Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Let's Talk Career


My older sister is a career counselor at a well known university in Seattle. She recently sent a student my way for some advice as she was interested in the field I work in. I, naturally got really excited, because, well it is awesome when you find people who love the same things you do (especially in a lesser known industry)! Also, I love resumes (really, I do). And cover letters. And helping friends and family with their career searches. I graduated college in 2010, so I am not too far removed from the post college job search - and all of the panic that comes along with it. The last few years I have found a few resources, tricks and best practices that have been so helpful to me when job searching. I want to share these in the hope it can help at least a few of you out there!

Resume and Portfolio
Go outside the box! Here's the thing, recruiters and HR personnel are getting blown up with resumes. They get hundreds of resumes to their inbox everyday, and I'm convinced you have to go beyond a plain word doc to even get a call back. Here are some of my favorite tools for visual resumes...

Visualize.me - This is the easiest possible tool. It integrates with LinkedIn so it will pull in your work history, connection, skills - which means you do very little. I won't dive into LinkedIn, because I am assuming if you are job hunting that you already have your account set up and up to date. Here is a great resource to help you if you are setting yours up for the first time.

Personal Website - You need to have a portfolio that you can direct potential employers too. This does not have to be a complex website that is updated daily, it simply needs to be an easily accessible portfolio that you can link to in your initial email and reference in your resume or cover letter. This should be a sampling of your best work that is relevant to the positions you are applying to. About.me is an easy site to use to set your personal site up. The idea with a portfolio is to get an employer to look at your best work that showcases your personality and displays how hard you will work for them at their company.

Informational Interviews and Job Shadowing
This is probably my best piece of advice. Whether you are in college or not, if you are able to meet with somebody who works at a company you are interested in a casual setting you are set. Grabbing a cup of coffee or job shadowing someone on a normal day gives you the chance to find out their background, learn about their experiences and to really see how they behave. It also gives you the chance to give them the real version of yourself. In a formal interview where you are pining for a position, you naturally highlight your professional accomplishments. I think this is certainly important, but I would argue that showcasing who you are as a person, rather than just an employee, is even more important. In a casual informational interview over coffee you can tell them about your last big trip, the amazing brewery you toured last week, the cool Meet up group you joined. Showcasing your personality is so important, and can be the perfect stepping stone into an interview with this potential employer later down the line. 

I am going to make this a monthly post, and next time will share some personal examples and get into a little bit more detail about how to first approach potential companies. In regards to the advice, I am by no means an expert. These tips are certainly geared towards the tech, marketing, start-up scene and are completely my own opinion based on my experiences. Do your own research for your field to make sure these are applicable for your job hunt. And good luck! :)  


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