile up. An internet search will reveal many free resources to learn and practice both meditation and visualization.

If you can relate thus far, then it probably is not much of a stretch to assume you now encounter loved ones who simply cannot understand what the delay in finding employment is all about. People now begin to outwardly question the validity of your search itself.

Resist the urge to share the number of applications, instead, focus the conversation around the quality of your attempts. Solicit assistance in reviewing or revising documents. Most times you will find your family and friends completely open to helping in this way. Take full advantage.

Once you’ve addressed the resume and cover letter, decided to push forward, began to meditate and visualize yourself in a new position and solicit help from family and friends, you’re on the path to success… Except this time, you may actually get there.