August 09, 2019
Happy Grad Project
August 01, 2019
Networking is vital to job search success. Networking can lead to referrals, identifying jobs that aren't yet posted, and securing informational interviews. They can also lead to future professional references.
These results can give you a competitive advantage and help you progress towards your career goal. Networking platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are tools that can help you effectively expand your network. Here's how...
SHOW MORE Show less
September 19, 2016
This post was written by Pamela Paterson, author of the Amazon bestseller, Get the Job: Optimize Your Resume for the Online Job Search on behalf of the Happy Grad Project. As a new grad, you may be eager to put yourself in the market, get a good job, and begin your career. But what’s the best strategy to achieve that? Related: The Perfect Recipe For A Great Personal Brand My answer, based on 20 years of helping people find work and writing an Amazon bestselling book on resumes, is to create a clear and compelling personal brand.
What's A Personal Brand?According to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” They are the words that are invoked when people think of you—your skills, values, and talents. Your brand is what people can expect from you. For example, I gave a lecture recently about personal brands to college students. I asked them to give me words that described their professors. Some said hardworking, quality, and committed. Others said disengaged, unprofessional, and unfriendly. I pointed out that all of their professors were qualified on paper, but some of them didn’t spend any effort to create a positive brand. If you lack tenure and are just entering the job market, you need to create a strong brand that tells employers why to hire you.
Developing Your BrandYour brand will tell employers why you are a perfect fit for the job and their company: how you meet their needs. Your brand must be evident in your resume and cover letter, as well as your online presence (when you Google yourself, what do you find?). Your brand must match the requirements in the company’s job posting, as well as the company values that you find on their website. As an aside, matching the job posting will also help you get through the company’s applicant tracking system, which is designed to screen out poor keyword matches. Through the job posting and website, and any other online searching you do (for example, of staff LinkedIn profiles), you’ll learn some general characteristics the company looks for in its employees. It could be people who can work in an aggressive, multiple-priority environment, or people who function best in a process-driven government organization. You’ll learn about the “personality” of the company. The closer your brand is to their personality, the better your chances of joining that company. Know that even companies in the same industry may have different personalities. For example, two accounting firms will not necessarily embrace the same values. A small, local accounting firm that helps clients file their taxes will have a stronger requirement for customer service than an auditor in a global accounting firm who doesn’t have any direct customer contact.
Strengthening Your BrandAlways live up to the promises of your brand. Imagine that your resume says you are a high-energy person who loves working in a fast-paced environment. Now, suppose HR calls you, and you answer the phone sounding half-asleep. Just like that, you’ve hurt your brand. To avoid the damage, answer the phone professionally at all times, even after normal working hours. If you do not have your resume and the company job posting in front of you, then ask HR when you can call back, then get organized. Read the employer’s website so you can orient yourself to match the employer’s brand, and know what they expect from your brand.
Brands Develop Over TimeThe more experience you get, the more opportunity you have to create and reinforce your brand because you will have a track record that employers can rely on. Follow these tips to develop a better brand:
- Honor your commitments. When you say you will complete a job, then do it.
- Always deliver the best work. Your results from previous jobs will follow you to the next one. Make sure you always deliver top results.
- Be ethical. When people know they can trust you, they will present you with more opportunities.
- Get LinkedIn testimonials. Let other people do the talking for you. What’s more believable: self-praise or other people detailing your accomplishments?
- Build an online presence. Get a LinkedIn account for starters. Share your knowledge in online discussions and give to your network. Don’t do anything online your grandma wouldn’t be proud of.
Get Started NowTake some time to sit down and assess what you have to offer. Ask yourself such questions as:
- What are my best skills?
- What can I do better than most people?
- Where do I get my best results?
- What compliments do I receive?
- What does the job market and employers ask for that I have?
Congratulations. You’ll be graduating from college soon and you’ll have the chance to dazzle the world with your knowledge, skills, and talent. First, though, you’re going to have to know how to nail a job interview. Related: 5 Ways To Recover From A Bad Job Interview By this point in time, you’ve probably heard or read a lot about how to navigate an interview. There are some smart tips out there. You can also glean important guidelines from your college career center and, yes, even from your parents. But keep in mind that most of the info people provide tends to focus only on the first 7/8ths of an interview. If you want a job offer, you need to know how to excel at that last 1/8th, too.
SHOW MORE Show less
Networking is awkward – period. I used to stand around tabletops with resumes and home-printed business cards in my shiny new “work bag," eager to find just one person to connect with that would lead me to my first job. I had to convince myself not to walk out of almost every event I attended. I knew there was this thing called networking and I needed to do it if I wanted to secure a job. I just didn’t know how to do it or that it involved more than asking for employment. Related: 5 Quick Tips For More Confident Networking Like you, I thought I earned my right to have a career. I went to college, got good grades, and stayed out of trouble. As a result of my hard work, I deserved a job - a good paying, fun, brag-about-the-position kind of job. I graduated magna cum laude, completed an internship, and was involved in leadership activities. I did college “right,” but I was still unemployed after graduation. I faced the harsh reality head on that my degree did not entitle me to a job. So, there I was, “networking.” Or so I thought. Social media has completely refined “networking” and it's easier than you think. It’s something you are doing already and you're probably missing awesome opportunities right in front of you! So, it’s not that you don’t know how to network. In fact, you are a pro at networking. Every time you accept a friend, follower, or connection, the “net worth” in your network increases dramatically! You just need to activate your network. There is a theory called the Six Degrees of Separation, developed by Frigyes Karinthy. The theory suggests that we are only six introductions away from anyone else in the world. Think about it, right now you are six introductions away from your first job. That sure sounds a heck of a lot better than applying to hundred more jobs!
SHOW MORE Show less
This article was written by Fred Cook, author of Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO, on behalf of the Happy Grad Project. This year, 3.2 million US students will graduate from college. 85% will move back home. 22% won't be able to get a job. Of those who are lucky enough to find employment, more than half will work as waitresses and baristas. Related: 3 Ways To Avoid A Minimum Wage Job After College To make matters worse, companies are more selective than ever in choosing new recruits. In this challenging economic environment, they’re looking for candidates who bring new perspectives, ideas, and skills that will help them navigate a rapidly changing global marketplace. The competition for these coveted jobs has never been more intense and the applicants have never been more unprepared. Anyone hoping to succeed in this job market needs courage. Courage to try new things. Courage to ask questions. Courage to break the rules. And, most of all, courage to improvise.
Expose YourselfPeople entering the business world today are a commodity. They’ve gone to the same schools, taken the same courses, read the same books, and watched the same movies. Meanwhile, companies like mine are desperately seeking fresh minds to help them navigate massive cultural and technological changes. Where are they going to find them? Growing up in a small town in southern Indiana, I led the middle-class life of Beaver Cleaver, until I was kicked off the high school tennis team. Then, my real education began. I replaced Harrison High School athletics with Arc Lanes, a modern entertainment mecca featuring 15 pool tables, where a faculty of dropouts and derelicts with names like Red Dog, Baby Pod, and Fat Beckham introduced me to a new curriculum of hustling, drinking, smoking, cruising, fighting, and sex. (I mostly audited this last class.) You need to expose yourself. Think of your life as a big magazine rack. When you’re standing in front of it deciding what to choose, resist the normal impulse to reach for People or Cosmopolitan. Instead, grab a copy of Inked, Guns and Ammo, or Bass Fisherman. Apply the same approach to movies, books and people. When you’re looking for your first job, you’ll benefit from exploring unusual ideas and engaging unconventional individuals.
Ask the CaptainKnocking on a captain's door opened a new world for me. While my contemporaries were graduating from college, I talked my way into a job as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker bound for Asian destinations I’d never imagined. In your career, you will encounter "ships" that can transport you to unexpected places. You just have to figure out how to ask the captain. Senior executives are intimidating to those just starting out. But they’re the ones who can have a real impact on your career. Stalk them in the hallways. Corner them at events. Drill them with smart questions. Ask for their help. If you want to be a captain tomorrow, you should start by asking one today.
Guide a TourMany job hunters worry they lack the necessary credentials. This is a legitimate fear, but it can be overcome. When you reach the top, everything you say and do will be scrutinized by the press and the public. Luckily, on the way up nobody pays much attention, which allows those of us who lack the standard business prerequisites to improvise. Absence of experience didn’t inhibit my pursuit of a career in the travel industry. I created a resume that reshaped my exploits as a cabin boy, doorman, and chauffeur to land a job as a tour guide. Then, I packed my suitcase with a dozen guidebooks about stops on our trip that I’d never visited. I discovered, with a little preparation and a lot of creativity, I could convince people of almost anything. Most people think improvising means making things up. I prefer a different definition—creating something special from whatever ordinary ingredients happen to be available. Improvisation is a mandatory business skill, because being a graduate is a lot like being a tour guide who doesn't know where he’s going.
Make the RulesMost executives rise to the top by adapting to their company’s culture, meeting quarterly financial goals, and not getting fired. They follow a well-worn path that includes stops at an Ivy League college, Brooks Brothers, the BMW dealer, and the local country club. How does someone from outside the corporate fraternity get accepted into this exclusive pledge class? It took me 15 years to figure that out. At age 36, when I landed my first PR agency job, I volunteered for every boring assignment. Once I made myself indispensible, instead of asking for promotions, I asked for opportunities—on other accounts, in other business units, in other offices and, as a last resort, in other companies. Every offer helped me advance to the next level until I eventually became CEO. The business world is full of rules. Some succeed by following them, others by breaking them. You have to find the right balance. If you break all the rules, you may frighten people. But if you make your own rules, they may not notice.
Be BraveIt takes courage to improvise. In the beginning, you may feel shy, anxious, and intimidated, like I did. But every time you try something new you gain a little more confidence. Start by reading a different magazine, watching a foreign film or eating lamb vindaloo. Next, send a thoughtful email to your boss or an outrageous resume to a company you’re dying to work for. Then, launch your own social network. Life is a sum total of your experiences, not your promotions. Make it special.
Download Your FREE E-Book!Graduating? Know someone who is? As a perk of the Happy Grad Project, we're offering a FREE download of our e-book, "The Recent Grad's Guide To Getting A Job." This e-book is JAM-PACKED with tips from experts and recruiters, videos, and additional help. Don't put off your job search any longer - Download our e-book today and get started! Photo Credit: Shutterstock
This post was written by Jenny Yerrick Martin, author of Breaking Into The Biz: The Insider's Guide to Launching An Entertainment Industry Career, on behalf of the Happy Grad Project. The very first blog post I wrote for my entertainment career site, Your Industry Insider, was called “The Art of Getting the Part.” It was about looking right for the job when you went on interviews, comparing that in-person experience to acting auditions. Related: How To Pay The Bills While Pursuing Your Dream Career “When actors go to casting sessions,” I wrote, “everything they do is geared toward convincing the casting director that they are perfect for the part. If they’re going in to play a street tough on one of those countless crime dramas on the air these days, they dress down, in leather jacket and jeans maybe, and slump and scowl in the waiting area outside the audition room. For the part of the town slut, the actress struts in wearing a micro-mini and halter top and gives a suggestive sidelong glance at the casting intern with the clipboard.”