Looking for a new job can be a long and demoralizing process. We’ve all gotten our hopes up only to have them dashed because we were “just not what they were looking for.” For me, the worst job interview I ever had was actually quite recent and is still emblazoned in my head. I learned quickly that I needed a heavy polish of sophistication and quick.
I have always been a shy, awkward introvert when meeting people face to face, but on paper I am a fireball. When it comes to physical presentation and oral communication, I have always struggled. My chipped nails, mussed hair and thrown together ensembles speak for themselves.
As a part-time teacher and freelance writer, I have been mostly a stay-at-home mom for the last ten years, and that lack of experience has made my search for full-time work difficult. To just get my foot in the door somewhere, I started interviewing with temp agencies geared for creative professionals. One hiring manager really made me look at myself with a critical eye.
I should have known the interview was doomed when she was annoyed because I had arrived early. My next faux paus was not bringing a copy of my resume. Now I know that is a basic tenant of an interview, but I had emailed her a copy along with writing samples the day before so I thought I would be okay. Foolish me.
She almost wouldn’t have anything to do with me at that point. I had to coax her into printing out a copy of my resume so we could go over it. The rest of the interview was painfully awkward because I knew she had already mentally dismissed me. I could tell she thought my binder of writing samples was not professional enough, and she had a lot of critiques about my resume. Feeling her disdain made me stumble through my answers.
The highlight of the interview was at the end when I couldn’t open the front door to leave. I was trying to push instead of pull open the door and she had to help me. With her last look of derision, my mortification was complete, but that only made me determined. I went home and took her advice on an online writing portfolio and how to streamline my resume and the next job interview was a success. Never give up.