First Job After School? (Insert Emoji)!

When you start your job search after graduating from college or coding bootcamp or even graduate school, first thing first- manage your emotions and expectations.

fob attitude

  • Don’t be a jerk because everyone remembers when someone was a jerk to him/her.

Looking for a job is a job in itself; it takes time, efforts and dedication. It can be a grueling process from start to finish- filling out dozens or even hundreds of applications, waiting for a response, explaining yourself to strangers, going through the interviews, being rejected many times, hoping for and accepting an offer.

Remember, everyone goes through the same hurdles to land a job. You need to respect each employer’s requirements and processes whether you agree with them or not. Unfortunately, many companies’ recruiting systems are broken and entry-level candidates usually get the short end of the stick. Also, you are likely to be competing with dozen if not hundreds of applicants with similar background and qualifications. The circumstance may be challenging but it is the first test on your perseverance. Who told you it’s gonna be easy? :scream:

You need to be as professional as possible during the application and interview process. Do not show your frustration or desperation in any way to recruiters or interviewers. No need to take it personal when you are rejected; it simply is not the right timing or right company for you.

True professionals start managing their reputation before they hold the title. Employers look for candidates who can work under pressure with emotional intelligence. Compartmentalize your emotions and don’t be a jerk to people you interact with during your job search.

fob jessica

  • Patience is a (required) virtue and time is money. You either need patience and time or patience and money. Prepare for at least one of those options.

It will take a while for you to get an offer and finally get one that you actually want to accept (you may not be lucky enough to find one that you want for your first job but I’ll save that topic for another day). Of course, not everyone is in a good financial situation to be waiting for a perfect job.

Work with what you have as early as possible. You can decrease the time spent on job search after graduation by increasing the time spent on job preparation while you are in school. Know how much time and savings you have for job search and plan accordingly depending on the length of program you’re enrolled in. Start planting the seed and building your resume early. Way early. (P.S. Don’t listen to your academic adviser and pick any major randomly and take on student loans for no reason.)

Like most students, you probably don’t have savings to spend while looking for a job. Get as many internships as possible and start going to job fairs and talking to recruiters when you are a freshman. Connect with older cohort and alumni of your program because most alumni are willing to refer someone from their own alma mater, not to mention most would receive referral bonuses from their employers. :moneybag:

If you can’t afford to take internships for many are underpaid or unpaid, you can still make the best out of your part-time job in the service industry. Most people become good friends with their coworkers and you can leverage your network outside of school as well. There’s only six degrees of separation to almost everyone. Sometimes it’s not about who you know, it’s who knows you.

Fresh Off the Boat Eddie Huang life's heavy son

  • “But it’s not fair!” Oh, honey, nothing is fair in this world. Not a dang thing.

You will probably see some of your mediocre classmates get seemingly the perfect job at some fortune 500 company while you are still taking the never-ending online personality assessment for a random job that you happened to click on. Guarantee that there is at least one person at every company that will make you wonder “How did he/she get there?” “Why is he making way more money than me?” “How is she the manager?”

There will be times that you were told that you’re not qualified because of your lack of the experience and they promoted someone without any relevant skills to that position. There will always be somebody making more money than you doing the exact same thing (sometimes a lot less work) and somebody with more vacation time than you without accruing it. It makes you bitter and cynical and sad. :tears:

That’s not the point. Comparing yourself to others or your imaginary expectations will only kill you slowly. It is exhausting if you try to live a instagram-perfect life, a.k.a looking fabulous while working hard AND playing hard. You are your own audience and the only judge. You have a job, you get paid, and you deserve a good night’s sleep.

Be fair to yourself because the world is never going to a fair place for you or anyone else. Invest in your own growth and development and become a better version of yourself every day. Become more emotionally attractive because how you feel about yourself and how you make others feel are 100 times more powerful than what the eyes can see- your looks, salary or title. :heart:

 

First Job After School? (Insert Emoji)!

Sing Your Way To A New Job

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As a recruiter, I’ve read thousands of resumes, interviewed hundreds of candidates, and witnessed a few common job search mistakes. What could possibly be better to ring in the new year than singing along with me and learn how to increase your chance in upgrading your career in 2017?

♥ Call Me Maybe ♥ Hey, I just read your resume/ And this is crazy/ But where’s your number/ So I can call you, maybe?!

To get a call back from a company, it is extremely helpful to give your contact information (duh!): full name, email, phone number, address (local AND non-local if relocation is applicable for the position), personal website or online professional profile (if available).

It is okay to use your alias on your job application but make sure to include your full name for a professional job (unless you are Beyonce or Drake and I can see why you don’t need to). Please change your email sender name to your name listed on the resume as well. I get how Katy Brand used to be Katy Perry. But what confuses me the most is when I emailed Bruno Mars (name on application) and then received an email from Will Smith (email sender name). Eh?

Also, please explain why you apply for a job in Phoenix, AZ if you have lived and worked in Ann Arbor, MI for ten years. Are you open to relocate? Are you looking to work remotely? Most recruiters don’t have the psychic power to read minds even though mind-reading would be an awesome skill and not yet a resume buzzword (!).

No, a LinkedIn profile or an online portfolio such as github is not required unless requested by the company’s job listing. However, it is in your best interest to update and clean up all of your social profiles prior to your job search. Yes, 100k followers on Twitter is definitely impressive but your hating-on-your-company tweet probably won’t help you.

∞ Hello ∞ Hello from the other side/ I must have called a thousand times/ To tell you I’m ready to consider you for the job/ But when I call, you never seem to be home

“I’m available before 8am and after 5pm during the week and I’m open to speak any time on the weekend.” This is the most dreaded phone scheduling response for every recruiter. We are not trying to take you out for a date! Right, you are busy with a full-time job and so are we. Like anything worthy in life, landing a better job takes time, efforts and commitment. Time management is key to your success. Be ready to carve out some time in your regular schedule for calls with potential employers.

× Don’t Speak × I know just what you’re saying/ So please stop explaining/ Don’t tell me cause it may hurt you/ Don’t speak/ I know what you’re thinking/ I don’t need your reasons

When singing Karaoke, it is great to express your emotions and how you feel about the song. It isn’t just about the lyrics; it is how you make people feel with your performance. To impress your interviewer over the phone, emotion management is just as important as your answers. Job search is indeed one of the most stressful life events and many job seekers are in the market due to an unfortunate environmental factor such as lay-off, management change or toxic work culture. Regardless of what you have been through lately, employers are looking for people who are able to stay humble and positive, open to learn from the past, and excited about the future.

Bad things sometimes happen to good people; you can still present yourself with dignity and grace. I’m not asking you to talk like a robot because we are emotional beings and it is natural to show your feelings. Rigid and scripted answers to interview questions are just as deadly as lip-syncing in a live Karaoke show. Interviewers can spot a scripted answer and lose interest quickly. Be honest and genuine without spilling your frustration or hurt feelings when addressing your employment termination with past companies, your relationship with previous supervisors, or any change in career path. Your attitude and action towards adversities is what defines you, not what happened to you.

« Don’t Stop Believin’ » Don’t stop believin’/ Hold on to the interviewin’/ Opportunities, people/ Ohh-Ohh-Ohhhhhhhh

It usually takes about a month and sometimes up to three months to fill a skilled position. Sit tight and be patient. It is a process that may be very rewarding and life-changing!

 

→ I’m always hiring! Click here for open positions. I read every resume and email unlike your last recruiter (Ok, maybe not your last one, just the one(s) who ruined recruiter’s rep).  

Sing Your Way To A New Job

Try Knitting While You Wait

knitting

Nobody probably told you this before- one of the biggest pet peeves HR and recruiters have is candidate showing up too early for his/her time. We really hate it when you show up too early.

How early should you show up for your interview? While interviewers expect you to be on time, we don’t want you to show up too early. It is very likely we have meetings to go or work to do right before the scheduled interview.

Be prepared in advance for the travel time, considering general traffic condition and the exact interview location (what floor? what suite? security check-in needed? easy parking?). Managers expect you to arrive on time but you may arrive 5 minutes before the scheduled time. 10 minutes is good enough if you wish to use the bathroom to freshen up and calm your nerves. You are pushing the button if you decide to show up 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. 20 plus minutes before scheduled time? Please just sit in your car, read today’s news, play Candy Crush, meditate, or walk around in the neighborhood to find tidbits to chat about with the interviewers.

You normally wouldn’t show up 20 minutes early for your restaurant reservation, right? It’s even more uncomfortable for employers because we don’t usually have a bar for you to get a drink while you wait. Typically you won’t have the DMV experience where you have to wait a long time for your turn with skilled, non-volume positions. If you insist on showing up super early, expect to be left alone until your scheduled time.

I’m seriously thinking about giving unfinished sweaters to candidates who show up way early for their interviews. Yeah why don’t you try knitting while you wait?

Try Knitting While You Wait

When Recruiters Go Bad

Bored waiting iStockphoto.com:drewhadley

Yes, I’m a recruiter and I’m going to talk about those recruiters who give us a bad rap. Why? Because I love recruiting and it hurts me to continue seeing those who ruin the experience for all. Being a recruiter is fun because we have the power to make someone’s dream come true (or at least bring him/her closer to it). We make magic happen- the moment when we seal the deal between a great candidate and a satisfied employer. It’s all about creating and maintaining happy relationships.

As both the company advocate and talent advisor, why can’t many recruiters follow simple business etiquettes?

Recruiter is probably the only occupation that gets away with being flaky and rude because no candidate wants to be on a company’s bad side.

I bet you have experienced this scenario at least once in your professional life: applied to a job, talked to the recruiter & hiring manager on the phone, brought in for in-person interview, then silence. You called, you emailed. Silence. You called again, you emailed again. Silence. 3 months later, you’d be lucky if you get a canned response about the rejection.

A bad recruiter is like that guy/girl who never called again (or returned calls) after the first date, leaving you hanging, feeling all the negative emotions, and going through all the possible things that could’ve gone wrong in your head. Sadness.

We are all adults; we know how to handle rejections gracefully with our dignity intact. Just tell us the truth and we both can move on. Right?

I understand sometimes a recruiter has no control over the course of action. An interviewed candidate can be ‘put on the back burner’, ‘kept warm’, ‘circled back after we see more candidates’, or ‘second choice if number one doesn’t take our offer’. Complete silence for 3 months or for good is just not nice. Right?

There is almost no repercussion for a recruiter being flaky or rude.

It’s almost impossible for you to complain about anything to a company regarding their recruiting processes. Some candidates take their time to share their stories on Glassdoor, yet most employers dismiss the reviews assuming they all came from bitter, disgruntled, rejected candidates.

Again, I totally get how HR or Recruiting department is usually under-staff, under-budget and with the most ancient tools/software (if any at all) because HR is not a revenue generating function. This is one of the most ironic things about corporate America, we think “people are our biggest assets” but we spend minimal investment in treating talent right.

Unsubscribe marketing emails all you want, but you’re not likely to escape spam emails from bad recruiters. Most of them probably don’t even know what CAN-SPAM act is.

I receive about emails/inMails regularly for legitimate career opportunities that match my skills set and also for random jobs that match some keywords on my LinkedIn profile. Those random jobs include various engineering positions that I have no capability to hold whatsoever. It saddens me when recruiters don’t read resumes/profiles before they poach a passive candidate. It’s really sad, like 😦 x 10,000.

Selectively, I responded to some of the legitimate emails not because I was looking for a job, but to learn some market intel. After all, it is the best way to gain the insider’s view and industry trends from your fellow recruiters. And honestly, you never know what kind of opportunity you may miss until you hear about it.

Sadly, I also received poor treatment from recruiters. My most unpleasant experiences include the following: [1] When they rejected me as an active applicant and reached out to me as a passive candidate. {Why did you reject me in the first place? Hello?} [2] When they failed to reject me after interviewing me, and later tried to sell their services or products to me. {They just turned me from a candidate to a potential client without even consulting me first. WTH?} [3] When I responded to their poaching emails, they didn’t follow up but emailed me again two months later for the same job. {Now I know why that job was open for a year. Duh.}

It’s time for us to rethink recruiting. The system is broken. The process is broken.

We keep talking about this huge talent war and how we suffer from a massive talent shortage. How about starting treating candidates with respect? Adapt customer service and marketing strategy to create quality candidate experience. Similar to what the internet has done to the sales industry from a ‘Buyers Beware’ to a ‘Sellers Beware” world. We have to adapt the ‘Candidate Driven’ model soon away from the ‘Employer Driven’ standard.

My suggestions to break the vicious cycle and improve your candidate experience:

  • Hold your hiring team accountable for candidate experience, including the hiring manager, interviewing panel, and HR/recruiter. Ask your candidates to rate their experience on key performance indicators (KPIs) according to your talent acquisition strategy.
    • Email an automated survey link to every candidate after each phone and in-person interview.
    • Include a ‘unsubscribe’ link in each sourcing email. Track the unsubscribe rate, segment your candidate population, and create targeted job promos or candidate engagement campaigns.
  • Ask for candidate feedback regarding your current application process and applicant tracking system if any.
    • Add a survey link on your careers page or encourage candidates to talk about their experience on social media if applicable.
  • Be kind. Don’t be a jerk. Treat a candidate how you want to be treated.

P.S. Candidates, When a recruiter asks you to wait two weeks for a decision after an interview, please wait or tell them that you can’t wait that long. Also, please don’t hate on a recruiter when you are rejected in a timely manner after an interview. 99% of the time you just don’t match all of the hiring manager’s laundry list of requirements or some external factor happened to be against your odds. It’s not you, it’s them. Seriously.

When Recruiters Go Bad

Unplug and Make Your Career Resolutions

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It is amazing how we have grown so reliant on technology and how we consult an app before completing a simple task. We live in an era where distraction is allowed and even encouraged. How about giving yourself a break from all the distractions?

As you pause and reflect on the achievements and learnings in 2014, set aside some time to think about your career resolutions for 2015. Career planning requires a true ‘you’ moment without texts, emails, nonstop notifications, random googling, or yet another Youtube video. Trust me, you’ll have the chance to research online after you finish this exercise.

Whether you’re in transition, wanting a promotion, changing your career path, or simply happy in your current role, your career will thrive with mindful planning and execution. No one cares about your career like you do. In order to realize your potential, you have to set and own your goals. When you truly take advantage of the science of goals, you’ll get to where you want to be in no time.

When you’re ready to think long and hard, turn off your phone, tablet, and computer. Get a notebook (that’s made out of paper) and a pen. Go to a quiet room without interruptions from people or pets. Then, let your mind flow and start writing down your thoughts.

1. Know thyself. Your first step is to become more self-aware.

  • What are the differences between what you want and what you’re good at?
  • What are the differences between what drives you and what gives you satisfaction?
  • What are your values?

2. Ideas for 2015. Here comes the fun part.

  • What do you need to start, change, develop, grow, succeed, or retire at both micro and macro level?

3. Prioritization. Look at your ideas and focus on the most urgent and important matters that will affect your career. List items by urgency and importance for a better picture on what to do next.

  • Use the 10/10/10 rule by Suzy Welch to evaluate the impacts of each priority and write down your decided priorities.

How will you feel about the decision 10 minutes from now?

How about 10 months from now?

How about 10 years from now?

  • Compare your values and priorities. Identify and write down the differences between your values and priorities.

4. Reality check. It is only a dream until you make it happen.

  • Having measured the differences between what you want and what you’re able to do, between what drives you and what satisfies you, and between your values and those of your environments, are you able to overcome those differences?

If your answer is yes, proceed. If not, repeat the previous steps.

5. Closing the gaps. You’re almost there. You’ve identified the roadblocks to your success; now it’s time to finalize your 2015 career resolutions.

  • What are the resources (who and what) you need to overcome those differences?
  • What are the actions (where, when and how) you need to overcome those differences?

6. Showtime. Congrats, you just created the ultimate guide to achieve your career resolutions.

You can download a print-friendly worksheet via this link. Hope you enjoy this career planning exercise. Wish everyone a happy new year!

This article is an adaptation of Warren Bennis‘ four-question test for people seeking success.

Unplug and Make Your Career Resolutions

Modern Wage Slavery: Unpaid Internships

Unpaid internship is sadly an accepted form of employment in the US. Younger generations are paying a lot more for career preparation than ever before. “U.S. companies have been cutting money for training programs for decades, expecting schools and workers to pick up the slack. College students have to pay for school, training, and internships. What do employers do? They complain about talent shortage.

willpayforwork

Here are some empty promises from unpaid internships:

  • “You get college credits”: Yes, but interns may or may not get the ‘education’ or ‘experience’ that’s worth the price of those credits. They might as well take another elective course with greater rewards. Students are actually paying for unpaid internships_think about the costs of transportation, insurance, and lost wage.
  • “This internship may lead to a job”: That’s not an official job offer. And it is illegal for a company to use internship as a trial period. Why would they pay their interns in the future to do exactly the same thing when they can get away with hiring a new, unpaid intern? Even if an intern does land a job, s/he will probably soon discover the company’s lack of respect for employees in other areas or other unethical ways of cutting operating costs.
  • “Use it to build your resume”: Have you seen the increasing number of entry-level job postings that require ‘3-5 years of experience’? More and more companies are turning entry-level jobs into internships and advertising their professional jobs as entry-level positions. In fact, not every company and hiring manager will value an unpaid internship experience and the new graduate’s first salary offer may be significantly lower than the average because that’s not a real job’.
  • “It’s a great experience”: It really depends. Some companies offer structured and thoughtful internships where interns can gain real experience, including training, final deliverables, and networking opportunities with industry professionals. Some of them just ask interns to do whatever tasks that no one wants to do, a.k.a any administrative, tedious or manual tasks that require little intellectual power (It’s a different story when they’re paid to do those tasks. That’s called ‘part of the job’. ).

Here are three reasons we should fight against unpaid internships:

  • Unethical: Why would you work for free for 3 to 6 months for someone who’s making money out of you, possibly someone who you’ve never met and may never meet during the entire employment? And 99% of the time you won’t know their profits and where they spend the money. It doesn’t make sense. It is just wrong.
  • Unsustainable: With tuition hikes happening almost every year, students are struggling to keep both their brains and wallets full. Parents are picking up the tab so their children can get the experience they need for their career. If the student is not getting enough financial support for education and college expenses, s/he is very likely to get money via other means (a part-time job or loan) in order to stay self-sufficient during an unpaid internship. Higher education is the most viable way for us to sustain the knowledge economy. The last thing we need is to make it harder for students to get the education they need to grow our economy.
  • Unproductive: Even though many unpaid interns still work very hard to earn their stripes, an exploitative program like unpaid internship may not generate as much savings as expected for the employers. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. The hidden costs of morale, reputation, potential lawsuits, health issues will incur at the employer or the society’s expense.

Join the fight to end unpaid internships by supporting the Fair Pay Campaign!

Modern Wage Slavery: Unpaid Internships

What You Didn’t Know About Your Resume

resume_speaks

It is unfair that employers judge your knowledge, skills and ability on a piece of paper. On the other hand, it is scary for employers to hire someone based on the information on a piece of paper. Would you pay $100,000 for a piece of paper? No. So if you’re shooting for an annual salary of $100,000, better make sure your resume reads like it is worth $100,000 of investment with minimal foreseeing risks and high potential ROI.

Every recruiter knows. Some hiring managers say no to your resume even though you have the exact qualification as the job description.

Why?

“I don’t know about this guy. He’s bounced around too much. ”

“What school is that? I never heard of it.”

“Never got her degree? Nah.”

“He’s never worked in the industry. He’s never worked with (specific) software/system/program. We need someone with experience.”

Unemployed for months? I don’t know about that.”

“She lives too far. She’ll quit in a month.”

“He’s always worked at a small/medium/large organization; he won’t last here.”

You have to manage two things: risk and expectation. Job hunting is a lot like dating, you want to be a safe and attractive choice. By managing risk, you’re telling them why they should hire you over other candidates. By managing expectation, you’re tell them what they’re getting for their bucks.

Market yourself like a investment portfolio. First, you have to know your investors. Are they looking to get rich fast and move on to the next opportunity? Are they looking to let their money sit in the account for years to come? Here are some actions you may take to mitigate the obvious risks on your resume:

  1. Explain briefly about your employment gaps or presumed job hopping.
  2. Include relevant experience in targeted industry or projects even it was a pro bono gig for your family business or your church or your children’s school.
  3. Clarify any change or anything out of ordinary: relocation, change of career path, change of industry, job search after only one month into a new job, etc.
  4. Show the expected graduation date if you’re still in school and let them know if it’s a remote/part-time/evening program.
  5. Monitor your social media activities and profiles. Make sure your online professional information are up to date and either match or supplement your resume.

Second, you have to sell your investment mix. Just the right amount of everything that will satisfy the investors’ needs. Here comes the expectation management- make it look so good that they can smell the money just by reading it. Some actions you may consider to reflect or boost your market value:

  1. Quantify your duties, accomplishments, tasks, or knowledge (e.g. managed 10M annual budget and 5 direct reports, optimized conversion rate with email marketing campaigns by 123% within a year resulting in 10% increase in revenues, analyzed data of 2 million unique records with 500 variables, 800 hours of Coursera on open source coding, progressive career advancement in a well-respected company). Include a link to your personal website or portfolio (a must for creative positions) so employers can check out your work samples.
  2. Research about the company and list any relevant facts about your professional history that would resonate with the employer (e.g. worked on a major account that the employer is trying to get, implemented agile for a startup).
  3. Paint a picture of who you are so the employer can gauge your culture fit (e.g. hobbies, memberships, charities/causes).
  4. Tell a story about where you work(ed) and how you work(ed). (e.g. company mission, infrastructure and operations, on-site v.s remote v.s travel/ team v.s individual/ domestic v.s international).
  5. Showcase your learning agility, including any current training/courses and earned certificates/licenses. This is an indicator of your future efficacy. The only constant is change and employers are looking for people who are lifelong learners.

Lastly, do not lie on your resume. Yes, some people may get away with it. You? Probably not. Remember, there’s only six degrees of separation. People can find out a lot about you if they try. And you probably won’t enjoy the job you get from a fake resume because it is not who you are and what you want to do ultimately.

Once you get past the why and what, employers will figure out how to get you.

Good luck!

What You Didn’t Know About Your Resume