Learn what I did to land a job in the Bay Area after graduating from college.
If you’re like most Millennial’s, you want your job to be inspiring, and meaningful. Let’s not forget about a fully stocked snack bar. It’s about the finer details. Millennial’s are flocking to hot beds like the San Francisco-Bay Area, where there is a plethora of opportunities that will fulfill their professional needs. Do not approach this task while wearing your rose-colored sunglasses, though. It’s tough, competitive, and the pressure will be on.
As a fellow Millennial and technical recruiter in the Bay Area, I have come up with a few tips to help you on your journey to finding your ideal job in the City (or wherever you are).
Here we go!
- Be specific: How are you supposed to find your dream job without knowing what that really is? It would be wise to spend a few minutes each day clarifying on your desires and skills. A few good questions to start with are: What skills are you most proud of? Where would they be a good fit? Can you describe your ideal work environment? What are some skills that you are lacking? What does your commute look like? Is work-life balance important? Have you determined your pay range? Questions like this allow you to really understand what it is you are seeking, and what kinds of jobs and organizations will be a best fit.
- Do your homework: It’s important to learn about the organization and their culture. The job description might sound great, but what does the day-to-day look like? Connect with a few people on LinkedIn who work at the organization to get better insight. Plus, if you ever land an interview at that organization, you’d be able to align your background with theirs- a sure way to impress the interviewer.
- Build a robust network: More than half of the time, it’s not about how awesome your resume looks. Knowing people in the business will be key in your job search. Hiring managers get hundreds of resume’s in a single day and an easy way for it to get chosen for review is having someone tell them: “Hey, check out this person’s resume.”. It is important to have professional connections and that can be achieved in numerous ways. Be creative! A few starting points would be: Connecting with your fellow classmates from college, staying in touch with program coordinators from college organizations you where a part of, connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, working with a good recruiter, volunteering for special professional events, and attending networking parties. There are hundreds of ways to expand your professional network, so find some that work for you.
- Have your references ready: It is important that you have people who can professionally vouch for you on the ready. Nothing frustrates a recruiter or hiring manager more than people who are not ready to rock. Your LinkedIn endorsements may look amazing, but employers want to know that you’ve built enough trust with someone in your professional network that they are willing to speak on your behalf directly to a hiring manager. Definitely have as many as you can, but 3-4 solid references can be considered a good starting point. Sometimes employers want to verify that you are as awesome as they think you are by reaching out someone who has hired or managed you before they offer you a position, even after you’ve been qualified and the interview went well.
- Know your pay range: This is always an interesting area for people. As fresh-grads, most people don’t feel like they have earned the right to demand for a salary of $xx,xxx. You do have leverage when it comes to negotiation, you know. Learn the cost of living in your area and average salary for someone in your desired industry/position. If you are a good fit for a role, an employer may think twice before letting you go because your income requirements are a bit higher than what they are willing to pay. They would also respect your assertiveness and intelligent method of justifying your needs. Stay within reasonable ranges though, let’s not forget that competition is thick and though you are special, there are many fish in the sea.
- Ask great questions: Finally, you get a phone interview or in person interview! Remember to ask great questions. It will really illustrate your interest in the position, and therefore make you a more qualified candidate. Ask questions about the day-to-day, the office culture, how long the position has been open, and the opportunities for growth. Show that you are serious about learning about the position before you accept an offer. They will take you much more serious as a candidate and it will show that you are looking to be a good fit, not just another fill-in who won’t contribute to the culture. Now is a good time for a quote worth writing in your planner somewhere: “To be interesting, be interested.“.
- Follow up: So out of 10 applications you sent out, 8 of them have kindly passed on your resume. Do not worry! There may still be window of opportunity in the future. Definitely send a thank you note to the hiring manager for considering your application. Though they might not have hired you for the position you applied for, you might be a great fit later down the road, or for another position. What better way to leave a good impression than to make a graceful exit? You’ll thank me later.
- Have thick skin: Yes, you are amazing in your own way but please keep in mind that you might be a small fish in a big pond. You might be impressive, but that may not be the determining factor in whether you get the job. Sometimes it’s about being the right culture fit. As much as Millennials are being “picky” with where they want to work, so are organizations. Let’s just say the feeling is mutual. For good reasons! It’s about being the right fit, on both sides. If you get rejected after a few good interviews, don’t let it bring you down. You will be a great fit somewhere, and it might take a few tries (okay I lied, a bunch of them). Either way, keep on shining and be assertive!