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Land Your Dream Job in 10 Weeks Using These 5 Free Tools

Land Your Dream Job in 10 Weeks Using These 5 Free Tools

Do you remember how you got your first job? For many it was as simple as applying online, waiting anxiously for an interview, attending a successful though awkward meeting, and finally landing an offer. This is the ideal scenario for the nearly two million hopeful and hungry students that will graduate in 2016, and the data suggests it *should* be that easy.

These students will, after all, graduate into one the strongest job markets the United States has seen in recent years. Unemployment for college educated workers over 25 is hovering around 2.4% nationally and in a recent study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 37% of employers say they plan to pay 2016’s graduates more than they paid 2015’s graduates.

A survey conducted with the help of Linkedin found that companies hired three times as many job seekers that came from network referrals than those who simply applied. These findings shouldn’t shock anyone since job hunting has been about relationships for decades now. However, it should be a reminder of the importance of networking. Luckily, in the digital age networking is no longer confined to stuffy events and family introductions. Job seekers can, and must, use tools like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and even Meetup Groups to help them expand their networks.

Julia’s success story

Julia Clark, an account executive at a reputable marketing firm in New York City, knows how to play the digital networking game. She had worked hard to find post graduation employment.

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“Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to hire someone they either know or gets referred to them.” says Julia. “Out of the 100 or so applications I submitted to companies, I imagine about 5 were actually read.”

“Four months ago I didn’t know a single person in New York’s marketing world. Now I have dozens of contacts, one of which helped me land my first gig.” says Julia. She was able to network into a job that seemed untouchable in just 10 weeks. She did so by making use of 5 tools that helped her find, engage, and keep track of networking opportunities that she then leveraged into interviews and multiple job offers. Simply applying and hoping for the best is no longer enough to land a job. You must go out and get the job that you want.

We’re going to show you how Julia was able to use five tools to create a professional network from scratch and go get the job she wanted in just 10 weeks.

The process

Julia had been using job boards for months, but she had simply been applying for jobs and then waiting to hear back. She quickly realized that this tactic wasn’t going to yield her the results that she wanted because her resume simply wasn’t being viewed by hiring managers. So instead of just going to job boards, Julia made a list of the top 100 companies she wanted to work for and decided to go after the job she wanted instead of just waiting for someone to discover her resume and decide to give her a call.

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Julia devised a strategy to apply to, and then cold email the companies that she most wanted to work for. Companies often don’t put up job postings until late in their search if ever. So by reaching out to companies regardless of if they have job postings currently will allow you to jump into an “invisible job board”.

You can also make a list of ideal companies that you’d like to work for. You should ask yourself important questions about what you want out of your job, where you see your career going, and what type of company you see yourself working for. From there find 25 – 100 companies that you most want to work for using Linkedin and other company aggregation sites. Your list should include dream companies that you’d love to work for and “safe” pics that you would still be happy with.

Research your list and find your prospective team members

Once you’ve nailed down your list, you need to settle in and do some research on these companies.

First, figure what companies on your list are hiring. Use websites like newyorkjobs.com to figure out if your target companies are hiring for the position you’d like in New York. As you’ll see in the following steps, you won’t simply be cold applying, but if a company is hiring you will want to pair your application with a email outreach. Often companies that have job listings are the ones most in need of immediate help. You can prioritize companies that you’d like to reach out to according to who has a job currently listed.

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Secondly, you’ll want to figure out who works in the department you would like to work in. Instead of contacting HR, you should contact your prospective team members because at the end of the day, it is the team that decides who gets the job. If the team recommends someone for interview, you can be sure that person is going to get an interview. Your ideal prospects will be people that you have some sort of connection with. Whether that be a mutual friend or a school affiliation, mentioning these types of commonalities can be immensely helpful.

Third, reach out! Depending on whether or not the company is currently hiring, you should reach out and either let them know that you applied, or ask if they are looking for additional help.

The idea behind reaching out after you’ve applied is to give them a reason to check out your resume and have a 15 minute chat. You don’t need to get a job offer right then, you just need a foot in the door.

If you have a connection with someone at the company, reach out to them and request a introduction. If you don’t have a connection with someone at the company, still reach out, but try to find a commonality like the school you went to, the groups you may be apart of, previous companies, or even just being from the same city. Any commonalities will help you distinguish yourself from the wealth of other emails your prospect is likely receiving.

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Fourth, don’t forget to follow up! Your follow up is crucial because more likely than not, your initial email will fall on deaf ears and not get any response. Hiring managers are extremely busy, and forgetful people. Chances are that the you didn’t get a response simply because your prospect has forgotten about your email. So sending them a helpful reminder after a week or so gives them a second chance to look over your email and your resume.

Fifth, track your outreach efforts and job hunting workflow. Staying organized with your job search with a tool like Trello will help you ensure that you’re contacting, and following up with the companies or your radar at the appropriate time.

What was her tool stack?

After just a few weeks using these cold emailing tactics to reach out to companies, Julia was able to secure more than 10 phone conversations with managers in her industry and was able to turn them into interviews, and finally land her dream job. She used a variety of tools to help her reach out to hiring managers.

  1. Linkedin
    If you don’t have a Linkedin account, get up from under that rock you’ve been sleeping and go make an account. Your profile doesn’t need to be over the top, but it should give readers a good idea as to who you are, the things you’ve accomplished, and what you’re looking for. Check out a few good online guides to creating a rock star Linkedin profile.
  2. Email Hunter
    This handy little tool will help you to find the email addresses of people at your target companies. Make the most of this information in your job hunting strategy.
  3. Rapportive
    This is a great tool that will help you find social information of your perspective coworkers and also helps you verify if a email address is accurate.
  4. ReplyUp
    ReplyUp is one of my favorite free tools currently available. This tool let’s you create automated follow up sequences so you can remember to reach back out when people don’t reply to your emails.
  5. Trello
    Trello will help you keep track of your networking and job interview status.

Featured photo credit: Jacob Lund via shutterstock.com

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Published on December 13, 2018

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

So how to start a company?

Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

2. Evaluate Your Idea

If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

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3. Make a Business Plan

I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

  • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
  • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
  • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
  • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

4. Decide on a Business Structure

You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

Sole Proprietorship

This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

The pros being:

Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

Partnership

A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

The pros of a partnership include:

Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

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As far as the cons go:

It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

The pros of an LLC include:

Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

Corporation

A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

The pros of a corporation include:

Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

Cons of corporations include:

Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

5. Address Finances

Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

Now, how do you get that money?

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Self Funding

If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

Friends and Family

They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

Banks

These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

Crowdfunding

Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

6. Register with the Government

As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

7. Assemble Your Team

Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

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Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

8. Buy Insurance

No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

9. Start Branding Yourself

Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

The Bottom Line

Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

More Resources About Entrepreneurship

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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