It’s no secret that the job market is fierce these days. With companies often receiving hundreds of applications for a single position, people are coming up with techniques ranging from creative to crazy to stand out. However, no matter your method, there are a few factors that will always help on the job hunt:
Pursue Your Passions
Christina Rene, Vice President of Kinney Group Events, defines passion as the element that “differentiates those who go hard from those who go home.” Christina compared finding a career path that you’re passionate about to dating. When most people meet someone they’re excited about, they talk about that person nonstop. She believes that your career should be no different. “A cocktail reception, a wedding, a funeral, you talk about it. You’re fearless and you’ll talk to anyone…then you get so used to talking about it that your elevator pitch becomes flawless and natural.” Then, when you do find yourself in an elevator with your idol, you’ll be able to take full advantage of that moment.
Swallow Your Pride
Ronald Castro, Market Manager at Expedia, has had quite a winding career path. He began his career in banking, but quickly realized that it was not the place for him. He wanted to work in marketing, so he made a list of companies he wanted to work for and approached them. Despite having to take a few steps back and a salary cut, Ron believes that changing paths was the best decision he ever made. Acting boldly while remaining humble helped him open doors and get where he wanted to be. Christina echoed this advice, and emphasized the importance of being able to ask for help. Most people have been in your shoes, and will be happy to give advice or lend a hand. If you take that advice and that help and put it to good use, someday you’ll be in the position to pay it forward.
Maintain Your Personal Brand
Ron believes that managing your personal brand is extremely important. Think about where you’ve been and where you want to go, and use that to help craft your story. One way to create a personal brand that works for you is to model it after a brand that you respect. Ron thinks that Chanel is a great example, because it is still relevant after almost a century. Leverage social media to share your skills, story, and personality and create a personal brand that will attract the people who are looking for you.
Julie Lorch, Product Manager at DoSomething.org, believes that finding career satisfaction comes from aligning three factors: What you enjoy, what you’re good at, and what the world needs. The first factor, what you enjoy, is fairly self explanatory: what projects and tasks excite you? Though there is often overlap, what you’re good at is different from what you like. It’s easy to get stuck doing something you’re good at but don’t enjoy, but that is a recipe for unhappiness and resentment. And to succeed in whatever you want to do, it has to be something that the world needs. Even if it doesn’t fulfill a great societal problem, someone has to be willing to pay you to do it in order to make it into a career. Finding a combination of these takes time, but it’s a balance worth striving for.
When Julie graduated from college, she didn’t have a plan and tried so many different things that she has an entire section on her resume devoted to “post college jobs that disappointed [her] mother.” However, if she hadn’t tried jobs ranging from personal assistant to yoga instructor to freelance author, she wouldn’t have discovered what she liked and what she was good at. Exploring your interests and talents leads to discovery, and there is freedom in the ambiguity of not knowing where this discovery will lead.
Take the Plunge
Mohini Merchant, Director of Field Marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group, has always known she wanted to work in hospitality. For her, the challenge was finding and landing her dream job. She began her search by doing extensive research on she was interested in working for. While researching one of the companies she was most interested in working for, Mohini hit the jackpot: she discovered the email address of the company president. She figured that the worst thing that could happen would be not hearing back from him, so she reached out. Taking that chance paid off: she heard back an hour later, connected with HR, and had the job within a week. “Do things that make you uncomfortable,” Mohini advises, “feel the fear and do it anway. What’s the worst that can happen?”
What techniques have you used to create career opportunities? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments section.