Today on the blog I’m discussing one of many requested professional topics: tips on looking for a new job! Whether you’re still in college going through the recruiting process, a recent college grad, or post-grad looking to change directions, I hope that I can provide some insight on the subject! I’m sharing all my personal thoughts, which I encourage you to take with a grain of salt and tailor to your particular situation!
- Utilize LinkedIn. The best way for a recruiter to find you is by searching LinkedIn! Update your location, create a compelling profile (I can write a blog post on this if y’all want!) and be active with your network. Like and share articles, follow companies that you might be interested in, and don’t be afraid to inMail a recruiter directly!
- Attend as many career fairs as possible. If you’re lucky enough to still be in college, it’s IMPERATIVE that you attend all of the available job fairs! They’re awkward, nerve-wracking, and uncomfortable; but putting your face, name and resume in front of employers is crucial. (Let me know if you want a post on acing a career fair!) Print out a bunch of copies of your resume, and always take a recruiter’s business card so you can follow up with a thoughtful thank you email afterwards.
- Choose an industry. I wish that someone had told my friends and I this when I was in college. Thankfully, I lucked out and ended up in an industry that I’m interested in, that I’m proud of, and that provides job growth. However, I do have a lot of friends who are stuck in jobs/industries that they are unhappy with. Be careful not to pigeon-hole yourself! For instance, it would be hard for you to switch jobs from the retail/fashion industry to the tech industry because your experience won’t be AS valuable as someone else’s might be. Your barrier to entry will be a lot higher! (That’s not to say it can’t be done!!) But there are very few people that know exactly what they want to do/be when they graduate at the age of 22. So picking an industry that you think you’d excel in and enjoy is a good place to start. Another good tip here would be to follow industry thought leaders on LinkedIn and Twitter. Reading up on recent trends in the field will help you during interviews and when deciding what direction to go with your career! For example, if you are thinking about working in tech you would want to stay informed on what executives such as Sundar Pichai, Larry Page, Mark Hurd, Safra Catz, Ginni Rometty, Satya Nadella, Tim Cook, Mark Benioff, etc. are saying about industry trends.
- Be realistic with your goals. Let’s be real- most of us aren’t going to achieve our “dream job” straight out of college. I’d love to be the CMO of Neiman Marcus one day or a director of brand management.. but I had to start somewhere! Not all of us can be buyers for Nordstrom or project managers at Google right away! It takes a lot of hard work to get to the top. Try not to be discouraged by a true entry level job. Ask yourself the tough questions: am I willing to move for this job? Am I willing to accept a lower salary at a company where I will enjoy my work? Am I willing to take this entry position if it can guarantee me a segway to the position I really want? Asking a hiring manager or current employee about career trajectory plans is a great way to gauge how you can grow within a company.
- Ask about the company culture. Were you the type of person that thrived at a large university or do you prefer the one on one attention of a small classroom? Are you okay with being a number or do you want to be individually recognized for your contributions? Do you want to work for a conservative company where you’ll wear a suit and sit in a cubicle, or do you want to work at a place with an open floor plan where people wear hoodies all day long? ALWAYS ask a recruiter or hiring manager about company culture! What kind of team building activities do they do? What are the people like? If you’re going to be at this place 40+ hours a week, you want to feel comfortable there!
- Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs outside of your “years of experience” range. I’m currently working at a job that requires 5-8 years of experience.. and I started it with just two! You never know what the person hiring may see in your resume that could be valuable to their company. Also, interviewing for a position that’s slightly out of your comfort zone is great practice for more difficult interviews in the future!
- Research the company. How much do you know about this company? Did their stock do well this year? Are they privately held? Who’s the CEO? Not only will you probably be asked in an interview what you know about the company, but you really do want to get a sense of who you’re going to be working for. You want to (hopefully!) be proud of your work. And you want job stability. Check if the company has been in the news lately, and try to make sense of their latest quarterly reports if they’re available. You’ll learn something new every time!
- Take advantage of websites such as Monster, Glassdoor, and Indeed.com. If you’re still in college, you most likely have a job-posting site through the career services program at your school! Post-grad.. job searching gets a little trickier! If I were ever to look for a new job, I would definitely start with Indeed. You can filter by location, salary estimates, job experience level, etc. I also use Glassdoor to see what the average salary is for a position I’m curious about, and to see what current employees are saying about the company. Monster allows you to job search as well, but also has a plethora of career services such as a blog, interview tips, resume advice, resume writing services, etc. If you’re in college, you can use these sites to supplement the applications you’re already filling out through your career services platform.
- Use your network. If you have a friend, neighbor, old colleague, family friend, or family member that works in an industry/company that you’re interested in, reach out!! The worst thing they can say to you is, “Sorry we’re not hiring right now,” and then you’re onto the next prospect. Many old friends/classmates/acquaintances reach out through LinkedIn asking about open positions at my company. I would do the same if I were looking for a new job as well! You can always ask them to send you a contact within HR/recruiting so that you can personally introduce yourself.
Lastly, a quick note on this outfit! Fall is in full swing and it’s that time of year where college students are interviewing! Substituting a turtleneck for a collared shirt is a great, comfy alternative for a business professional look. (Collared shirts are so stiff! Ugh!). I love my fitted black pant suit and have listed a bunch of affordable options for you below. A less pricey version of my suede pumps can be found here (under $50) or here (under $90).
Let me know if you have anything to add/if this was helpful to you! Or leave a comment below if you have any experience you’d like to share with someone on the job hunt!
Photograhy: Ashley Kay Photography
Pant Suit- Express (Options here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here); Striped turtleneck- H&M (options here, here, and here); Pumps- Christian Louboutin (more sizes here, order a half size up); Keyholder- Henri Bendel (options here, here, and here); Lipstick- Estee Lauder Barely Nude Creme