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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 April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

Reference

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