Each of us has a unique approach to finding a job. In this post I’ll describe how I’ve been conducting my job search. I’m betting this advice will help you land the right job.
I’m an alumni of the Fall 2012 class of the Startup Institute (formerly known as the Boston Startup School). My experience there gave me two golden eggs; a network of awesome people and access to heavy hitters in the Boston startup community. The people that went through the program with me are smart, driven and just damn cool. My relationships with them are like those lifelong friends you make in college. The access you’ll get to the heavy hitters is critical. They genuinely want to help you succeed and will make the time for you.
Employers and alumni answer this question on Reddit: “is Boston Startup School a good idea for an aspiring hustler founder?”
Get out from behind your computer and meet people in person. Talking to people at networking events has helped me a lot. When you read an article online there’s a chance it could be stale or irrelevant. When you’re networking people are honest and will want to help you. They’ll ask you what you want to do or what industry you want to be in. Be friendly, open and honest with them and karma will reward you.
Find networking events: 10 Awesome Boston Startup Event Calendars
Sharpen your pitch: Harvard Business School Elevator Pitch Builder
My friend Mike Schroll wrote a great job search post. I encourage you to read it because he has the evidence to back up what he says. A combined strategy of applying to jobs online and meeting people face-to-face will work. My preference is to spend more time meeting people in person but applying online can’t hurt. At the bottom of this post I list some great places online to look (not Monster or Craigslist). A tip of the hat to Brendan O’Neil for these.
The Informational Interview
I use the word interview lightly here. You should NOT dress up in a suit and expect to answer questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. The Informational Interview should be at a coffee shop or even a bar. It should be relaxed and the conversation should just flow. Get to know the person you’re meeting with. Learn about who they are just as much as their company. Consider picking up the bill. Not to “score points”. It’s just the right thing to do.
Job Search Spreadsheet
Create a Google Docs spreadsheet to keep track of all the companies you’re talking with. The columns names I use are: Company Name (including a link to the company), Contact Person (who I know there), Role (what they’re hiring for), Last Action (last time I spoke or emailed with them) and Notes. This spreadsheet will help you to keep organized and save you time.
Use Your Network
You definitely want to have an updated LinkedIn profile. Make sure the summary is short and sweet. In it put what you want to do and a bit about your past. I wouldn’t make it any longer than 5 sentences. You can use your profile to research the companies you’d like to work for. After you’ve made friends there (called Connections) you can network online. You’ll be able to see if your connections are connected to people who are employees at the company you want to work for. Also, don’t forget your friends and family. Craft an email to them that describes how they can help. Occasionally tweet or post on Facebook that you’re looking for a job.
You should register your name as a domain name. Then create a easy to read and simple to navigate personal website . It should cater to the audience of a potential future employer. The link to your resume should be easy to locate. Consider not only a PDF version but also a web version of your resume. Add fun facts about yourself on the about page to show you’re a human, not just a resume.
Free and easy personal website creator: About.me
This advice comes from the mouths of employers. They want to know what you’re working on in your spare time. What projects are you working on that are relevant to the job you want to get? Programmers can link to their GitHub page and designers can link to their Dribbble page. This list should be on your personal website in chronological order (including what you’re currently working on).
Don’t underestimate being in the right place at the right time. You should always take a meeting with someone no matter who they work for. You never know where it could lead.
Don’t just take any job. You do your best work when you’re doing something that you’re passionate about. That’s the lesson I learned from this article (it can apply to you, not just a company). Take some time and write down your core purpose and vivid vision. See if they match with the company you’re applying to and the work you’ll be doing.
Where to Search
The job board on the 14th floor of the Cambridge Innovation Center
I hope that you’ve taken away something valuable that will aid in your job search. It’s easy to sit on the couch watching Netflix when you should be job searching. Remember that you’ve got to be determined and disciplined when finding a job. Don’t give up!
What job search techniques have worked for you? Leave a comment with what’s worked and what hasn’t.
Photo by Flickr user Wonderlane via Compfight