My First Video Post: Creating a Job For Yourself After College

Rough Transcript from my Video:

Today’s video is geared toward recent college graduates or graduates to be, whether you’re a senior, or working on your masters or even a PhD. There comes a time in life when you have to enter that scary realm of going out into the “real world” and getting a job.

First and foremost understand that you are not going to walk out of college and get a management job; its not going to happen regardless of the degree you get. I made the same mistake thinking I would walk out of college and be a Vice President, Director, or Manager. I’m know I’m not the only one that has thought this way; many people walk out of college thinking they are going to have a high-paying ($60,000 – $100,000 per year job) with management experience. Be realistic, it is not going to happen.

Secondly be persistent and determined at whatever it is that you truly want to do. Sending out your résumé through the Career Navigators and Monster.com’s of the world doesn’t work anymore; times have changed. I encourage you to adopt an inbound marketing or guerrilla marketing approach to getting the job, creating the job that you truly want. There are ways to create a position for yourself in organizations and industries that you are interested in. Be persistent and truthful about where you really want to go with everyone that you speak with. Most hiring managers today will only glance over a résumé that ends up on their desk without the context of conversation or a relationship connection behind it.

Thirdly, no one is interested in hiring someone who waffles about what they are interested in and throws their resume in every pile hoping for a job. [On a side note, if this is the case, perhaps you need some perspective by getting outside of everything that you are familiar with – read “go travel outside the country”]. If you are determined to work in the companies and the industry of your interest it can happen, but it takes hard work, lots of networking and relationship building.

Networking isn’t just showing up at a mixer [especially if you only talk  with people that you already know]. You need to meet the people in and around that organization or company that you are interested in. Start to develop those relationships [meet people for coffee, lunch, a drink, or a round of golf if you have time]. [If you don’t know where to start, or what people at this organization do outside of work, simply ask; ask them if they have few minutes to get together with you to tell you more about their company… people love to talk about themselves, but you have to be willing to listen]. Every time an opportunity presents itself (as is naturally the case when asking people about themselves), be straightforward about what you are true interests, what your goals are, and where you would like to be.

Coming from an engineering and mathematical background I always thought it was about getting the best grades, doing the best that you could at your assignments, and that putting together the best resume was what would get me the job. [In doing that with limited experience, you tend to stretch the truth because you need “x-years of experience” to get the job, but you need the job to get the experience].  Today it is not about the résumé landing on their desk; many hiring managers today actively pursue candidates instead of the wasting time posting an ad or a listing. Many will even pre-qualify applicants by, for instance, doing a simple boolean search in Google (i.e. “site:linkedin.com inurl:in Reno Nevada Solar MegaWatt Project Manager” to find a Solar Project Manager in the Reno area on LinkedIn who has experience with MegaWatt-scale systems).  But most hiring managers do not even make it that far; they start by asking through their network of colleagues, friends and family to see who they might know that could be a good fit for their company, for a potential opening, before it is ever posted (in fact it never will be posted).

Even before there is a “Job Description,” many managers are looking for the right people for their team. You need to show them that you are the right people. Perhaps they don’t have the capacity to hire you right now, but if you are determined to work with that company or in that industry, don’t stop turning over new leaves, meeting new people in and around that organization. Create opportunity for yourself.

Be Persistent.

Please let me know if I can help you in any way. I would love to connect with you @DanHerr on Twitter or LinkedIn.com/DanielHerr

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Comments

  1. This is some excellent advice! I would like to echo what Dan already said by especially highlighting the importance of *active* networking and being persistent. Most of my employment experiences have been in the public sector, and I can vouch for the fact that each of Dan’s tips in this blog entry can apply to government jobs as well. I just returned from a 10-day policy colloquium in Washington, D.C., and I now have a stack of 20 business cards from people I have met and spoken with in person. Furthermore, I always make sure to write follow-up e-mails to each of these people, since that solidifies my commitment to the networking. Also, it is important not only to meet the people that you think will have an impact on your job search, but also to keep them in touch as you develop your career. There have been a handful of people in my field who have been indispensable in providing contacts and serving as recommendation writers throughout the years. Finally, as Dan said, don’t be afraid to carve out your own niche! Even in the public sector, many jobs don’t exist until a manager/administrator is convinced of the need to have it. It never hurts to be persistent in bringing ideas forward – even before you get hired!

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