Zombie Job Search Survival Guide

Friday, October 12, 2012

October 31st is Halloween, but the month also featured the International Moment of Frustration Scream Day, Calgary's Annual Zombie Walk (1100+ people) and the return of The Walking Dead for a third season. So it seems like the perfect time to incorporate some of the undead into our blog writing.

In the movie Zombieland, the main character "Columbus" (Jesse Eisenberg) crafts several rules to surviving in a world filled with zombies. We figured many of these could be easily adapted for the equally scary reality of trying to find a new job.

So here are the Zombieland rules to your job search. Use these tips to successfully navigate your way to a new position and to also be prepared for the forthcoming zombie apocalypse.

Rule #1: Cardio
Zombies don't give up in their lust for blood, so outrunning them requires being in peak physical condition. In the same way, your job search is a marathon, not a sprint. Finding a new job is similar to having a job - it's hard work and requires a daily commitment to searching, networking and following up. It can be disheartening to apply for many jobs and not hear anything back, similar to running a mile and still having a pack of unliving fiends behind you. Have a plan and commit to doing your job search every day and you will eventually bust free from the pack.

Rule #2: Beware of Bathrooms
There aren't many ways to defend yourself from a zombie attack when you are caught with your pants down. Avoid the same fate when being contacted by an employer for an interview - do your homework! Nothing will impress an employer more at first contact then you knowing a lot about the organization you've applied to. With access to the internet and social media there is absolutely no reason to not be well informed about the company you are applying to. You can most likely even find a fair bit of professional information about the person who will be interviewing you. Use this information to 'Wow' the person contacting you and demonstrate your interest in the position and organization.

Rule #3: Know Your Way Out
You don't go into an abandoned mall or supermarket in a world full of the undead without having a game plan for escape. Similarly, once you been asked to come in for an interview, don't simply wing it. Getting bombarded by questions in an interview that you haven't  prepared for can be like getting caught in the soup aisle with a dozen zombies closing in. A simple question like, "Tell me about yourself?", might seem easy enough but can cause even the most confident to get tongue tied. Write out the questions you expect to face in advance and practice your responses. Ask a friend to give you a mock interview. Being well prepared will give you more confidence and allow you to think quickly for questions you may not have considered.

Rule #4: Double Tap
You've just drilled a zombie in the head with a baseball bat, you think it's game over, then a cold dead hand grabs your ankle as you walk away. Your survival depends on making sure those mindless creatures stay down. In your job search you might have just nailed your interview, but don't just walk away and expect the job. Interviewers may be talking to many candidates for an open position and it is possible to slip through the cracks in the process. A simple note that thanks the interviewer for their time, communicates your enthusiasm and makes note of the essential requirements of the job (and your ability to do them!) will go a long way. This will keep you in the forefront of the mind of the person hiring you.

Rule #5: Enjoy the Little Things.
Life in a zombie infested world can cause one to despair, live in constant anxiety, and feel terribly alone. Taking the time to enjoy the little things - like a Twinkie - can be cause for hope. Being out of work can cause the same feelings of despair. However, use your time off away from work to re-prioritize what is important to you and where you are headed in life. Career planning isn't simply about finding a job, but is a holistic process of evaluating who we are and what we want to accomplish. Self reflection may give you the direction, and hope, you need to continue on in your job search.


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