Someday my offer will come, right?
It sucks! It really sucks having little to no experience in a career field that you know you are perfect for. You’ve done the work. Put in the time. Attended school. Studied hard. You have earned that coveted piece of paper with the embossed seal from an accredited institution that lets employers or clients know you meet the educational requirements to do this job. But! You don’t have enough experience. School-earned experience isn’t adequate. You haven’t been able to prove your abilities in the real world, and so for the 46th time you are overlooked for that perfect job without even so much as an interview to properly evaluate your capabilities.
I know this is a common tale. I know I’m not the only one fresh out of college, struggling to find THE job they were made for. But it’s still hard to take such rejection over and over again when you know you could handle the job if only given the chance. More often than not, there’s no response to resume submissions because there are just too many applicants; they don’t have time to send kind rejection letters to each and every one of us. Other times there’s a short form letter, possibly personalized with your name filled in at the top, sincerely thanking you for your interest in the position and their company but they’re going a different way this time.
Vocal rejection – my most recent rejection – somehow seems just a little harsher, a little more personal. He was a potential client, an author, who had filled out a response form on my website. He’s already published a few books, one of them an award-winning novel, and was looking for a copy editor for his newest book. In his last email he left his cell phone number, asking me to contact him if I was interested in considering his book for an editing job. I promptly responded, sending a text as my initial contact so I could explain who I was. When my phone rang showing his name on the caller ID, a rush of anticipation and excitement soared through me. People were starting to take me seriously as an Editor. I was starting to build a clientele. Of course, I’ll have a look at your book. It would be my pleasure, sir, to edit your book. This VIP (very important project) is what I’ve worked so hard for these past ten years. All the late nights and papers and tests accumulated to this VIP moment. A paying client was about to invite me to edit his book.
Pleasantry’s out of the way, he asked me to tell him about myself. Being the honest person that I am, I tried to impress him with my recent graduations from the University of Iowa and the Denver Publishing Institute, briefly explaining some of the projects I’d worked on. This author, having already seen my website – which is forthright about my actual experience and includes a copy of my resume and my LinkedIn profile – knew that I’d started a freelance editing business, the reason he reached out to me. I proceeded to tell him that I was working on a book editing project for Ice Cube Press (leaving out the part that I was doing it pro-bono), and I can’t even remember what he said when I paused to sip my coffee, but I remember very distinctly how the tone in his voice drastically changed. He was seeking clarification about my limited experience. I knew then that he was no longer interested in pursuing me as his Copy Editor. Still I tried to proceed with words that might possibly convince him to give me a chance. I know I can do this just let me prove it.
All too quickly he interjected, “I’m sorry, I need somebody with book-length editing experience.”
And all too quickly my VIP opportunity was gone.
I know the perfect job will eventually come my way. (This conclusion comes much easier to my fingertips several days post-rejection.) And your perfect job will come your way, as well. Keep your eyes open and your chin up! Someday the perfect offer will come!
(Special thanks to Steve from Ice Cube Press for giving me a chance to gain experience doing what I love.)