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The Importance of Networking.

I just want to take this moment to apologize for my brief absence. As you may have read in my earlier post, I was in the process of moving. Well, fortunately, I am all finished and moved in. Hello, Century City, I hope you bitches are ready for me. Not really, I’m a mere speck in this giant city. On a good note, I found a hidden gem down the street from my new apartment and that gem is a 24-hour Pho Restaurant. Can I get a ‘HALLELUJAH’?! I can already see it. It’s 3am in the morning. I’m drunk. I’m starving. Pho to the rescue. Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. A few of you all too well. It really is amazing what this city has to offer. I’ve been here all my life and I learn something new almost everyday. I really mean it when I say I Love LA. Anyway, I digress.

I guess for this post, I really wanted to focus on implementing and understanding the importance of networking. There’s two spectrums to this: one being you’re completely satisfied with where you are professionally and the other being you fucking hate your job and need out. Networking is a key ingredient in exposing yourself whether or not you are on the search for a new job. I mean, do I really need to explain in detail? The more people you meet, the more outreach you get. You have to think about the ROI of it all. I know, this must all sound like gibberish to you right now but it truly is a simple concept. The more you allow yourself to ‘network’, the better chances of having a positive return in investment, or in this case, a better opportunity. If you happen to be happy with where you are on a professional level, then BOOM, a better chance of landing a new client. I can’t stress how important it is to be able to hold yourself gracefully in public. Yes, I curse. I burp. Sometimes I even chew with my mouth open. But you sure as hell won’t catch me doing any of those things when I’m in a professional environment. You can’t expect things to just happen or the perfect job to just come along and tap you on the ass. You have to try before shit like that ever happens.

Recently, I’ve taken it upon myself to one up my LinkedIn profile and I honestly would have never imagined the positive outcome it’s given me. I’ve been searching for a new firm and cannot even begin to fathom the great feedback I’ve been receiving. It isn’t a lot but it’s something. You have to start somewhere, right? Not only is it a great way to keep in touch with colleagues but it’s also a great way to get a company you’re interested in to notice you. It allows you to really show off what you’ve achieved and what you know. This is where showing off is encouraged. Were you on the honor society? Put that shit on there. Did you volunteer at the animal shelter? Put that shit on there. Were you an eagle scout? Put that shit on there. Did you graduate summa cum laude? Put. That. Shit. On. There. So, my point is: Update your LinkedIn, it’ll do a world of difference in your professional life. A lot of companies now have so many resources that you can’t possibly hide everything. Be aware of what you put out in the public eye. In my opinion, your LinkedIn profile should be one of the top three sites that pop-up when you type your name into a search engine aside from your Google+ and Facebook (Questionable but fuck it, who doesn’t have a FB nowadays? Remember, privacy setting is your best friend. Learn its ways. Embrace it. Use it.) I highly recommend hiding anything that may present you negatively, unless your blog or social profile is what may score you that media job. I get it, different fields, different requirements. Just be smart about it. Delete or change the privacy of that video on youtube of you farting into a lighter. I don’t care what justifications you have, they will not hire you because you can breathe fire out of your ass. Ask yourself this: Would you hire you? If you were a recruiting agent for a Fortune 500 company and you stumbled upon your profile, would you reach out? If not, then you, my friend, have some work to do.

Another great way to network is to attend any publicity event you can get into. No, I don’t mean go hit up that hot new club. What I mean is, put yourself out there and introduce yourself to people whenever you can. I shouldn’t have to go into detail about this- you should know what I mean if you have any ounce of care about your professional career. If one of your buddies invites you to that ‘work event‘, GO! I’m always carrying around business cards with me wherever I go and it’s done me very well these past couple of years. I believe that the first 15 seconds in any first encounter, whether online or in person, is the most vital time for any professional to market and sell themselves. You want to leave a positive lasting impression on this individual. Don’t ramble on with some sale pitch. Get to know this person. Find a way to connect with them on a more personal level and I promise they will instantly feel comfortable with you. The moment you break that barrier between creepy new acquaintance and someone their actually comfortable with, it’s smooth sailings from then on out. Whatever you do, do not force the situation– there is a time and place for everything. Choose those times and places wisely. You don’t want to go on and on about how awesome you are to someone and ultimately leave them with a nasty taste in their mouths about you. That, is not networking. That, buddy, is being a prick. You want to avoid that. By the way, word travels fast, very fast. You’d be surprised at just how much gossip goes on behind closed doors. People be bitches, yo. Speak intelligently and respectfully.

Also, I’ve learned that if you’re in the beginning stages of job searching, interview as much as you can. Break in your interview nerves and prepare yourself because if you happen to be anything like me, you’ll botch your first few interviews. Oh, the horror stories! Sweaty palms. Nervous tick. Bouncing leg. One time, I accidentally flirted with the CEO of a large firm and his wife was in the office. I had no clue what was coming out of my mouth. I think I might have blacked out or something. I didn’t get the job.

Btw, just a rule of thumb: Do not drink caffeine before an interview. You should always have a cup of coffee a few hours prior to any important meeting or interview. You don’t want to be all hyped up and jittery the entire time, especially if in front of someone you’re trying to impress.

Remember that everything I’ve said isn’t a solution to all your problems. It’s simply steps you can take that may just help you towards scoring that dream job. But I’m not making any promises here. If you’ve been doing all of this and more, just keep in mind this: One day, the opportunity will present itself- it’s up to you to recognize it and go for it. Be able to recognize potential in all situations and don’t be afraid to jump on that shit like a lioness preying on a gazelle.

I hope this shed some light on a few of you readers. If you happen to have a question about interviewing or anything related to job searching, go ahead and email them to me. I welcome all questions and feedback.

I hope all of you are doing well.

Blair Bee

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Listen up, Young Grasshopper.

On the hunt for that dream job? Spent hours drafting the perfect cover letter? Emailed that ridiculous, grammatically perfect cover letter to anyone and everyone that may just look twice at it? Ready to give that phone interview a whirl? Well, before you go any further, listen up.

So many of you young professionals get so hyped up when you come close to scoring that dream job that it’s honestly, kind of depressing to watch sometimes. I’m sorry to break it to you, young grasshopper, but unless you have at least 5+ years of experience in your field, you are a mere pawn in this game of chess. You may get lucky and just score that dream job but lets be real here, the chances of something like that happening is slim to none. So before that head of yours gets any bigger, you need to hear this: You are not the crème de la crème. You are not the pièce de résistance. You, my little grasshopper, are nothing. I get it, that young undergraduate mind of yours is going through a state of ambivalence between telling yourself what you think you’re worth to what you’re actually worth.

This is my advice- You will get turned down. Your résumé will get thrown out. You will not get a response. You will get treated like a child. You will spend hours applying with no luck. You will hate everyone that’s happy at their job. You will feel like a failure. You will feel lost. You will hate LinkedIn. You will hate every company that sends you an email that begins with ‘After careful consideration, we have decided to not…‘ (LOL, I’m sorry, but seriously, I know all of you young and old professionals out there know that line much too well). With all of your being, you will feel like giving up. Don’t.

The key to success: If you know you’re whole-heartedly trying your best, success will come. 

The perfect opportunity will one day present itself, it’s up to you to know when to jump for it. I know this is a broad statement, especially in regards to job hunting, but if you embrace it, you’ll soon understand its simple meaning. Failure is inevitable but believe it or not, it’s something we all experience. Even the most successful individuals have failed at some point in their lives. It’s up to us to have the ability to learn from our failures and hardships.

‘I haven’t failed. I graduated at the top of my class. Still, no one wants to hire me. Am I overqualified? Do they just have something against me? Are they just pretending to hire to see who and what is out there?’

First of all, stop being naive. You graduated. Yay. Good job. Do you want a gold star for that? For being at the top of only your class. You didn’t graduate on top of the world. Get over yourself.

Put yourself out there. Work an entry-level job. Distribute mail. Go on an endless amount of coffee runs. Hit rock bottom. The moment you hit rock bottom, is the moment you truly learn to appreciate hard work. You need to realize that you are never too good, too big, or too smart to lose. It will happen and you will learn from it. Whatever industry you work in, whatever shitface boss you have to deal with you- take everything with a grain of salt. As shitty as you may feel in the moment, you will eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel. Try like fucking hell and never give up. Yes, you might be a little under-qualified right now but hey, the more interviews you on, the more you learn. Shit, sooner or later, you’ll be able to fake it until you make it.

Lately, I’ve seen too many college graduates come out of college acting like they fucking deserve that dream job that other professionals have worked their entire lives for. Shut up, sit down, and be patient. I know this post is kind of harsh but trust me, everything I’m saying right now is in your best interest. 

Because honestly, there are no secrets to success. It is the result of persistence, preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Hard work is success perfected.

So, go on with your broke self, young grasshopper. You do you. Just don’t give up and remember this, the sale aisle will never judge you and you aren’t as qualified as you think. Ramen on, my friend.

By the way, in addition to being perfect on paper- Always, and I mean ALWAYS, practice your voicemail voice. I cannot stress how important it is to be able to leave a well-thought-out and well-spoken voicemail. Why? Because I’ve deleted about 10 voicemails today alone because the individual didn’t have one fucking clue how to repeat their callback number. A voicemail should be coherent and to the point. Don’t make it lengthy but don’t talklikeurinatotalhurry. Stay calm and if you can, choose to hear the playback. A rule of thumb: Before calling any professional, prepare what you’ll say in the event it goes to voicemail. You will thank me for this later. 

Blair Bee

How I Figured Out I Was Unhappy With My Job.

It wasn’t because my boss was a complete jackass.

It wasn’t because I stopped taking the initiative.

It wasn’t because I stopped asking questions.

It wasn’t my lack of passion.

It wasn’t because I gained 10 lbs due to work-related stress. (Actually, this is questionable)

It wasn’t because my work-life balance was basically a teeter-totter on crack.

It wasn’t because I felt like my skills weren’t being utilized to their full potential.

It was because my snooze button was my best friend. 

I ‘woke’ up every single morning with my finger on my iPhone snooze button. Not only did my brain program itself to automatically snooze, but it came to the point where I didn’t even have to open my eyes or fully awaken from my slumber. It wasn’t that I was suffering from lack of sleep (I’m one to always get my full 8 hours) but it was rather I felt happier in my dream world than my real world. And that, my friends, is problematic. Yes, dreams can be awesome and adventurous, but your life can be just that too. After many jobs and many snoozes later, I realized that a tell-tale sign to Get The Fuck Up And Look For A New Job is the amount of times I hit my snooze button. We all do it, but to what extent? How long are you willing to suffer that annoying, gut-wrenching alarm before you finally get up and begin to take the initiative? Because come on, that son of a bitch sound (yes, I’m talking to you ‘Alarm’ on iOS) can sure be a little jackass, am I right? I’m sure there’s a handful of you who have no idea what I’m talking about but I’m also sure there’s a handful of you out there that know exactly what I’m talking about. So, back to my point, are you still trying to figure out if you’re happy or unhappy at work? Here is what I do: I ask myself this- How many times am I willing to snooze before I actually get up? 1-3? I think I may be in the clear. 4+? I think it’s time I brush up that LinkedIn of mine…free premium upgrade? SCORE!

Blair Bee

(Just FYI, those “It wasn’t’s” up there can also be tell-tale signs to stop being a lazy fuck and start taking control of your professional life)