By Leslie King
I was fired from my job a year ago without warning because of a company-wide reduction in strength. I had only been with this startup company for six months and had only recently had the experience of finding a job. With all the layoffs that are currently taking place in the COVID-19 era, I wanted to share some of the lessons I learned at the time, along with helpful tips for finding a new job.
To be suddenly released was certainly a shock and had an emotional impact on me. I recommend anyone experiencing a layoff to take some time to clear their minds and find ways to reduce stress. Try to find a hobby or something to share your time looking for a job with. All day job hunting and interviews, every day is really stressful for you, so it's important to take your time. When I was released, I decided to learn to sew and it was a great way to reconcile the exhausting effects of finding a job with a new pastime that I was looking forward to and that helped me to feel calm.
Although I recognize that the current situation we are facing has particular circumstances and challenges that are currently making it difficult to find work, I hope that some of my findings can be helpful to others.
1. Update your LinkedIn profile
First, you should review, update, and improve your LinkedIn profile:
- Add bullets that describe your roles and responsibilities in each of your previous companies.
- Make sure that your job titles and dates are correct.
- Make sure your slogan is updated.
- Update the summary section to indicate what you did. If you're looking openly (currently not busy), add what you're looking for at your next opportunity.
- Enable the "Let Recruiters Know That You Are Open" feature by going to "Jobs> Career Interests" and adding a note to recruiters about what you're looking for.
2. Build your network
While it is good practice to focus on building your network throughout your career, you can use LinkedIn to expand your network. LinkedIn is most useful when you can use your network, and that means that everyone you are connected to is a 2nd degree connection to everyone it is connected to.
Search and invite as many LinkedIn connections as possible from previous employees. Also add personal contacts. This may even mean that you went to school with people and have not spoken to them for many years, as long as it is someone you may be happy to contact and ask for an introduction. Anyone you know who works in your industry / area or in your city can be helpful. Especially in these difficult times, it can be assumed that most of the connections are ready to help, since everyone understands the struggle to be released during this pandemic.
3. Purchase and use of LinkedIn Premium
I know it sounds irritating to spend $ 60 a month on LinkedIn. However, it was the most useful tool with which I found a job. Ideally, you only need it for a few months and then get a job. Think of it as an investment in yourself.
The most effective way to get company interviews is to receive an internal referral from a current employee. Here is my strategy for this: First, use Google to search for job postings. For example: "Events Manager jobs in San Francisco." Google will retrieve results from all job exchanges on the Internet. When you've found a job you're interested in, with LinkedIn Premium do the following:
- Search for the company on LinkedIn, click on "Show all XX employees here" and filter the results by 1st and 2nd degree connections. To do this, you need LinkedIn Premium because without LinkedIn Premium only the first employees of the company are shown and you get the message "You have to upgrade to Premium to see the rest".
- If you saw a job posting on an external website, go to that company's careers page and make sure you see the job posting there. Here you will find the most precise information. Unfortunately, many companies leave old job postings even after they have been filled. When searching, I often filter for jobs that have been posted in the past week to get the latest entries.
- If you have 1st degree connections on LinkedIn, contact them and ask them to refer you to the job. Always add a link to the job description. It is best to wait for them to respond before submitting a resume, unless you know it well and are sure that its answer is yes. (Sample message: "Jim, I am interested in applying for the role [insert job title and link to job posting] that I saw under [insert company name]. Would you be willing to recommend me for this position? I can send my CV. Thank you!" )
- If you have no 1st degree connections, but some 2nd degree connections, networking starts here. Depending on how well you know the person you are connected to, you can send a message to the connection and ask for an introduction. (Example message: "Hey Tina, how well do you know [2nd-degree connection name] at [company name]? I see a job advertisement there that I want to apply for and I wonder if you know him / her well enough that you are me ready to give an introduction or to pass on my resume. ")
- Then wait for an answer. Do not wait more than 24 hours before proceeding to the next 2nd degree connection if you have more than one. If it's a job you really want, send 2-3 messages at a time and go with the one who responds first.
- If you do not know your connection very well and do not want to be introduced, "InMail" comes into play here. InMail is a premium LinkedIn feature that allows you to send a message to someone you have not yet connected to. InMail works by charging you an InMail to send a message to someone you are not connected to. However, if he responds at all (regardless of what he says), you will get this credit back. LinkedIn Premium comes with 30 InMails per month.
- Here is an example InMail message to someone I was connected to 2nd grade: “Hi, Molly. I came across your profile when I looked at a job advertisement for [job title and link] at [company name]. I noticed that we have a lot of connections to people with whom I went to school. So I thought I'd get in touch and see if you were ready to chat about the company and maybe share my resume. Thank you so much! "
- In my experience, almost everyone who answers (not all, but most) is really willing to help. Everyone knows the struggle to find a new job and most people are happy to help. In addition, many companies are now offering referral bonuses, which is a great incentive for connections to recommend you.
- Use this person when they seem ready. When you get a first interview with the company, send them a thank you message that updates them and ask them if they are ready to chat on the phone for 10 minutes while asking them some questions about the company. Inside perspective is very valuable! Anything you don't understand about the company or have questions about top competitors / customers is great.
- You also want to use the feature on LinkedIn that lets you see who viewed your profile (although some people choose to remain anonymous). The reason why this is a useful tool that is only available with LinkedIn Premium is that if you have clicked on a ton of 2nd degree connections in a company and are then notified that one of them is "looking at you back" this is a perfect opportunity to send an InMail to that person as it is basically an invitation to explain why you viewed their profile.
- Another helpful LinkedIn premium feature is the suggested jobs based on your searches. This is helpful because the job title is sometimes a little different than what you were looking for, but the job description is just right.
4. Be active on LinkedIn
It is important to be active on LinkedIn. Best practices include:
- Comment / messages from people when they update a new job or share an article.
- "Like" or comment on an article that will be published.
- Post articles or blog posts that you may have written or that you find useful or interesting for your network.
- If you are openly looking for a new job, you can create a post with relevant hashtags that states what you are looking for. Some good hashtags are: #Renting #Recruiting #Startups #Layoff #Marketingjobs #Jobs
- Here is a photo of my LinkedIn post for reference. This was the most popular thing I have ever posted on the Internet. Thousands of people have informed me about jobs for me or my colleagues. After everything was said and done, the job I ended up with at Databricks came from someone who had marked the department head for events in this post.
5. Revise your resume
I learned that it is important to revise your resume. Here are some suggestions:
- Look at the descriptions of your top 10 dream jobs and use these words to describe what you are doing as often as possible. Recruiters often search for keywords. So try to be as close as possible to a match.
- Try to keep the bullets in line whenever you can – it's easier to read.
- Start each ball with an action word.
- Have someone give you solid feedback on your resume, ideally a professional. My friend Asis Campos designed my resume and helped a lot with the editing of promotional items (he is now open to doing so for a small fee – contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested).
- Have someone outside the industry read your resume. This can help you eliminate unnecessary jargon and make it more readable
- If you choose jobs that are even slightly different from your background, write a cover letter linking the points of past experience and their relevance for this job.
6. Prepare for the interview
If you are lucky enough to get an interview, you need to prepare yourself thoroughly for it. Here are some suggestions:
Research the company thoroughly before you call the recruiter
- Look them up on Crunchbase, Glassdoor, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
- Write down the names of the leadership team for the company and department for which you are interviewing. Take notes on fundraising, the company's mission, etc.
- Read the company's website carefully: blog, event pages, etc. Try to understand the company's products and target audience.
- Watch YouTube videos that the company has produced, particularly those that explain the product, but also all of the videos that the CEO could use to speak.
- If you find someone you know who has used the company's product, contact them and ask them questions. What do you like? What problems does it solve for them? Are their weaknesses resolved? Are there product features that you want to create? Use these answers when you ask "Why are you interested in this company?" Put. It is very impressive to show that you have done everything to speak to a customer.
Prepare tailored answers to questions you are likely to receive.
- Find the question "Tell me about your background". Find out the best examples of things that you did in previous companies that are most relevant to this job.
- Here is an example of the type of details you should provide: "When I started at PlanGrid, they had two branded happy hours. After I became a program member and became a program manager, my responsibilities included Training and the ability for sales to produce these events with minimal marketing involvement, and I would also help find venues, catering, marketo campaigns, and loot orders. When I left PlanGrid, we had grown and produced dramatically worldwide over 10 of these events per month. "
- Have you always prepared an answer for "Why are you interested in this company?" Question.
- Read the company's mission statement and try to link part of its language with your answer.
- Provide your reasons for joining the company as personally as possible. Instead of talking about why the company's product or business is good, talk about your personal relationship with it. If it's an app, use it and talk about it. For example: “I used your app in my last job and I really liked these aspects, which made my job very easy. I also thought that these aspects could get better and I can help the whole product and company to get better. "
- If you can speak to a customer, use their responses to your advantage.
- Read this article, which lists the 40 most frequently asked questions about the interview, and how you could answer them.
When asked why you left / left a previous company, always give it a positive rating.
- Never disclose that you were unsatisfied with a boss or team member.
- Use phrases like "It's a great opportunity to follow ____".
- A frequently asked question is: "Tell me about a time when things weren't going as planned and how you got over it." Make sure you find some relevant stories based on past experiences.
Conduct a sham interview
Consider doing a practice interview with friends or family members (especially if you have experience interviewing employees yourself). The exercise will be helpful and give you more confidence. Ask for feedback on your answers, your body language and your willingness. Let the sham interviewer ask both common and unusual questions to see how well you can think on your feet.
When you speak to a recruiter for the first time
Have a list of questions about the company. Here are some examples of questions you should always ask:
- How many people are in the company?
- How many people are special in the team?
- Who reports the role?
- Is this a new role or is it replacing someone?
- What is the compensation area?
- If the company is a startup, how well financed is it?
7. Find a way to stand out during your interview
It is important to distinguish yourself from all other candidates. For me, this meant creating a two-sided, double-sided document that contained various ideas for improving the company as well as creative ideas for events at the top, middle, and bottom of the marketing funnel. On the back of the page I outlined my strategy for my first 30 days in the company. I found that bringing something that I had prepared and that I did not have to prepare beforehand helped me to look well organized and to be particularly interested in the role.
8. Prepare clever questions for your interview
For face-to-face interviews, find the people on LinkedIn that you will be interviewing and prepare specific questions that are tailored to each of them. Here are some general questions:
- Who do you see as the most threatening competitor of your company?
- Are there any growth opportunities in this position? How do you see team growth?
- Tell me about the structure of the team.
- What is the cadence of communication / meetings?
- Tell me about your customer profile. Who are you aiming for? What are their specific titles?
- How do you see the growing number of employees next year?
- What were the marketing challenges for this target group?
- What do you like most about working for the company?
- What is the most difficult aspect of this job for you?
- How can you measure the success of the person in this role?
- Where are the key areas where we work together / where you need support?
- What weaknesses did you see in scaling up the company?
- In your opinion, what is the greatest need for improvement both within the marketing team and within the company?
- Tell me about the onboarding process – what is it like to familiarize yourself with the product / space?
9. Carefully address the salary question
Be ready to talk about the salary, but try to avoid saying a number or range first. If the recruiter asks you about your reach, answer something in this direction:
- “The most important thing for me is that I find a role and a company that I'm looking forward to. Perhaps you could give me an idea of the salary range for this role and I can let you know if this corresponds to what I have seen elsewhere. "
- Only if the salary range they share is lower than the one you made or lower than that other companies offer, should you disclose figures. If it is a company that you are really looking forward to, but the salary is a bit low, state the number you have / received as an offer and try to negotiate in advance to see if it is possible to get closer to your desired salary
10. Don't be shy to ask for help
I would do the following differently if I was looking for a job:
- Check out this list of different companies and their current hiring status – hiring, firing, or implementing a hiring freeze.
- Find local Facebook groups near you that post job ads and recommendations, and may also offer a mentoring partner pairing program. Here is the group that I like for the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a new job and tell them the type of companies and titles that you are most interested in. Make public contributions in all your social media accounts and address people individually. Now is not the time to be shy – it is time for people to join together and help each other. People cannot help you unless you ask for help. This includes getting information about what you're looking for.
About the Author
Leslie King is a senior events specialist at Databricks, a software, data and AI company in San Francisco. Databricks helps companies prepare their data for analysis, enables data science and data-driven decisions and quickly takes over machine learning. Leslie's experience includes live and virtual events and conferences, advertising, branding, e-commerce and marketing. She is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in advertising. She is available on LinkedIn and is happy to refer to vacancies on the Databricks careers page (currently in several departments worldwide).