Job search and Wellesley collegeTrust your gut. Early on in my search, I turned down a high-paying job because I got a creepy feeling from the interview. This was also less than a month into my job search, and I thought another offer would be around the corner. Shortly thereafter, a friend took a job at this organization and spent the several months telling me how great it was and how I blew a good opportunity. Other people told me I should have just taken it and kept looking for something else. I spent hours second-guessing my decision. In April, I heard that the organization was in deep financial trouble and was letting people go.

It’s really not about you. The most painful event of my job search was spending hours interviewing for a job that seemed to be a perfect fit, and then never receiving a call back about the outcome. The search firm took up days of my time and then sent me to see the hiring executive who was rude and criticized everything I said. After the interview I followed up with the search firm, and they never returned my calls. Several months later (after I was employed) this same search firm called me several time asking for referrals for searches as well as soliciting my business.

Weed out friends who make this all about them. During my four months of unemployment, I heard from friends who were supportive and encouraging. Others, who I had helped through job searches and other crises, either didn’t reach out at all or, if they did, they said things that I didn’t need to hear. Like how glad they were that they didn’t get laid off, or how lucky I was that I didn’t have children.

People hire candidates they know. Several of the jobs I interviewed for last fall were only recently filled. In almost every case, someone the hiring executive knew from a previous job was hired, despite a yearlong search process. Throughout my career, I have only gotten jobs through contacts— in retrospect, I wish I had just forgone the online applications and the headhunters and networked even more than I did.

The universe works on its own timetable. For the first three and half months of my job search, the job I ended up in didn’t exist. Enjoying the fall was not an option, since I didn’t have a crystal ball, but then I wouldn’t have learned all of these lessons.