Monster

Early on in my job search, I put my resume on Monster – I knew it wasn’t a great resource, but it seemed like a logical step. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have my information on one more job board. Who knows? I might even get a lucky phone call.

Turns out, from Monster alone, I have received no less than twenty “job offers” in the last few months. None of them were careers I would consider accepting – all of them were 100% commission based, and at least half of them claimed to have found me through a “targeted search.” That’s weird… I don’t remember putting “I sell health insurance” on my resume. Let me check it.

Nope, the words health + insurance are nowhere to be found.

While these emails are annoying and spammy, they can serve as a little pick me up in the midst of a discouraging job search. Even though I know these aren’t positions I am willing to get into, or have any interest in, it’s kind of nice hearing that I’ve been “selected” to sell an organization’s prized product.

Guess that’s why my resume is still on Monster somewhere.

Have you received these emails? Do they serve any purpose – or are they just frustrating messages taking up room in your inbox?

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Tall Latte, No Foam… Networking on the Side

I have been working out of a hotel since October; so needless to say, I spend a lot of time at the local Coffee Bean. While at first this was a simple way to escape the confines of a 250 square foot hotel room, it has become an adventure every day, full of networking opportunities.

I have met fellow young careerists, child therapists, entrepreneurs, pharmaceutical salespeople, and even a cat psychic (only in Los Angeles…)

Although I was pretty impressed with the cat psychic (he Skyped with kittens)… I have always thought entrepreneurs are the one of the interesting group of people to speak with; one I met this week was particularly compelling…

I spotted this entrepreneur easily. He was forty-something and actively engaged with his iPad, iPhone, and laptop. I had a hunch he would be someone interesting to connect with. So I sat at down at his table, and when he ended the phone call where he was discussing raising capital for a startup (yes, I was rudely listening) – I asked him what he did for a living.

Luckily for me, he was the founder of said startup, so he was very excited to talk about his new venture. My curiosity in his business quickly turned into a legit, no holds-barred, coffee shop interview. He asked me to give him examples of when I’d “made things happen,” and wanted to know my work history. He grilled me about the “true meaning of marketing” and shared stories from his time as an advertising executive.

We swapped contact information, and he went on his way to becoming a millionaire.

Long story short, and moral of the story: Always being ready to network!

Spontaneous networking can be a huge advantage in your job search. I’ve been told countless times to work at coffee shops; turns out that advice really does pay off. Just having this man’s contact information is great for me. I’m a better networker from the experience – and who knows where this conversation may lead!

If you’re in the job hunt, pack up your laptop – and find somewhere new to work! Coffee shops, diners and dives, hotel lobbies, a warm spot in the winter or a park in the summer… all have huge potential to positively impact your sphere of influence – and help you perfect your networking techniques.

Have your Moo cards and elevator pitch ready; you never know who’s buried behind their laptop that could be a really important connection. (Oh, and you may want to wear something a bit more formal than ripped jeans and a belly shirt – just sayin’.)

College Graduates: Will Work for…Nothing?

Despite the worst economy in decades, as recent college graduates, we tend to think that companies are going to be fighting tooth and nail for us to come work for them.

Graduates have fresh minds, new ideas, and are eager to use our enthusiasm and energy to propel an organization forward. Getting recognized from within a work force is our dream. Graduation day quickly approaches, and fresh from removing our caps and gowns, we sit by the phone waiting for the hundreds of job offers that we just know will come in.

And we wait some more… and the phone calls don’t come.

Seems this is a different life than what we were told to expect from life after college.

Should universities be more up front when it comes to post grad life? Professors and admissions officers make it seem pretty glamorous; they say we will make $60,000 a year right away and gain great experience while working for the top corporations of America.

They do NOT, however, tell you that internships are where it really all begins – and right after graduation, we probably won’t be making much, if any, money.

When I first started applying to jobs, I got so many rejection letters I couldn’t count them. I realized the economy was bad and companies weren’t actively hiring grads with limited experience. At first I thought, “No big deal. It will change soon.” The turning point for me was when I applied to join the marketing team for a brewery. They said they would love to see where my vision could take their organization – but I had to wait tables first. Wait tables… in marketing?! No thanks.

My university didn’t offer “How to Land a Job 101.” So all of a sudden, it was the month before graduation, and I still had no job. I furiously applied for internships and hoped and prayed for someone to pluck me up and teach me something.

I had been skeptical of intern positions because everyone told us that a degree meant a career. Looking back, I should have gone about my job search a completely different way.

I should have applied for internships and networked – and not waited until I was about to graduate to blindly send my resume into organizations.

Like so many other students, I thought that graduating from college in itself meant I deserved a paycheck. I had worked extremely hard the last four years, and I was excited to see my name and a dollar sign on a little piece of paper every two weeks.

I am still working part time, and I’m gaining some really incredible experience. However, college painted this post grad picture differently for me. Much different. And now I work for… well, almost nothing – just for the chance to enter the workforce and contribute.

So, if you’re about to graduate from college and are staring at a mostly blank resume, you may want to stop listening to those who don’t know this version of the real world. You may want to do some work – quick – to build a formidable resume with real world experience. And you certainly want to network to foster the relationships you need to succeed.

Or, you can grab a piece of cardboard and start making your “Will work for          _____” sign.

 

 

 

(This post was featured on YouTern’s blog, http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern)

The Other Side of the Job Hunt

The most difficult aspect of my job search so far has been trying to justify finding time to actually commence the search without falling behind on work. I’m one of those work on the weekends people, so it’s hard to find time that I don’t think I could be accomplishing something for the positions I already have.

But when I do focus on my job search, I make sure to pay attention to every detail of my resume, cover letter, emails, phone calls… all communication involving potential employers is checked (or rehearsed) 400 times before it is sent.

Recently, I conducted interviews to find a much needed assistant for my boss. Before the interviews, I obviously had to sift through tons of resumes, cover letters, and emails, and I was shocked at what I received. The candidates didn’t seem like they spent more than ten minutes on each document – no more than a few of them did anything to personalize or make themselves stand out.

There were typos, spelling errors, someone even spelled my boss’s name wrong.

People are constantly complaining about not having work – the unemployment rate is rising, they say. No one understands what it’s like out there. There’s too much competition. Well, DUH there’s too much competition! That means you do not let one typo or spelling error get through on your resume/cover letter – I immediately dismissed candidates with MBAs and ten years of experience because they couldn’t bother to even turn on spell check.

The interviews were also difficult to get through – I didn’t know anyone would even imagine not preparing questions to ask the interviewer, or not follow up with a thank you email after it is done.

Conducting these interviews certainly changed my perspective on the job search. I will take extra care to make myself stand out, to put more time into each resume & cover letter, and to follow up more than I ever did before.

Do people think they are simply entitled to jobs? Just because you sent me an email saying, “Please review my information” I should hire you?