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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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Last Updated on October 18, 2018

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

10 Key Characteristics of a Highly Successful Entrepreneur

When it comes to starting your own business and pursuing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur, it can be advantageous to go all in and embrace the flexibility of finally quitting your day job.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes a special kind of person to take the business world by storm: a person who has cultivated the key characteristics of entrepreneurial success.

People with these characteristics are likely to succeed, whereas people without them have difficulty moving forward with even the most brilliant business ideas.

These characteristics of an entrepreneur are so important that I’ve decided to cover all 10 of them in detail so that you can start your business with your best foot forward.

1. Successful Entrepreneurs Practice Discipline

Plenty of business experts claim that you can’t get anywhere as an entrepreneur without vision or creativity, but that’s simply not the truth. Instead, the one quality that no entrepreneur can be successful without is discipline.

To build an idea into a business, you have to have the discipline to spend time slogging through the least fun parts of running a business (like the bookkeeping), rather than taking that time to do something fun.

Andrew Carnegie, one of the most financially successful Americans of all time, grew up working dull and difficult jobs in factories. Despite going to bed hungry some nights, he continued doing his best work. He was eventually hired by a railroad company and continued to move up the ladder until starting his own successful businesses. Carnegie is a fine example of an entrepreneur dedicated to discipline and hard work. He truly earned his dreams of prosperity and success.

When you’re the boss, there’s no one to keep you at work except yourself — and there’s no short-term consequences for skipping out early.

Sure, if an entrepreneur plays hooky enough he knows that the business just won’t happen, but it’s very hard to convince someone that ‘just this once’ won’t hurt (and to keep ‘just this once’ from becoming a daily occurrence).

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2. Successful Entrepreneurs Keep Calm

Things go wrong when you run your own business.

Most entrepreneurs go through crises with their businesses — and more than a few wind up with outright failures on their hands. But when you’re responsible for a business, you have to be able to keep calm in any situation. Any other reaction — whether you lose your temper or get flustered — compounds the problem.

Instead, a good entrepreneur must have the ability to keep his cool in an emergency or crisis. It may not make the problem easier to solve, but it certainly won’t make it harder.

Honestly, losing your calm is a quick path to becoming the kind of person who gives up in the face of adversity. Instead giving in to frustration, remember classic entrepreneur Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin kept his calm as he experimented and tweaked his inventions again and again in pursuit of success. He didn’t give up during his many failures – he chose to innovate. You can choose innovation, too.

If an entrepreneur can handle failure without frustration or anger, s/he can move past it to find success.

3. Successful Entrepreneurs Pay Attention to Details

Restricting your attention to the big picture can be even more problematic than ‘sweating the small stuff.’

As an entrepreneur, unless venture capital has magically dropped out of the sky, a small expense can be a killer. It’s attention to detail that can make a small business successful when it has competition and it’s attention to detail that can keep costs down.

Attention to detail can be difficult to maintain — going over ledgers can be tedious even when you aren’t trying to pay close attention — but keeping your eye on a long-term vision is just asking for a problem to sneak in under a radar.

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After a business grows, an entrepreneur might be able to hire someone to worry about the details. In the beginning, though, only one person can take responsibility for the details.

Skeptical about the importance of details? Look no further than Howard Schultz, who grew a small coffee shop called Starbucks into one of the most globally successful coffee businesses in the world through his extreme attention to detail.

He is famous for taking all aspects of growing a business into account, paying attention not only to financially smart business decisions, but also focusing on socially responsible business decisions. Details can take you far.

4. Successful Entrepreneurs Embrace Risks

No entrepreneur has a sure thing, no matter how much money s/he stands to earn on a given product. Even if a product tests well, the market can change, the warehouse can burn down and a whole slew of other misfortune can befall a small business.

It’s absolutely risky to run a business of your own and while you can get some insurance, it’s not like most investment options. Even worse, if something does go wrong, it’s the entrepreneur’s responsibility — no matter the actual cause. In order to deal with all of that without developing an ulcer, you have to have a good tolerance for risk.

You don’t need to channel your inner frat boy and take on absolutely stupid risks, but you need to know just how much you can afford to risk — and get a good idea of how likely you are to lose it. If the numbers make you uncomfortable, the risk is too great.

Embracing risks is essential for growth and additional success, as well. Walt Disney, for example, could have stayed comfortable with his advances in the film and animation industries, but decided to expand his brand with a new dream: a theme park that soared above the competition. Without taking this risk, the incredibly successful Disney theme park empire would never have come about.

An entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.

5. Successful Entrepreneurs are Balanced

You can take any characteristic too far. There’s a point at which attention to detail can become obsession or calm can become unemotional response.

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As an entrepreneur, you have to be able to balance your characteristics, getting the most of them without going over the edge. But balance for an entrepreneur goes far beyond keeping your characteristics in check, though.

Just as an entrepreneur doesn’t have a boss to keep them at work when necessary, they don’t have one to send them home when they’re done. If you are working for yourself, you have to decide how to balance your work and home life — and if you have a day job to add into the equation, balance just gets more complicated.

Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs out there, understands the importance of balance. Winfrey has a lot going on; she runs her own media kingdom, acts, produces films, publishes print, and more. In an interview with Fast Company,[1] she talks about her efforts to balance priorities and self care, saying that she must ask herself what is truly important in each limited day.

You may or may not have as much on your plate as Oprah, but learning how to balance whatever you have going on in life will certainly help you farther along down the road as you learn to be a great entrepreneur.

6. Successful Entrepreneurs are Passionate and Motivated

In order to develop any of the above characteristics, you must have a foundation of passion. Staying disciplined day after day during the building of your business takes unrivaled motivation.

Before you start any business, ask yourself if you can sustain true excitement about your idea during even the darkest days ahead of you. If the answer is yes, then good for you! Nurture your natural motivation by taking these action steps throughout your business journey:

  • Commit to making short and long-term goals. Check in with them often to stay on task.
  • Have a plan in place for the inevitable days when you feel discouraged. Make a list of things that will help keep you motivated and focused.
  • Share your ideas with trusted individuals who are just as excited as you are. They will help keep your enthusiasm rolling even when you are feeling down.

By being prepared for apathetic days and holding fast to your authentic passion, you can actually enjoy your journey to success.

7. Successful Entrepreneurs Adapt

Remember this one word: flexibility. Seasoned entrepreneurs know that change is not only a part of life, but also a part of the business world. Expect change and choose to adapt.

As a new entrepreneur, it will be tempting to cling to your original business plan with no exceptions, even if you notice it isn’t working. Good entrepreneurs know that it’s okay to make smart, informed changes in order to ensure efficiency.

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8. Successful Entrepreneurs are Marketing and Sales Experts

No matter what kind of business you are starting, a knowledge of marketing and sales will save you many headaches. A passion for creating a beautiful handmade lifestyle product is not enough to run a successful lifestyle brand; it is critical that you understand key business principles in addition to your natural skills or great product line.

Not sure how to start? Taking business courses is a great idea, but you can also easily brush up on sales and marketing through free online resources. Check out these 10 Sales Skills Everyone Should Master To Be Successful to begin now.

9. Successful Entrepreneurs Have Strong Money Management

Along with sales and marketing skills, money management is a very useful tool in the box of the entrepreneur. Understanding how to best manage your money can be the difference between early success and early failure in the business world.

If money management isn’t your strongest skill, prepare to hire a financial expert to help you with any tricky business that comes up. Financial guidance and knowledge is never a bad idea.

10. Successful Entrepreneurs Ask Questions and Continually Improve

Pride is a natural human quality, but it’s important to humbly conduct some constructive criticism every now and again on both yourself as a leader and your new business as a whole.

Assess how things are going and be willing to make positive changes if necessary. Here’re 15 ways to cultivate lifelong learning.

If you are always improving, then how can you ultimately fail?

The Bottom Line

Let me remind you of one important fact: the qualities of an entrepreneur listed here are not exclusively available to some people and elusive to others.

Although some people may have natural strengths and weaknesses, these qualities can be learned by anyone interested in taking up the entrepreneurial challenge. It might not be easy to change old habits, but it is absolutely possible to cultivate these characteristics in yourself.

Whether you’re a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, with hard work, you can train yourself to develop the qualities that truly determine the entrepreneurial spirit and future success.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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