They say if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere. Being in the belly of the beast myself for the past seven years or so, especially coming from the generation where the economy was at its worst, that statement could not be truer as millions of us had to develop a tenacious attitude like no other in order to overcome the pitfalls of what was going on and thrive on our own. [Read more…] about Trying to Get a Career in Manhattan? Here are Three Easy Steps
As a person who graduated from university in the heat of the recession (2008), I can safely say I am very familiar with an unsteady job market and making the most out of any opportunity I have come across.
After years of working in a few different positions within in recruitment and staffing, I finally landed my golden opportunity. One might ask, how did you get there and why did it take you so long?
Friends, I have applied thousands of times, went on a plethora of interviews, completed tons of job shadows, and attended numerous volunteer workshops and all I can really say is that the process is equivalent to that of dating. It takes patience. You have to find the right match for yourself and similarly you have to be a solid match for the company as well. This process where we figure it out involves asking the right questions during the interview and really getting to know the company and the folks who would be your team members.
And that goes without saying, there were some companies who knew right away if they wanted me or if they did not want me; and then there were companies who never responded. I used these obstacles and hurdles as motivation. In my previous job, it took instances of feeling hopeless, where I realized if I could gather the experience I need or want to gain for my next job in my current position, then I would be golden. Simple, right?
Hardly. This did not happen overnight.
1) Find your passion and inject it into your current position. If you can build a solid repertoire WHILE you have employment, you are creating the path that will lead you to your next opportunity.
- Attend volunteer workshops
- Volunteer on projects that push your boundaries and force you to try new things
- Apply to promotional positions
- Ask to shadow your boss or a top-notch employee who has the job that you want
- Don’t give up
2) Build an online presence and use it to assist you. If you are unfamiliar with Linkedin or Twitter or blogging, get your name out there in the social media circles within the fields you hold a particular interest.
- Linkedin is a professional networking super highway – use it to your advantage
- Show of your skills (presentations, photography, writing skills, video editing)
- Be bold and creative, it will show you like to push the limits
- Use social media correctly especially when it comes to talking about yourself. Braggarts are never fun to be around.
3) Talk the talk and walk the walk. Learn the lingo and understand why decisions are made a certain way.
4) Let people come to you. More often than not, new positions are offered to those who are not looking for a position/did not know the position existed or would never have considered themselves qualified. So, you’re probably wondering, how did they apply?
Internal employees or Recruiters will come to you if they see you have what it takes. The best ways to show off yourself is via social media in the form of presentations/blogging/tweeting/photography, etc.
5) Find your niche and stick with it! Good things come to those who are clear and patient.
On a more personal note, I was about to give up on my job search a month ago until I received an anonymous but personalized e-mail and a phone call about a position. It just so happened to be the jobs I just recently landed. I posted a presentation that I had created and inserted it into my profile. All it took was that presentation to lead me to 7 successful interviews and a new opportunity.
I cannot begin to thank those who have supported me, encouraged me and showed me that anything can happen especially when you push yourself out there and reach for what you want. Sure, you don’t always get it but it’s worth a shot.
Anyone can do that or get there. All it takes is some structure, time and patience. It will happen when you least expect but if you can stay focused and remember your deep passions, you will never go wrong.
Now that we are solidifying our resume and obtaining a thirst for a job search, we are ready to start reaching out to those around us and networking with them because every little bit of information that those in our network contain will continue adding up and go a long way for job searches and/or career advancement.
When all else fails in the land of unemployment or career miserableness, I highly recommend looking into that network of yours. Friends, colleagues or acquaintances may have seen us at our best and our worst, but they usually know us better than anyone. We need to start utilizing this power.
Chris, what network are you talking about? I don’t know anyone in Career Services at NYU? Well, friend, it is not the end of the world because thanks to the Internet we have the world at our finger tips. (yawn).
Networking is not about what you know; or what they know but it’s about WHO you know. Yeah, I know we have been hearing this a myriad of times before but let’s take a moment to begin thinking about it like this:
A) Do you still talk to your friends who you grew up with?
B) Did you hold a job in high school or college or university?
C) Did you do any extracurricular activities including sport; music; knitting; etc?
D) Where does your immediate and extended family work?
The list can go on and on but those are just some starting points for Networking.
The simple yet more challenging rule of networking is that networking is not using and abusing relationships or stalking friends via Social Media. Additionally, we must also not become lazy because know we have the resources for successful networking at hand. Nothing good ever came out of being lazy.
Despite what we may believe, we have all been accomplishing many things in our lives that have been exposing us to a large subset of individuals. Some of those folks can help us; guide us; or at least point us in the right direction. That is networking, friends.
Ingredients for Successful Networking:
- 1 computer or laptop or cell phone device with Internet access
- 1 Wifi internet connection
- Fully finished Linkedin Profile (SOCIAL Media aspect)
- Local paper or business section (In-person aspect)
- HOURS upon HOURS of time
- 1/2 cup mentality
- 1/2 cup of MOTIVATION
- 1/2 cup of communication skills
- 1/2 cup of patience
No, there is not a perfect recipe for networking but there are many ways to get out there and make something happen. In regards to making something happen, you’ll notice how I been including both in-person networking AND Social Media Networking. We mustn’t forget that both exist and that BOTH help a person land their next gig, not one or the other. Yes, there are instances of a person obtaining a position through Twitter. While this is a great venue for job applications, it is not always the best venue for networking.
You can find additional information on online AND offline networking groups via these websites:
- Linkedin Groups
- Company websites
- Local newspapers
Even if your networking involves a simple follow-up e-mail or voicemail message, it can be the small pebble that may just destroy that career Dam. Do not bombard a friend or employer with e-mails or phone calls because the last thing that any of us need is to be inundated with MORE e-mail, so Patience is our best friend.
Whether we like it or not, by enabling and accepting the very virtue of Patience will make networking that much more attainable.
When it comes to applying for a job, you have your resume all set, ready to go but as with most jobs you need that added boost: a cover letter.
For you Mario Fans out there, it is almost like you are about to fight Bowser & you need the Fire Power or Invincibility star to pop up so that you have an advantage.
Cover letters provide that boost and act as a resume translator for hiring managers. Yes, I realize that cover letters are not easy. They are not meant to be but they are there to help you with attaining your next position and not hurt your chances.
A wise colleague of mine once told me that, ‘cover letters show off the personality that does not exude itself from a resume’.
1. Be Concise. Filler is a killer. Case and point, do not write the romantic schpeal such as, ‘I like long walks on the beach, flying kites into the sunset’. However, DO reflect upon your achievements thus far and make the connection as to why you can go above and beyond any other candidate being considered for this position
Filler is a killer.
These words speak volumes to me as a recruiter and a person who plays a hand in the hiring process. If you cannot concisely describe why you are a great fit and what you can provide for the company that no one else can, you are not the best fit for the job. You did not prepare yourself for the cover letter. FAIL.
2. Show your personality. This does not mean you should lose your business sense and write unprofessionally, but your resume will reflect your experience but your cover letter reflects the examples and personality that is not represented on a resume. Bring that out in an appropriate manner.
3. Make the connection. Sometimes in life we have to reach out and take what we want or at least reach out and ASK for what we want. While it tough to do this make an attempt to explain why and how you can make a difference in this position for the company.
Do you know a person within the organization? Mention to that person you will be applying to the position and be sure to include this connection in your cover letter.
No, we do not need the entire length of history here, just a brief statement explaining the connection and importance 🙂
4. Research and review. Do some background research on the company and positions for which you are applying. If you do not know a single detail about the company, it makes it a lot harder to make the connection to the companies specific wants and needs for a position. Without knowing information about the company and their current events or recent news, it also makes you looks like a disinterested candidate during the job interview.
4. Adjust accordingly and honestly. Your resume AND your cover letter should be altered to reflect the position you are applying for regardless of who you know and how well you think you may know the position.
In terms of the changes, do not change/lie/or misrepresent information on your resume but DO alter your resume to reflect how your experience matches the specific information listed or required for the position. Sell yourself but in an honest manner 🙂
Each cover letter should be different and adjusted according to the jobs and companies for which you will be applying. While most of the time the jobs remain the same, there will be different reasons for why you apply each time and how you can help that company.
5. Avoid General Salutations. The days of ‘Dear Human Resources Manager’ and ‘Dear Staffing team’ are gone. Most jobs these days do not provide direct contact with hiring managers because most managers work with staffing agencies like (Adecco, Randstad and Manpower). BUT a large chunk of managers and human resources managers do have profiles on Linkedin and that could be a great resource for reaching out to them regarding a position.
If all else fails, you can call the company directly and ask who is hiring for the opportunity. While that is bold, it is a solid approach in sales and has worked since the dawn of time.
Go the extra step and find out that information. Go the distance, Hercules, go the distance.
Please, please let’s hear some stories about your favorite type of cover letter, or even better…what are your thoughts on VIDEO cover letters? They seem to be taking off quite a bit.
There used to be a time where a person would call about an open job opportunity, ask some job related questions, find out who to send their resume to and then BAM they would MAIL or FAX this information to the appropriate person.
Applying to jobs seems less stressful as there was not a suspiciously large resume blackhole but when can this start happening again? Any day now, any day. I’d love to apply to a job, hear back from a person and one who is not griping about not reaching a sales goal. That, friends, would be the ultimate job searching experience.
Alas, this is not 1982 and the Internet has vastly changed this process forever *dramatic interlude – dun dun DUN*
If you are wondering how to make this process a little less daunting let’s start by tackling your professional social media footprint. What the heck is that?
A professional social media footprint is the links; blog posts; Facebook entries; videos; created images and graphics that shape your professional persona for the rest of the world.
Your professional social media footprint is the most important thing in existence right now. It should pop into your mind every time you consider posting a scathing political rant ripping apart a friend or random online person (s)!
I am going to skip the lecturing on what to post and what is appropriate. While we are all adults, we still like to have our fun but does it always have to end up on the Internet? Unfortunately, if the FBI’s first place to find suspects of accused activity via Facebook, then well, I wonder where hiring managers begin to find their future employees.
[Just be smart. That’s all I ask.]
So this also goes for those of you who may be a photographer/DJ/or person of creative value who MAKES things. Be sure to protect and copyright your material before it ends up on some randos’ website. In fact, I highly recommend creating a website or webportal that will store this information with appropriate watermarks that successfully promote your brand. We will get to that in a later post.
After all that is accomplished, you are ready to start searching. Wait, we forgot a major cog of this whole process. The resume that you will use for the rest of the world to see.
As many of my managers have ever put to me, “there are two times in your life when you are perfect: when you are born and your resume”.
Make that resume count. Keep the resume filled with accomplishments from your jobs and not the responsibilities. Make your resume reflect what YOU have done for your company. And please, PLEASE have someone read it before posting it or sending it out to hiring managers.
Once this feat is accomplished, you are ready.
How to successfully obtain a job opportunity for 2013 and beyond:
1) Use your Audience to stand out. There is only ONE you. In order to get what you want out of your next job, you need to know what you want, and who you are competing with because these are the people who may or may not take your next opportunity right from your dinner plate. THIEVES!!!
If you are a graphic designer, be sure you are the most creative and witty graphic designer out there. You need a plethora of mixed material because I hate to burst that beautiful, bubble but there are so many of you out there that you have to make yourself standout.
2) Know the companies you want as an employer and research employee success stories.
Linkedin is a professional network that is becoming more and more widely used by companies and job seekers alike and is a great portal for employee recommendations; current job openings; News updates; company success stories; and tons of previous and current employees, who will give you a better idea of what the types of jobs at the company; the type of candidates they hired; etc.
Use it. Now. Create a profile, it’s FREE.
Glassdoor is popular company profile website that gives a deep look into the company personality and how it might fit with your own. There are some instances where companies include what it takes to survive an interview and even the kind of caliber they seek in employees.
3) Network. I cannot say this enough. Utilize professional networks such as Linkedin; Ziggs; and dare I even say it; Facebook. There are many people within your personal network who are out there in the job world who may or may not be able to assist you in finding the right person to talk to about a position you seek.
4) Do not burn bridges. Even if you are meeting people completely outside your professional network and field, you never know who you may encounter who can help you find that ultimate position.
5) Be Bold and reach out to hiring managers. I realize many people are doing this and it is much easier to do than ever before so – a word to the wise here – BUT it could be very helpful in finding out exactly what the top qualities are for the position and what the managers are seeking.
Even if you cannot have your dream job today, there are other positions out there that could propel you forward.
6) Do not give up. Job seeking in itself IS a JOB. Do not think twice that you can slack off and just expect a position to fall onto your laps. True, this MAY happen for some people but for most of us, life is about the effort you put in.
If all else fails, listen to a little Jason Mraz, he might pick you up when you are down.
Don’t Give Up on Us. Jason Mraz is WATCHING. (Source: Youtube)
What did you do to obtain that DREAM job or better yet, your NEXT job? Feel free to share your favorite job seeking memories. Don’t worry, we won’t be applying to YOUR job…although…on second thought 🙂 KIDDING!