Always check your spam folder

The great recession wreaked havoc on my generation. It was the first time I seriously wished I was talented at math or passionate about lucrative careers such as law. It’s hard to eke out a living during a harsh recession, especially when you studied art and enjoy writing.

I still remember the day I applied to a job that seemed okay. It wasn’t going to be my dream job, but it was a godsend for me.

A store in Orange County wanted a full-time jewelry photographer. I remember taking my digital camera and taking photos for their “test.” They wanted me to photograph jewelry or shiny objects against black, white, and some other background.

I took the pictures and when I didn’t hear back from them I figured that they either didn’t like my pictures or chose another candidate.

A few weeks later I clicked on the “spam” tab on my email. The company had sent me an email asking for an interview just a few days after I had sent them my photos!

I got back to them and apologized. I explained that their email was in my spam and asked if they were still conducting interviews but they found someone qualified already.

It took me nearly a 1,5 years to find a full-time job after that incident. I’m a freelance writer now, and I also enjoy illustrations, collages, and photography (the pic above is mine!).

Freelance writing involves sending a lot of pitches and queries. I started checking my spam folder more often and have found approvals for pitches in there. At least three responses landed in my spam folder, but I was able to take advantage of them because I checked.

Maybe I can now see reality for what it is, but whether you’re freelancing or searching for a job, I recommend that you always check your spam or junk folder. This is especially true for people who are sending multiple applications per day.

That 2009 incident showed me that there are still small things we can do to claim the opportunities we deserve. I hope you start carefully checking through your email spam more often so you won’t miss out on potential opportunities just because they landed in the wrong inbox.

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