Dear Class of 2013

By now you have probably received your fill of guidance from major influencers such as Richard Branson, Tom Keene, and Gary Shapiro (and so many countless others); told you must follow your dreams, forget your dreams, be very afraid, be confident, be passionate…be a lot of things to succeed in the environment in which you are about to embark.

It’s going to be a bumpy road.

I’m not Richard Branson, but I’ve seen a plethora of mixed messages being hurtled at the upcoming class of graduates: everything “You’re going to be great! Take risks” to “You’re totally screwed, be very very afraid” and I thought that perhaps it was the right time to throw in my two cents.

So here’s my loose change.

So class of 2013 (most notedly from Goucher College, my alma mater) what advice I have to give to you is cut through the clutter of mixed messages and focus on what you want to do and who you want to be. The best advice ever given me, was to seek a culture I wanted to be apart of above a listed job position; rather than scan through massive lists of uninspiring job listings, look for that one special listing that speaks to you from that one company you would kill to be a part of. You might not get it off the bat, but keep it in mind when applying to you second choice (kind of like you did in college). Similarly, when looking for advice and scanning other articles titled “Class of 2013” only read the articles from the influencers whose accomplishments speak to you most.

The only thing they don’t teach you in college.

College is great for a whole lot of things; you learn a plethora of information, introduce you to new life experiences, and for the most part college is what you make of it. But there is one essential element in life that college will not teach you, and neither your parents nor your friends can instill in you. Passion has to be a part of yourself you develop throughout your college experience and you must demonstrate to those around you. It doesn’t matter how perfectly white and well-laid out your resume is, or how perfectly put together you look in your interview; your passion for what you do needs to outshine your patent loafers.

To summarize:

  • Focus your search
  • Find your niche
  • Wear your passion on your sleeve
….And breathe!
Hope this helps!

3 Quick Resume Fixes

Does your resume need a quick touch-up? Here are three incredibly simple fixes you can apply right now to perk it up a little!

1. “Professionalize” you email

If you are still using PrettyBallerina110@something or ILoveBacon290@somethingelse or any other email that reminds us uncomfortably of the 90’s, it might be time to do some spring cleaning. As you go forward, you want to put your best foot forward and impress. You email address might be one aspect of your resume you haven’t addressed yet, and if you are still using a college email, this might not be a big concern. However, sending off your resume with a ‘childish’ email might be a big turn off to recruiters.

Some quick fixes?

Try using ‘Firstname.Lastname@(whichever service you use)” or “FirstinitialLastname@(whichever service you use” 

Already taken? Try to keep your new email as uncomplicated as possible. While being expressive and being creative isn’t a bad thing in life…on your email and your resume, you should always take the safer option. Be professional.

2. Pick a font. Yes, just one font.

Comic sans, Papyrus, and Courier were all awesome fonts in their heyday: people put them on everything and they were much beloved. Fast forward to the 2000’s and most people have dropped the silly fonts for more clean and consistent fonts like Helvetica and Arial (and some Times New Roman too). If your resume has alternating fonts or multiple colors, it might be time to make some minor adjustments. The first (and best) change you can make, is set all the writing on your resume in one clean legible font. I feel confident in saying that no employer will see the humor in a resume written entirely in Wingdings or Dingbat. Similarly, while Chalkduster is playful and child-like…it can come off woefully childish; much like wearing a Barney the dinosaur tie into a corporate interview. If you do nothing else, make your resume all one consistent and clean font, and do it soon.

3. Check your spelling.

This might sound a bit silly, but always check you spelling every time you revise a resume. Between auto-correct, spellcheck, and whatever else is built into your word processor, there is always the off-chance that a company name, employer name, or job title can be woefully altered by accident. Always check that your name is spelled correctly , as it is the first thing an employer will see (and it just looks dumb if you mess that up). This also applies to everything else you do in your job search; check your contact’s name, check the company’s name, and check any name you’re going to have to put down in writing. Never EVER misspell an interviewer’s name in an email, and better yet, turn off spell check and do it by hand. Your resume will thank you.

I hope this helps! Happy Spring Cleaning!

Leaps of Faith: The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

The Feedback Loop

Recently, I had a fundamental moment of clarity. For months I have been driven to find ‘the job’: the one placement with the full-time title, the dream salary, and the security of knowing I would be ‘safe’ job-wise. After taking some time to think seriously how I had been approaching my job search I realized it felt like something was missing. Perhaps stuck on a feedback loop of ‘click Linkedin profile, check salary, submit resume, repeat’, my job search felt like it was becoming stagnant. After speaking with several people and asking for some solid career advice I realized my major mistake: I was too fixated on the position, and was ignoring the real factor that should have been influencing my decision, passion.

Position, Position, Position

In college, a lot of emphasis is put on ‘the job’: perfect your resume, wear the right clothes, don’t mess up your interview or you won’t land ‘the job’. Sure, wearing the perfect black pumps might help you stand out, but even the best patent leather should never outshine your passion to be a part of a company. A fundamental shift in ideology is often needed to see past the fine print and determine “Is this where I want to be”. Granted, in this economy there is more stress put on moving out, making rent, and surviving financially….if you are reading this, you are likely a recent grad, or know one who is feverishly rifling through Linkedin in a frenzied search for employment. At the core of every decision you make, you should be able to answer the question “Am I passionate about this?” If you can confidently say “Yes, I can’t imagine being anywhere else”, then taking a leap of faith on a competitive job listing might be exactly what you should be doing. Think less about your search as a quest for a position, and more as a quest for a place that fuels your passion.

Take a Leap, Keep Reaching

If at first you fall flat on your face, don’t get discouraged. Just because you can’t work for the company of your dreams today, doesn’t mean you should give up hope: follow them on social media, read the articles they post, and keep at it. If that means going out of your way to interact with them on Twitter in relevant insightful ways, do it. If you can prove you are passionate about what they do and want to be a part of it, you might just get that chance. And if your passion doesn’t catch their attention, don’t lose faith. When you are that passionate about what you do, you never know who might take notice.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone still looking!

So You Think You Can Blog?

Hipster glasses time!

As more and more people turn to blogs to share inspiration, stories, and valuable information, its only natural that there are some things new bloggers should keep in mind. In my brief experience of blogging, I’ve learned a few handy tips for building a decent audience and maximizing your blogging potential. Here are some of them:

Continue reading