Job Hunt Basics: Resume, Cover Letter, Networking

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Get a job

This past fall, I had the privilege of lecturing at a local university. Naturally, there were a couple of students who asked for job-hunting advice and resume tips. There are certainly all levels of advice on this topic and in this post I’d like to outline the very basics that may be especially useful for international students who come from different cultural norms and new entrants to the professional job market.

I will focus on 3 main areas: resume, cover letter, and networking.

Resume

  • Keep it short – 1 page.
  • Simplify formatting (click here for example).
  • Research the position and make your resume relevant per job.
  • List accomplishments per job and quantify them.

In today’s age of 140 characters and short attention spans, brevity is key. I would advise a resume no longer than 1 page. In that 1 page, focus on the experience that is most relevant for the position you are applying to. This means that your resume may be different for one job versus another, and it also means that you must have a clear understanding of the job before applying. Applying to hundreds of jobs with a non-specific resume will be less effective than researching each role and providing a tailored resume. This initial research may even disqualify some jobs that you realize are not as interesting as you thought.

Keep the format simple and easy to read. You may choose to start with a brief (1-2 sentence) summary that highlights your key strengths as related to the job. Then follow with professional experience and education. Make certain to list quantified accomplishments with each role, and do so with the general sentence structure: Action + Accomplishment + Process. For example: Grew top line revenue by 120% over 6 months through targeted ad campaigns on Facebook.

Make it as easy as possible for the hiring manager to find the most relevant information so s/he can say, “yes, this person has demonstrated the kind of skills I’m looking for in our new hire.”

Cover Letter

  • Keep it brief (half a page if possible).
  • Tailor it for each company – do NOT use a generic template where you simply change the name of the company each time.
  • Demonstrate your potential value; what does this role really need and why are you the best person to provide it?

I’m not sure how relevant a cover letter is anymore, but the content is certainly valuable. Whether it’s a formal cover letter, or an email to a hiring manager, formulating a summary of your qualifications for a job can be a helpful determinant for the hiring manager if it highlights your value as related to the job opening.

This blog post links to 8 specific examples of “good” cover letters; it’s important to remember that each job and scenario will vary, which means that good in one instance may not be so in another. As you’ll find, each one is good in its specific scenario:

Networking

  • Find and attend relevant events (meetup.com is a good resource).
  • When you meet people at events, ask questions to learn about them and their industry; try asking some deeper questions to demonstrate your interest and engage in meaningful conversation beyond superficial topics.
  • Once it’s your turn to share, you can tailor your message based on what you’ve learned from all your questions.
  • Build your network by constantly learning, eventually you’ll be able to connect the dots.
  • Never directly ask for a job or recommendation, it will come naturally.

Networking is a very valuable and often overlooked aspect of job hunting. Blindly submitting your resume to hundreds of companies will result in very few hits. Recruiters and hiring managers view many many applicants every day. Hopefully you’ve tailored your resume and cover letter so it stands out, but it’s also very helpful to build a network that may be connected with the job you’re seeking through networking events.

Focus on meeting new people at each event by having meaningful conversations, rather than trying to collect as many business cards as possible. It’s important to leave a lasting impression during your initial meetings so you develop a valuable network, rather than an inflated network. Keep track of your connections by immediately following up with a personalized email thanking them for their time and reiterating a specific conversation topic to anchor the memory. And remember to add them to your LinkedIn network.

If you’re interested in developing your networking skills, one of the best books I’ve read on the topic is Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

Conclusion

Using this systematic approach in all three areas will greatly improve your chances at landing an opportunity that is best suited to your skill set and career objectives.

It’s important to remember that you’re going to be spending a lot of your time at your job, so make sure you choose something you’re going to enjoy (at least the majority of it) and that the job is a stepping stone towards your next move.

Good luck and please provide any of your own tips for job hunting in the comments section. Thanks for reading.

 

Additional reading: Job Search Funnel: 4 Steps to Getting the Job of Your Dreams

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Stop Wasting Your Time And Money: Test Your Ideas With Google Ads

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google

A Book Worth Its Weight In… Ads?

After reading Perry Marshall’s book on 80/20 Sales And Marketing, I was pumped about marketing, so I ordered his book about Google Ads. The 80/20 book was a relatively quick read, and very practical for a business that’s already running with customers. I expected something similar from the Google Ads book, but instead it turned out to be more of a “textbook” read. That’s not to say that it wasn’t great, it was just heavier (physically and intellectually) than I had anticipated. Nonetheless, I read it cover to cover, and took notes on all the material I found relevant for a new business: customers, validation, and growth.

Changed Order, Same Content

The book is structured differently than how I would apply it, which is customers –> validation –> growth, so I reorganized the material in the presentation below to match. However, the original notes in order of the book are also available in a Google Doc (not presentation format) that you can access here, preview at end.

Work In Progress, All Comments Welcome

Disclaimer: as a self-proclaimed “entrepreneur”, I’m still learning all the time. So this order may not be the best, but it’s what made the most sense to me in attempting to validate a new concept. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it as well, especially if anything stands out that should be changed. It’s always a work in progress as far as I’m concerned.

The Really Short Version

My 6-point summary of Marshall and Todd’s Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords:

  1. Formulate a first version of your business hypothesis.
  2. Identify potential customers and talk with them; understand their business processes, their goals, their pain points.
  3. Refine your hypothesis to what your customers actually need.
  4. Develop and optimize Google Ads that speak to pain points.
  5. Refine sales process based on Google Ads lessons (what makes people click?).
  6. With a robust Ad-to-Sale process, scale up with Google tools, social media, and email marketing.

Thanks for reading!

 

The full notes are below, and you can download them here.

Don’t be a sleaze-ball, be a problem solver

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Large group of people waiting in line

Solving problems feels good

I always had a knack for understanding people’s problems and offering effective solutions. Later on in life, I realized this was sales. However, I always associated a negative connotation with the word “sales”; as if it meant that somebody was trying to sleaze their way into your wallet. But I’ve since learned that that’s not the case at all.

50% of a happy customer is a good sale

A sale is simply 1/2 of any transaction that takes place everyday; whether it’s a birthday card, an airplane ticket, or a home. The other half of that transaction is the purchase, which fulfills a customer’s need. So sales is really the sought after solution to a customer’s problem or need. It’s a helpful process. There are probably many examples of bad sales people and processes that give sales its often negative association, but I’d like to focus on the positive and effective processes of sales and marketing that create value.

After all, if you have an awesome product or service, you also need a way to share it with the people who will love it. Contact me with your best sales methods.

80/20 Sales & Marketing by Perry Marshall – 5pg Summary

http://amzn.to/2fSgUPp
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Berlin – London – San Francisco

I recently had a 14 hour trip home for the holidays (TXL – LHR – SFO) and I wanted a good sales book for the flight. I went to my local bookstore in Berlin to grab an English sales book and Perry Marshall’s book was the only one I could find. Fortunately, it was a great purchase!

  • It’s very easy to read, the chapters are short and to the point (about 200 pages total)
  • There are clear, actionable steps to take for each chapter that you can apply immediately
  • The book offers additional resources on top of the actual content (accessible online after purchase)
  • The proof is in the pudding; Marshall doesn’t just sell the book, he follows his own recipe for success

Read the hell out of your books, then pass it on

How do you read your books? Do you take care of them, keep the binding perfect, and carefully place it on your shelf at home for display after you’re finished?

I don’t. I read the hell out of my books.

I annotate them, take notes all over the blank areas. Brainstorm random thoughts that come to mind while I’m reading. It’s a mess. And when I’m done with the book, I tell everyone I know about it (as long as it’s a great book) and once I come across someone who shows a sincere interest, I’ll pass the book along. Sometimes it makes its way back to me (only be to be passed on again), and sometimes it doesn’t, which is fine too. It just seems like a waste to store it at my place when I’m probably not going to read it again.

Summarize in Google Docs and share

With that said, I don’t let all those notes go to waste. Either they will be immediately actionable notes, or I put them in a Google Doc to refer back to. And I’d like to share them with you below. Please do provide constructive comments in the comments section below or in the Google doc itself.

If you want the full book, click here to order it from Amazon.

I also found out that Marshall wrote the Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords , which I summarized in another post here. He also wrote Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business, which is on my bookshelf cue to read next. I’ll provide those summaries once I’m done with the books.

Thanks for reading.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE 5 PAGE SUMMARY

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE 5 PAGE SUMMARY