Learn how to optimize the entry-level job search in our 2020 reality.
It is not only BookPal’s mission, but our joy to connect with, learn from, and grow as a result of conversations with authors about their new and forthcoming books. That’s why we were elated to connect with Alexa Shoen, founder and CEO of #ENTRYLEVELBOSS—an online education program—and author of a book by the same name.
Alexa is on a mission to share her #ENTRYLEVELBOSS methodology with as many alumni, recent graduates, and career centers as possible so students can enter the workforce fully equipped with her 9-step guide to job-hunting. With new challenges facing job-seekers due to COVID-19, she sat down with the BookPal team to share 5 shifts you need to keep in mind while job-hunting, no matter where you are in your career.
Shift #1: Target industries strategically, and identify opportunities.
Though it may not be a great time to try and get a job in travel and tourism amid COVID-19 concerns, look for industries and roles where you can bring a fresh perspective. For example, real estate agents are pivoting their home preview and open house opportunities to online and virtual tour events. So if your heart is set on a role within this industry, you can still go after it. Just keep Alexa’s advice in mind:
Be flexible. The best thing that you can do is move quickly on the opportunities as you see them, and strategically pick the industry – knowing that the faster you do so, the better – as you’ll be getting there earlier than the next person.
Shift #2: Organize your job search in the most effective way possible.
It’s important to think about what you are passionate about and what kind of role you really want. Saying you’re looking for a marketing job is too vague. Alexa suggests, “get really specific about what you want…play Mad Libs and create your elevator pitch for your desired role.” Alexa does a deep-dive into this part of the job-hunting process in her book #ENTRYLEVELBOSS, but as a brief overview, start your job search by crafting clear, specific answers to the following four questions:
- What kind of role do you want?
- What industry do you want to be in?
- Where do you want to work (geographically)?
- How do YOU help a company save time and increase profit on the P&L?
Shift #3: Hack your skillset and create your own DIY internships.
This is super important for educators, specifically. Encouraging students to teach themselves how to do new tasks and learn new programs or skills is crucial for their success. Students are working toward and completing degrees, which is a very important endeavor. But Alexa says, “you can’t get hung up on getting ‘official’ experience.”
Instead, she suggests students reach out to their local churches, nonprofits, or friends-and-family businesses to learn on-the-job. This kind of outreach not only shows you took initiative, but also that you got the experience before even applying for and getting the job. It’s a win-win!
Shift #4: Network even when you can’t leave the house.
Networking is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s not a choice; in fact, networking is the most efficient and effective path to employment, and it can happen from anywhere. It can happen in your Twitter DM’s, your LinkedIn chat window, even cold emails of people working at the place you want to work. Alexa’s book has plenty of email templates and tips to help you get started so your networking game doesn’t have to suffer while you stay home.
It is who you know, but you can know anyone. Many people may be concerned about their background, not knowing the ‘right’ people or going to the ‘right’ school. This is no longer the case – you can know anyone because we are all so connected now more than ever.
Shift #5: Stay sane and positive when it’s really tempting to freak out.
You have to break down the process and measure progress based on connections and not job applications. Avoid spending three hours scrolling LinkedIn and blasting out resumes and cover letters for jobs you aren’t even really interested in. Take the time to breathe and see who you know, who you can reach out to, and who can connect you with someone who can help you. Alexa suggests you “divide your to-do list into 20-minute chunks…break up your tasks and avoid the overwhelm and uncertainty that can come with the job search.”
To watch the entire Chat with Alexa Shoen, check out the video below. Plus, did you know—the University of Notre Dame Career Center will be doing their own #ENTRYLEVELBOSS book club! School districts in California and Texas are also looking at Alexa’s new book as their go-to resource for their career centers and counselors. To purchase 25+ copies of Alexa’s book #ENTRYLEVELBOSS: How To Get Any Job You Want for your own career center or alumni and graduate group, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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This post was written by Karlyn Hixson, Director of Strategic Partnerships & Editorial at BookPal. She is currently reading How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.