For some people, a job hunt lasts little more than a couple of weeks. This is usually down to them being experienced or trained in a high-demand role, and it can be disheartening to watch just how easily the whole process is wrapped up for the lucky ones.

The rest of us know it as a long and tiring effort, with weeks of repetition and constantly feeling like you’re back to square one. I’m sorry to say that for the most part, this is unavoidable – but I can tell you what to expect.

Mistakes and Miscommunication

To err is human, to forgive… let’s just say, very difficult when you thought this was finally the one. We all make small blunders in our work from time to time, and chances are that you’ll find these misleading you sooner or later. Incorrect salary or working hours, less or more responsibility than what was advertised, and being told you don’t have experience that they never originally asked for are all snags you might encounter. On a bad day this is infuriating to say the least, but don’t let them become bigger setbacks than they need to be. Vent in the best way you know how and get back to the drawing board.

Abrupt changes of plan

I’ve applied for a job before to go through preliminary interviews, spend a week on a writing exercise, and schedule a face-to-face interview, only for it to be cancelled less than 24 hours before the agreed date. It was a ‘last-minute reshuffling decision’ or something equally as vague. When you’re on the receiving end of this kind of out of the blue cancellation, it’s much more than frustration – it’s helplessness. You can be left wondering what the point of jumping through the hoops is if they can just drop everything with a click of their fingers. There’s no way of knowing if this will happen, so you need to give it everything you’ve got, every time. It’s exhausting, but it’s the only way to avoid selling yourself short.

Seemingly impossible requests

Essential: University degree, 3+ years’ experience in a similar role. Look familiar? It’s a common complaint from the millennial generation, and sometimes it’s entirely warranted. Some employers seem to want an impossibly perfect candidate without a consideration for fresh talent, and it’s equally insulting when they’re offering a mediocre to average salary on an entry-level role. It’s the classic vicious circle of being unable to get a job because of no experience, but no experience because you can’t get the job. If you’re feeling brave, though, you can always apply anyway. What have you got to lose?

Unwanted offers with the worst timing

You’ve fired your CV off at more places than you can remember, so now it’s time to take a step back and wait. The next day, your phone rings. You dive for it, smash the answer button with your thumb, and… it’s an agency that want you to hand out leaflets in the city centre. It’ll happen when you’re most on-edge about an application, and going through the small panic of an unknown number cropping up only to be so disappointed is enough to make you scream. Politely decline and hope that the next ring is better news.

Nothing at all

The sad truth is, a lot of places now won’t even respond to your initial application. Consider an email to say you haven’t been shortlisted a blessing of sorts, as at least you know where you stand in some form or another. A friend of mine once applied for a job and heard nothing at all… until two years later, when he was told he hadn’t been successful on this occasion. It’s a good thing they made that clear.

Ethan Lee writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse our graduate jobs, visit our website.

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