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

woman-sitting-at-table-and-using-laptop-with-tea-cup-in-background

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

Infographic: Ace Your Candidate Experience With Interactive Recruiting

In a world of talent shortage, passive candidates and LinkedIn inMails with low response rate, it is obvious that we are in a candidate-drive market. However, many employers are slow to adapt to the trend. For example, many HR & recruiting professionals don’t track any meaningful data beyond the old-school recruiting metrics such as time to fill and cost per hire.

With all the talks about candidate experience, the so-called talent strategies and recruiting technology are still reactive and limited by the design of applicant tracking systems.

How do we move away from reactive recruiting to interactive recruiting? How do we reverse the impersonal, transactional job search experience via applicant tracking system? How do we leverage the power of software without discouraging meaningful conversations & interactions? We know the recruiting process is broken and frustrating.

See the infographic and my proposal below on how to ace your candidate experience and apply recruiting analytics to your talent acquisition strategy.

Reactive VS Interactive Recruiting- Candidate Experience by Recruiter's Digest

  • Attract talent with great contents, UI/UX, & interactions.

First, find out if your branded, career-related pages are attractive to potential candidates. Second, update and create landing pages with great UI/UX design. Last, encourage conversations and interactions between recruiters and general visitors, including candidates, referrers, and brand followers.

  • Are your career-related contents relevant, educational or entertaining, and timely?
  • Are those career-related pages easy to find, use and navigate?
  • Do you encourage conversations and interactions on and beyond those pages?
  • Which websites or pages refer the most qualified candidates and the most loyal brand advocates to your site?
  • How friendly or unfriendly is your applicant process? Does it take more than 30 minutes?
  • Convert page visitors into candidates and/or referrers and/or followers.

Depending on the nature of your business, your website may attract mostly customers, vendors, partners or even competitors. However, it is crucial to optimize your branded pages and convert your visitors into your brand advocates on every degree possible: a brand follower on social media, a job referrer, and/or a candidate. Make it easy for people to apply for jobs, refer someone for a job, share a job with others, and follow your brand on social media and beyond.

  • How many people visited your page and became a candidate and/or referrer and/or follower on social media?
  • How many people clicked to apply for a job but never finished the application?
  • Do you send follow-up or reminder emails to candidates who abandoned the application?
  • Do you drive the target audience to visit and share your career-related pages?
  • Do you have call-to-action buttons for site visitors to apply for jobs, subscribe to job alerts, or follow your company on social media & niche sites?
  • Engage target communities with integrated campaigns.

People are tired of relentless cold calls and unsolicited emails about job openings. Employers are trying hard to connect with potential candidates by talking at them, not having an open conversation in a timely manner. Engage talent with activities, conversations, causes, and events that matter to them such as healthy contests, charity or community outreach, and purpose-driven sponsorships.

  • Do you actively monitor and manage your employer brand with open communications & public relations efforts?
  • Do you address candidate’s feedback and questions with respect and transparency?
  • Do you evaluate, validate and improve your recruiting campaigns and processes based on data?
  • Do you integrate your recruiting campaigns on multiple platforms and websites?
  • Do you know what each candidate segment is looking for and customize your recruiting campaign for each group?

Please share your thoughts and continue the discussion on candidate experience! Together, we can make the candidate experience better.

Infographic: Ace Your Candidate Experience With Interactive Recruiting

Idiot’s Guide To LinkedIn

If you’re one of the general users (not in recruiting or sales) who only spend five minutes per week on LinkedIn, you probably get frustrated or lost on the site one of these days. You’re not alone. As a recruiter, I see a lot of mistakes people make when it comes to using LinkedIn. Since there are tons of articles on how to improve your profile, I won’t bore you with another list of recommendations.

Today, I’m here to guide you through the most important things you need to know as a general user to:

  • Avoid embarrassing yourself or confusing others via LinkedIn
  • Protect your privacy and control visibility of your LinkedIn activities
  • Promote your personal brand by acting ethically and professionally on LinkedIn

Where is the link to my public profile?

Yes, I think you need to know your LinkedIn public profile URL, especially as a job

seeker. You’ll be surprised how many times people submit the generic home page link as

their profile link along with their job applications (see picture).

Why am I connected to someone automatically after I looked him/her up?

Yes, you may have accidentally sent an invitation to your ex. This is a careless user interface problem. LinkedIn’s design is optimized for call-to-action. When you look someone up on LinkedIn, click on his/he name to view the profile instead of clicking on the bright blue button ‘Connect’. I know it’s very tempting to click on the big bright blue button.

See picture below for a search example on Jason Fried, one of my favorite authors.

I’m looking for a job. How do I make sure (1) recruiters and employers can find me easily (2) my current employer won’t know that I’m leaving?

1.1 Be very active on LinkedIn; complete your profile and include your contact info.

Log in, edit your profile, add more connections, post daily updates, and join group discussions. Your profile will show up as one of the top results or will be sent to a recruiter/sourcer’s inbox directly.

1.2 Insert keywords such as ‘looking for’, ‘open to’, ‘willing’, ‘available’, ‘immediately’, ‘relocate’, or ‘relocation’ somewhere in your profile.

A good recruiter/sourcer use keywords to find both active and passive candidates who may be open to new opportunities. Insert those keywords discreetly if you want to keep your job search private.

1.3 Keep your privacy and communication settings open.

LinkedIn has a preference menu for what type of messages you’re willing to receive from other LinkedIn users. Make sure your setting says that you’re open to messages that pertain to ‘Career Opportunities’.

1.4 Find the recruiter/hiring manager- view and/or connect with them.

If you don’t feel like it’s appropriate to send an invitation, simply view their profiles. People are curious by nature. Most people want to know who viewed their profiles.

1.5 Follow the target companies or join their groups.

It’s easier for corporate recruiters to find you if you are already their follower or a group member.

2.0 Look for a job privately without getting yourself in trouble.


I’m sick of getting messages from tireless recruiters/ salespeople. How can I stop them?

Don’t share your contact information openly.

Yes, they would still find some other way to reach you but you can make it harder for them to spam you. After all, it is a social networking site. If you don’t want people contacting you, don’t share your contact information.

Change your communications setting.

Select what type of LinkedIn messages you’ll receive.

State your interest- be specific.

It’s disturbing that not every recruiter or salesperson will read your profile before they contact you. That being said, you can emphasize your primary interest and preference in your summary to dissuade those who actually read your profile from spamming you.

Simply tell them to stop.

Some spams allow you to unsubscribe easily. If that’s not the case, tell them you don’t want to receive any more communication in any form.

Someone connected with me because she was interested in working for my company. I don’t think my company plans to hire her but she certainly fits one of our buyer personas. Can I add her email to our marketing list?

No. First, you’ll need her formal consent to become a subscriber. Second, you’re a jerk for asking her to buy your product after excluding her as a candidate for your open position. Third, you can’t abuse the relationship just because you’re her LinkedIn connection. You’ll probably ruin the relationship.

I reached out to someone for an advice/consulting gig/recommendation/introduction. He responded to my request. What do I do next?

Thank him for his response even if you don’t find the piece of information helpful or there’s no direct positive results from his response. If you care about building meaningful, lasting professional relationships, be appreciative when people respond to your inquiries.

Wow, Jane Doe from XYZ company is looking hot. Can I message her to comment on her beauty and ask her out?

No. You’re being creepy. Save your online dating activities for other appropriate platforms.

Idiot’s Guide To LinkedIn

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

To LinkedIn or Not?

Linkedin-Job-Search

LinkedIn is one of those things that you either want to do it right or not at all.

The benefits of having an All-Star LinkedIn profile:

  • You can be easily contacted by your network (and beyond) for any of the following:
    • career opportunities
    • job inquiries
    • expertise requests
    • reference requests
    • getting back in touch
    • consulting offers
    • business deals

An increasingly popular trend,  employers and recruiters are checking your social media profiles as part of their informal screening processes, especially your LinkedIn profile.

Busy recruiters don’t check every single applicant’s LinkedIn profile if the resume shows all three ingredients of the Holy Trinity. As a job seeker with a killer resume, you really don’t need a LinkedIn profile when you don’t have time or don’t want to make time for managing yet another social media account. My role of thumb as a recruiter for checking an applicant’s profile is to validate one or more of the following:

  • Missing Contact Information:
    • No kidding. I’ve received many resumes without their phone number and email address. Most of the time I ignore them for obvious reasons but I do try to reach out to some that look promising.
  • Omitted Job History:
    • This is more commonly seen with experienced professionals with more than 15 years of experience. Sometimes candidates try to shorten the length of the resume OR avoid possible age discrimination. My recommendation is to include all but keep the older, irrelevant job history short such as listing companies, years and titles only. If you omit most of your work history without an explanation, it would look suspicious. “How did s/he have all these experiences and titles within 10 years?” “Does s/he own the company?”

Also, the employer will find out about your age eventually- you wouldn’t want to work for an employer who would devalue your worth based on your age, would you? So why waste your time appearing to be ‘younger’ and to be disappointed or dismissed or mistreated later? If you worry about being excluded due to the possible compensation concerns (“Oh s/he’s definitely too expensive for this role with 20 years of experience”), it wouldn’t hurt to include your salary history and expectations along with your explanation such as looking for a career change or enjoying more hands-on projects.

Try to include the reasons for gaps in employment history if possible and appropriate. If you went back to school full-time, state it. If you took a sabbatical, say it. Any legitimate reason without disclosing any or much of your protected class.

  • Omitted Graduation Year:
    • Again, this is more commonly seen with experienced professionals. No point to hide and it may create some confusion, “Did s/he graduate?” “Is s/he still in school? (We’re looking for graduates only!)” “What year is s/he? (We’re looking for juniors/seniors only for those internships!)”
  • Conflicting Location:
    • Please explain in your resume if (1) your current work location is nowhere close to your home address, (2) the position you’re applying is nowhere close to your current home address, or (3) the location of your current education institute is nowhere close to your current home address or the position you’re applying (without explanations, I often assume it’s an online program or the person is passively pursuing the degree while working full-time).
  • “Do I know this person?” “Oh wait… Bob from Accounting used to work for the same employer during the time when the person was there. Let me check if they know each other.” “Wow…she’s the organizer of a networking group that my friend always goes to. Let me check if my friend knows her.”
    • I can’t stress more about the importance of maintaining your professional reputations. Trust me- people remember things about you, especially when you’re stellar or horrible. I hope you’re the former.
  • Missing Target Skills or Results
    • I check the profile to validate the stated experience in the resume when the applicant didn’t include the target skills (e.g. specific software or technical skills) or results (e.g. executed marketing campaigns with 10 million budget and gained 5% market share in the US healthcare industry within a year)
  • Missing (Required) Work Samples or Portfolio
    • It’s an unspoken rule that you should have your own website(s) or links to showcase your work for certain occupations such as designers or developers.
  • Missing Information that We Asked You to Include in the Resume
    • For example: Your resume looks great but we have ten facilities with three shifts in the same city. You don’t answer your phone and we really need to know (or guess) what shift or location you would like to work. 
  • Any Other Discrepancy

Takeaway for all: invest your time in building both your own professional portfolio and networks either offline or online.

Good luck!

To LinkedIn or Not?