No doubt, with students graduating from bachelor’s and master’s programs all over the US right now, the job market can look bleak for most fields. Even those who have a field with more opportunities available may fear that they will have a strong dislike for the first few positions of their career.
And several Christians, who have graduated years ago or decided not to finish a degree, may feel as though they’ve entered the trenches of the job search well into May and June.
Whether you’ve applied for 20 jobs or 200, check out these tips before you submit yet another application.
1. Trust God’s Timing
Nothing can worry a post-college graduate like student loans and no employment prospects. Parents may also heap on pressure to have a ready-to-go job by the time you decorate your mortarboard. You might pick up seven part-time jobs, as I have, while trying to pay bills. You might grow frustrated, as I did, after applying for the 100th job, and not even hearing back a “no” after following up, name dropping network connections, and having several peers and professionals review your cover letter and resume.
You may wonder why God hasn’t sent you a possible opportunity after you checked all the right boxes.
I want to encourage you to trust in God’s timing. He makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Although He operates on a very different schedule than our own, He executes His wonderful plan for us always on time. During this season of limbo and waiting, He is already doing amazing things. If you don’t see them now, you will in the future.
2. Know People in Scripture Hopped Jobs
Side hustles didn’t begin in this half of the century.
Throughout Scripture, people worked vastly different jobs that didn’t even seem to connect from one field to another. If you find yourself in a job that doesn’t relate to your degree or field of choice, or if you find God calling you to something you’d never imagined trying two years ago, don’t fret. Check out some of these Scriptural examples of job hoppers:
Paul: In addition to writing a decent chunk of the New Testament and carrying out the Great Commission as a missionary, Paul spent time in Corinth as a tentmaker (Acts 18:3).
Jesus: Jesus began his public ministry at 30. But before that, he would’ve picked up his father’s trade as a carpenter (Mark 6:3).
David: David started as a shepherd, watching over his family’s flock. He upgraded to playing an instrument to soothe King Saul’s temperament, but lost that job, thanks to Saul’s jealousy. David didn’t land his position as King until he’d reached the age of thirty, even though Samuel had anointed him for that specific job when he was in his teens.
Joseph: He began his early teens in the lowest entry job possible: as a slave in Egypt, but he worked as a servant of Potiphar, was promoted to his attendant, put in charge of those in his prison (Genesis 39), and he received the second-highest position in all of Egypt after he interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream (Genesis 41).
Daniel: Daniel had a lot of turnover when it came to bosses. Daniel started in the service of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1). When he interprets a disturbing dream, the king places him in charge of all the wise men (Daniel 2). Belshazzar appoints him as the third highest ruler in the kingdom (Daniel 5). And when Darius the Mede takes over, he places him over the entire kingdom (Daniel 6).
3. Work to the Best of Your Ability
You might feel a bit like Joseph, stuck in an unpaid internship or minimum wage job to pay the bills for the time being as you do your job search. Or, like Daniel, nothing seems to stick. You get a position in one place, and layoffs hit you. Or you might have been grafted into the family business, like Jesus, but you don’t want to stay in that job forever.
But we should take away one thing from the above examples, all of them did commendable work in whatever position God has placed him. Joseph, for instance, landed in prison after Potiphar’s wife wrongly accused him of attempting to rape her. At his lowest point, Joseph could’ve given up and resigned to a life as a prisoner. Yet, he impressed his warden so much, he received a position in the very cell that housed him. No one could’ve guessed that he would, from working in that jail, have a chance to move up to the highest position in Egypt.
Even if God plants you in a difficult position, make sure to carry out the tasks at hand to the best of your ability. Most people give a half-hearted effort in an entry level job because they wish to escape it as soon as possible. Don’t let that temptation overtake you. Work hard with the smaller position. Whoever can be trusted with a little position can be trusted with a greater one (Luke 16:10).
4. Christian First, Job Second
We can often get caught up in our job title that we forget our first responsibility and job on earth is to spread the good news about Jesus (Acts 1:4-8). Although we would love a great first job that pays well, we need to keep in mind that our jobsite is our mission field. If we work full-time at retail or a 9-to-5 at a desk, we have a calling to reach out to those around us. We have to give our dream jobs to God and allow ourselves to embrace His plan for our lives.
Whether we’ve landed a position that matches our talents to a T, or we’ve picked up several part-time jobs to help us stay afloat during our job searches, we should always seek God’s guidance.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 commands us to pray continually. Although we should communicate with God on a regular basis, whether in good times or difficult, we need to pray to Him during job application season.
Pray that God places us in a position where we can share the Gospel with our co-workers
Pray that God puts us in a job that best fits His will for our lives
Ask that God takes into consideration that talents and abilities He has given us
Ask, when job interview opportunities arrive, that God will give us the wisdom for how to answer the interview questions
Seek His guidance as to which positions to apply for
Ask for gratitude and peace during the periods of limbo, transition, unemployment, or in positions that are less-than-ideal
In addition to prayer, regularly engaging in Scripture every day can help Christians feels a sense of peace during this volatile period of life.