“It’s no secret that you’re looking for a job”, that’s what my career adviser told me when I met her last week. And I felt that statement is the underlying theme of what I have been doing for the past month since restarting my job search.
But first a little back story of how this all came to be. Earlier this year, I started off my internship search in late January. That lasted up until the middle of May. In the period of about 5 months, I applied to about 300 openings through LinkedIn, Indeed, Handshake, ZipRecruiter, Moster and Glassdoor.
Out of those applications, I got about a dozen responses for an interview and only a handful offered me a role. Most of them were unpaid roles so I didn’t end up taking up their offer as I had to also think about getting work authorization which costs money.
So, as I ended my search towards the end of May, I did a little reflection on the applications I submitted and had a chat with my peer career adviser about the outcomes and processes that I took when I was searching for an internship.
The most immediate thing that stood out was that I started out late. I was playing the late game in terms of looking for internships as a lot of good openings have been filled out in the Fall semester. Another thing is that I lacked the networking experience as I was basically blindly applying.
I did customize my cover letters and my resume was in tip top condition as I have it reviewed by several parties including Intel and Amazon. So, looking back, I would definitely peg the failure of this first round of job searching to my lack of having a strong network of people.
I did however, gave it my best shot as I went to more career fairs than I did it all 4 semesters that I have been at ASU. I even went ahead and designed my personal namecard to look more professional and also did some shopping to get some fresh new outfits.
But looking back, I believe I could’ve done even better. And with that came the inspiration to reassess the mistakes/shortcomings that I faced during season 1 and embracing the pseudo-failure into my motivation to gain excellence.
Episode 1: Networking
Over the next 6 months, I hope to write an entry every other month or maybe even frequent depending on the progress.
I started out this new season of job searching with the thing that ‘brought me down’. That is, networking. And one of the first things that I did was to sign up for LinkedIn Premium, the service offered by the social media site that unlocks a lot of insights to different things such as job listings and company portfolios.
I shelled out money that I earned through my student worker job to fund my year long subscription of LinkedIn Premium. It was a commitment that I was willing to make as I will definitely reap the benefits of the service and hopefully it will be worth my money. And on a good note, it also comes with LinkedIn Learning which uses the content from Lynda.com.
Speaking of LinkedIn Learning, I felt that the courses are good. They’re not perfect but they have some good starter courses to kick-start my interest in certain topics. Like recently, I completed a course about the basics of Blockchain technology. But one of the first courses that I completed on LinkedIn Learning titled ‘J.T. O’Donnell on Making Recruiters Come to You‘ resonated a lot for me throughout my networking journey so far.
It’s a great course and if you have LinkedIn Learning, I would recommend you to take a look at it or if you don’t you can follow her YouTube channel Work It Daily that has some good career advice.
Moving back to the networking part, I started reaching out to alumni by adding a note with my connection requests and I got amazing results. The responses were great and I had good conversations and received some personalized career advice from people that had similar experiences.
I even managed to have a phone call with about half a dozen of my new alumni connections to talk about strategies and things that I needed to keep in mind when applying for full-time positions. The phone calls usually last upwards of 30 minutes and I was genuinely grateful for their time as some of them sneaked in my call during their breaks.
Soon, after I started reaching out to recruiters and employees of the companies that I was interested in to expand upon my network. The results is a hit or miss but that didn’t stop me from doing it.
If there’s one thing I learn about making connections on LinkedIn is that anything can happen. As long as I am willing to make that first step in introducing myself and getting my name out there, people are willing to help out. It is a little awkward at times but the more I do it, the more I learn.
I can’t deny, it is a great learning experience talking to different people. It’s very counter-intuitive compared to other social media platforms where my strategy is to only make friends with people that I actually know. But with LinkedIn, there’s whole world of possibilities to make yourself relevant to just about everyone whether it may be through interest or background.
I’ll stop this first episode at about here. The next stage of the process is to navigate through my interests to find out what I really want to do.
If you are a recruiter or know someone looking for Computer Science talent, send me a quick email at [email protected] and my resume is always up-to date on my website dickwyn.xyz