A friend of mine let me know about the online course Find Your Dream Job by Ramit Sethi.
I just finished watching the main video in Module one, The Uncommon Roadmap to Finding Your Dream Job, and I was prompted to answer this question:
What was your biggest insight from Module 1, The Uncommon Roadmap to Finding Your Dream Job? (E.g. “I used to be worry about what would happen 2, 3, 4 weeks down the line, but now I know to trust the process and only focus on what’s in front of me.”)
It illuminated a lot of my processes, my weaknesses, my strengths and how I can could strengthen my processes and mindset overall. Basically, it gave me greater self-awareness into myself and what I have been doing in the job search and application process.
He mentioned the 5 Big Career Paradigm Shifts:
- Get Proactive
- Build a System
- Front-load the work
- Think about what others want
- Use Competence triggers to signal your mastery
I learned that I was doing a lot of the things right, but I was doing them at the wrong moment or not proposing them in the right manner.
“Dream job” – I’m not really sure how to define my dream job. I like doing so many things and it’s hard for me to define that doing X, Y and Z would be my dream job.
I recently applied for a job that I thought would fit the description of my dream job, at least for the most part. It was in the queer niche. It was with a respected and longtime company. I would have been paid a salary of around $60,000 to $70,000 with benefits. I would have been able to afford to move San Francisco, where the job is located, and in a great part of San Francisco. I would have gotten to work with a mainly queer staff and worn casual attire to work. The office environment looked like it promoted a team culture and they went on outings together, like to Giants games. I would have been able to travel around the world, 2 to 3 times a year. My job description would have entailed copywriting and managing their social media. I would have been able to use my creativity to meet and exceed their goals, which I would have enjoyed.
I was one of 30 people who applied for the job. A few hours after I sent in my cover letter and resume, I got a reply back asking about my salary requirements. I stated that I wanted $70,000 a year. Then I got another email scheduling a phone interview. That went great, and I scheduled an in-person interview. At that time, I was one of 5 people vying for the position. I then turned in two writing samples, and moved onto another in-person interview with the Vice President. At that time, it was between me and two to three other people for the job.
And then I received an email that they decided not to hire anyone new for the position, and that they may hold off hiring until the new year, or at a later date, and if opportunities for freelancing with them arose, would I be interested. I said yes.
I knew that I did very well with my application, my email correspondence and I knew that I completely killed my first in-person interview in the best way possible. I left that interview knowing that I had the job. It couldn’t have gone any better.
My writing samples were strong, but not my strongest. They were good enough because I went onto the next in-person interview, and that is where things went down hill. I prepared a lot for the interview and did a lot of amazing research and prep work, but I wasn’t prepared in the proper way for the next in-person interview I had, and it didn’t go as well.
After watching the video in Module one, I now have a better understanding of why I didn’t do well in my last in-person interview and where I could have improved in the overall job application process, and I now know what I do really well when applying for jobs, gigs and freelance pitches, and how I can improve on what I’m already great at.
Whenever applying for full-time jobs, short-term gigs or editing/writing gigs/assignments, I have a great percentage of hearing back from them.
I know that I’m strong in my email correspondence and connecting with people. I send out a strong resume, cover letter and pitches.
When applying for anything, I have about a 70% rate of passing onto the next step.
In the essay editing world, I have about a 95% rate of hearing back from potential clients, and a 90% rate of getting the gigs. The drawback is that they are low-paying gigs.
I know that I’m strong at crafting writing that will get a response.
When it comes to phone interviews and in-person interviews, I can either be 100% spot on, or I can be at 50%. Usually, what makes the difference between the two is my mindset and my preparedness. If I cultivate a confident mindset, that’s 50% of succeeding. And if I’m prepared, that’s the other 50%.
I always over-prepare so I feel ready and can alleviate my nerves, but sometimes I don’t prepare in the best way. For me, that’s what makes all the difference in getting a job or not. I have to really focus and pay attention to whether I’m preparing in the right way for what the job description is and for what the company or person is looking for.
Sometimes my excitement gets the best of me, and I go off on a tangent on how a person or company can fix all of their holes, but some of those solutions I’m bringing up are not always in the job description I’m applying for, and thus are irrelevant.
When I was preparing for the second in-person interview, one of my job descriptions was that of a Social Media Manager. I created outlines for different social media campaigns. I created mock social media posts for those campaigns. I outlined how to use their blog effectively to reach their targeted goals with examples of titles of posts. I also suggested creating a social media intern team to help launch their social media to the next level, and outlined that I have done this before within this niche for another company, and I already had two social media interns lined up who wanted to join, as well as connections to expand the search with colleges and online intern search avenues.
I also created a detailed outline on how to improve their online press outreach. That was one issue against me. Although I would have been writing the press releases, because that would have fit within my job description, the actual creation of a press outreach campaign was not in my job description. I should not have included that. I did because they had almost no online press outreach and the one media outlet they were connected to received minimal traffic compared to the other outlets they could be connected to (and that I could have connected them with), and the time they put into getting one article from their media partnership could have translated into 50+ articles from various outlets. What they were doing wasn’t time effective or effective in getting results.
I pitched more ideas, with actual statistics and outlines to back it up. And I already approached people, and had one of the top queer sites on board to create a unique media partnership with them.
In terms of being proactive, front-loading, building a system, thinking about what others want and using Competency Triggers to signal my mastery, I was doing an aspect of all of those things, but I wasn’t always doing it in the most appropriate manner.
I believe they asked me if I would be interested in doing freelance work for them because of all of the other ideas I proposed, but if I had spent all that time creating outlines and mockups solely focused on improving their copywriting, then I think they would have given me the full-time, salaried job instead.
I know I have the right skills, attitude and tenacity to get any job I want. I just have to apply those skills and knowledge appropriately to specifically what the job is asking me to do.
Another thing that stood out to me was seeming productive versus actually being productive. They mentioned person X spends 40 hours sending out resumes, and person B spends five hours researching the boss or hiring manager for the company they want to apply to. This concept is called front-loading, which is spending your time wisely and purposely on the right things that will get you the results you want. Even if I spent five hours researching, and within that time I didn’t apply to any jobs, and someone else spent five hours sending out resumes and applied to two to eight jobs. They may or may not get a reply, but with the research I do, when I do approach them, I would be more likely to get a reply. My research in the jobs, the company and the people would make my correspondence more targeted. That’s an example of front-loading.
That’s a great response to apply to all of life. How am I spending my time? Are my actions productive or unproductive of the results that I want? If they’re unproductive, I need to change my actions.
Another great tip – I don’t normally use the phrase, “Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with” when corresponding to people. If I have the urge to help someone, I’ll be specific. And that’s one thing Module one went over. When you email someone, “Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with,” you’re taking away time from them and creating more work for them. They have to come up with ways that you can help them.
I’ve experienced this before. Sometimes people will ask me how they could help me, and if it takes too much energy for me, and if I don’t have an answer immediately, I’ll ask for nothing. Because time is a precious resource, and if I already have X, Y and Z planned out for my day, trying to find a way for someone to help me may be counterproductive.
When I do need help with things, I like to outline ahead of time specific ways in which people can help me, so when someone does ask me that question, I can give them a specific and quick response. Otherwise, it’s draining.
When I approach people that I want to work with or help, I tell them specifically what I can do for them. That takes away all the work for them, and they can either accept or decline my help.
When pitching publications, I get the best responses when I am direct. The more vague I am, the more time is wasted. The same with scheduling interviews for publications or communicating with PR people. If I say what time works for you? It creates more email exchanges. Instead, I say, “X and Y days between X and Y time works for me. Let me know what day and time works for you.” That will give me a specific response.
Even though I already knew to be direct, instead of vague when communicating with people, it gave me a great idea when applying for jobs.
I already do a lot of prep work and research when applying to jobs, but I don’t always include it in the cover letter or pitch, and that’s what Module one suggested.
Their example, paraphrased, was, “Look at what hiring managers need, and show them what you can do for them. Be specific and target their needs. If you notice a website is making more videos and you see how you can improve something they’re doing, like converting their video files into a faster format, which would increase usability on their website, then in the pitch email, say that, and provide a few videos from their website that you already converted, and say that you would love to help them with that specific task.
Those were big takeaways for me from going over the main video in Module one of Find Your Dream Job.