Job Search Hacks

Everybody pays their dues and has gotten their start somewhere. As a matter of fact, Aimee Song, founder of @songofstyle, actually began her working career as a server in a low-end Asian restaurant. Female entrepreneur and former Victoria’s Secret model Rosie Huntington Whiteley was turning down beds and serving tea in rural England as a chamber maid. How did I find this out? Well, in my spare time I absolutely adore listening to podcasts, in particular Girl Boss Radio with Sophia Amorouso. Sophia, founder of Nasty Gal, sits down and interviews established female businesswomen ranging from Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices, to Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and The City actress. Personally, it’s a great way for me to feel inspired and motivated to continue working and plodding along in pursing my interests. You should all tune in as well!

We all start with the less glamorous jobs, essentially it’s a right of passage and crucial for self-development. I’ve found myself jobs in the fields of restaurant business, marketing, retail, art, English literacy, guidance counseling, etc. So, I’ve dipped my toes in several different facets of working, which is part of the adult experience. How I got those jobs? Well, the three things that this process necessitates in my experience is A.) Patience, B.) Making the connections, and C.) Having the courage to put myself out there (because you have nothing to lose and everyone’s anxious.) Remember, any job or experience of any type you gain, it’s always good to have for a resumé!  My hope is that this article will help those of you who are looking for internships or jobs in the future because I wish I had a mentor to help me with the stressful process.

I aspire to become a CEO and cultivate a brand which constructs life-saving products that directly aid people in third world countries. I care about people and am passionate about global issues such as health accessibility, the orphanage system, as well as female entrepreneurship. And no, clearly I’m not doing that right now, but I am cognizant that every experience I have, the closer I am to my goal than if I didn’t take advantage of opportunities. My philosophy is that I take every experience with grace and know that in long term everything will work out. Being exposed to an array of different areas of work will provide me with the exposures and experiences to launch my own company. It’s also rather satisfying to receive a nice check and deposit it.

I feel full and with a purpose. For me, it’s all about feeling a sense of belonging and like I am a part of a greater collective mission rather than just self-service. I like to feel needed and that I have important places to be that count on me. Hectic schedules are my jam and time management has rarely been an issue. For instance, two semesters ago, I founded my own sorority; worked as an English tutor at my University’s writing center; got paid as a guidance counselor on campus; interned at HQ Her Campus in Fenway Park; participated and was the Treasurer of my collegiate sports’ team; as well as continuing to blog and publish online. On top of this, I took four classes. How did I manage? It’s all about balance, time management, and self-care for me. Specifically, I utilize the apps WunderList and Google Calendar, which help me stay organized and on top of my game; I schedule workouts at least 5 times per week at the gym because exercise clears my mind; I made plans at least 5-6 days in advance so I could be more efficient in my day; and lastly, I journal at the end of everyday reminding myself self-affirmations and to externalize all my racing thoughts. The yin and the yang have proven key within my life.

How to get yourself out there: It can be overwhelming because there are so many applications to fill out that are lengthy. However, bear in mind that sometimes it takes 100 tries to land 1 good job.

1. Create a LinkedIn Page: I will be blunt. If you don’t have LinkedIn or some legitimate social media platform, you essentially don’t exist to companies. For me, I have around 1,000 connections now on LinkedIn and have made sure to post ALL of my paid and nonpaid experiences. I also like to stay active and engaged by posting a few times a week just to make sure that my name is out there on people’s feeds. Any experience is credible and worth mentioning! Ex: I volunteered with disabled children my freshman year and I put that on my LinkedIn because it shows I have had experience with children. Plus, it will save you so much time to make a LinkedIn page because most sites and search engines have an option to sync your LinkedIn info in a means of 2 minutes.

2. Job Search Engines: It took me 15 minutes to apply to 3 jobs through Indeed whereas if this were on paper, it would have taken up to 1 hour. There are a plethora of search engines such as Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn Job Search, and Handshake! I would advise first trying Handshake because that engine is college affiliated and reputable for above menial jobs. It takes companies approximately 2-4 weeks to get back to you, so I would get a jump start early!

3. Use Your Connections: Especially for college students, there are SO many available resources to take advantage of. If you know a friend/friend of a friend who has a great job you’d be interested in, set up a coffee date with them to chat. Or even slide into the DM’s, don’t be afraid! For me, it was about cultivating a genuine repour with my teachers and then I spoke with them about job offers as well as other opportunities. Most people want to be of service and feel needed, so don’t hesitate to put yourself out there!

4. Door to Door: I’ve gotten a job at a seafood restaurant at the Jersey Shore by printing out 20 copies of my resumé and hand-delivered them to businesses in my beach town. Doing this shows proactivity as well as commitment. Plus, putting your face out there never hurts!

Interview Tips: It’s the step right before the actual hiring process. Your resumé and persistence in connecting lands you the interview, but eventually the interview quality dictates whether they like you or not

1. Expectations: Don’t go in with expectations or a preconceived outcome. By doing this, it will save you from misery and suffering in the event you don’t get the results you want. Go into the interview with the mindset of “This is a good learning opportunity either way and another exposure for me to add to my professional repertoire”

2. Power Poses: Crossing your arms, crossing your legs, standing with hands on your hips, etc. are all classic signifiers of confidence and competence. I applied for an actual desk sales job and I made it through all three rounds of interviews because the manager’s said I gave off a confident, motivated vibe. Of course, it wasn’t only because of that, but also because I paid attention.

3. Eye Contact: It's hard, but essential. Making eye contact signifies your own self-confidence as well as your willingness to connect. It shows that you're attentive and engaged, which is what employers are looking for.

4. Dress the Part: Presentation is so key. My best policy is that it’s always safer to overdress for an interview than underdress. Your outfit is an external reflection of how seriously you take the job. By being put together your giving off a confident, wholesome vibe to your interviewer. I typically always wear all black because its slimming and signifies I’m a serious person. For my hair, I place it into a low-bun and pair it with small gold hoop earrings. I dab on some minimal foundation with my beauty blender and apply a thin shade of mascara because I want to look pretty and effortless. And of course, for shoes, I typically slide on my Gucci loafers or a black flat (you can never go wrong.)

On the Job Tips: If you are working in a job you aren’t keen about, remember that it’s not permanent! Also, that every experience provides you with something to juxtapose your future experiences against. It’s one of many exposures you will have and maybe even one day you will reflect and laugh about it.

1. Boss Interactions:  Your boss is ALWAYS right.  Never argue with your boss over something you did or didn’t do. Your boss will always win. Essentially just regurgitate back what your boss wants to hear and praise her using phrases such as “I’m new to this and I have much to learn from you. I take this seriously and am motivated” (even when you don’t give a flying f***). Think about “The Office," Michael Scott acted like an utter doofus, but everyone treated him with respect and had to participate in some of his dumb meetings.

2. Customer Relations: If there’s a problem or a question you don’t have the answer to, ALWAYS blame it on your boss - truth is, that’s your safety net and it’s your boss' job to deal with the clientele. Ex: “I’m not sure what our return policy is, I can ask my boss and she will get back to you on that at her earliest convenience”

3. Sorry Not Sorry: NEVER say you’re sorry or use the word “unfortunately” to a customer because your admitting you’re at fault in some small way. The negatively connotated words affect their views of you and the brand. Ex: “I’m sorry, unfortunately we have nothing available at the moment, I can put you on the waiting list” vs “We don’t have anything available right now, I will put you on a waiting list and we’ll let you know when something opens up." I’ve noticed that the customer responds better to the second one and is less likely to take advantage of me. Of course, apologizing is justified when you have done something wrong or that has crossed your company’s values.

4. 150%, No Excuses: Don’t dwell on the past. This is one of the keys to not only jobs, but to LIFE. The past is an experience and has already happened so there’s no way to control it. What you have control over is the present and the present determines the future. So, do your best to ground yourself in the moment and really work on a given task at your 150% best. I feel immensely proud of myself at the end of the day just knowing I gave it my all and that I was of service to someone else in some way, that’s key.

Now, go out and do your best!