When opportunity knocks: Lessons from my jobhunting experience
Many young people get their first office job after college. I am not one of those who had this path. I am not a college graduate. I only finished senior high school. At the time, I thought about pursuing college, but we didn’t have enough money to fulfill all my needs for college. Even if I took a lot of part-time jobs and did product selling on the side, it would not be enough. And so, my parents and I decided that I would stop school and start working. At 19 years old, I became the breadwinner of our family of 11. My mother was also sick, so I understood why we had to make a difficult decision.
That is why I used our life situation as motivation. I told myself that I will not let poverty control my life. Instead of doing nothing, I needed to find a solution. I needed to stay positive and continue my dreams. I believe in myself; I know I can make it. With this, I decided to join Life Project 4 Youth, an NGO in our area. There, through training and seminars, I was coached on how to be professional. They made sure that we, the youths in LP4Y, were ready when the time came for us to leave and find our own path.
Gerlie (Third from left, middle row) with her LP$Y group.
After 1 year of LP4Y training, I had to start my job search. I was nervous; I didn’t know if there would be a company that would accept me for my knowledge and skills. But, I always said to myself that if any opportunity came into my life, I would give my 100% effort. I remember getting mixed emotions on my first day to find a job. I sent out my resume to many companies and online job portals for vacancies that I thought fit my qualifications. That day, I received a phone call. I was shaking, but they said it was normal. After our conversation, the interviewer said I was not qualified; that they wanted someone who had better qualifications and has a college diploma. My heart sank. It was my first interview and I failed. But I did not let this affect me too much. From the start, I was prepared that this could happen. I accepted it right away and moved on.
The next day, I had my second phone interview but still failed. They wanted someone with professional experience, which I did not have. Still, I needed to be positive and to continue my search. I’m a believer and a fighter. I needed to prove that even with my situation, I can still work. I reached my 10th phone interview, but still, I was rejected because of the same reasons. As anyone in my situation would feel, I was frustrated. It seemed that the universe did not want to give me a chance because I was not enough.
My break came when I was contacted by Euroasia Executive Search, one of the companies that hosted our company visit and mock interviews while in LP4Y training. I was told I made a good impression when I was interviewed, and they wanted to hire me! I was so shocked and so happy at the same time! After all the disappointments, there was still this opportunity for me. I thought I would just keep on dreaming and hoping for something like this. But God gave it, and I am so blessed.
When I started with EESI, my task and responsibilities were mainly administrative. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to be in recruitment. I knew I would be productive in recruitment. But I was also embarrassed and scared because I didn’t know if I was good enough. This was my first time to leave my comfort zone. And yet, I said yes to it. I am grateful and happy I accepted, and I am continually giving my best because I know this is the way for opportunities to come.
Gerlie with the Euroasia family at their 2019 Christmas party.
My job hunting experiences gave me valuable lessons, which I’d like to share with other job seekers. If you feel now what I felt before, I leave you this message: It is perfectly normal to feel hopeless at some point. We all go through this phase. I think it’s difficult to always be 100% positive about ourselves. But it’s normal to at times have doubts about ourselves, about what we are good at if we are competent or just good for nothing. What matters is that you are able to step back and that you do not let your negative emotions get the best of you.
I hope that throughout your job hunting, you will hold the belief that there is a company out there willing to trust you, appreciate your efforts, and give you the opportunity that you have long wished for. Just wait for your perfect timing. And once it comes, grab it. Give your 100%. It might take longer, but trust that God has a plan for you. As long as you are motivated and you are open, believe that you deserve to receive more than you wish for.
More importantly, don’t let your education level and self-doubt dictate or lead your life. That’s why you need to be strong and trust yourself first. Learn how to protect yourself from things that may give you heartaches and disappointments. In the end, you will realize that those heartaches are challenges you have actually overcome.
Now, I still keep learning and being curious, and I don’t plan to stop. I know that there are still a lot of things that I need to know, and I am hopeful about my future. And wherever the opportunities take me, I will always bring all the experiences and lessons that my past taught me.