Previously I wrote several articles on job hunting and career advancement but today I would like to share with you a couple of new insights that I have gathered over the past few months that particularly address HOW NOT TO FALL INTO THE TRAPS of so-called job hunting tips. You probably know many of these already, or you may be doing exactly the opposite of these, but it’s okay. These ideas should become common sense to you after you finish reading this piece, so bear with me.
Recruiters are only helpful when they need you, not when you need them!
The No.1 myth about job hunting is that “headhunters are angels and they will help you to land your next dream job”. Not exactly. First you need to understand how they actually profit from their job. They don’t earn any money from you directly but if the firm decides to hire you then they get paid by the firm. Which means, they will ONLY WANT TO HELP YOU if they think (or better yet, are certain) that you have a very good chance of getting the job! So if you are desperately in need of a job or you don’t necessarily have a strong profile or you behave as if you are hesitant, insecure, and not-that-confident, then the recruiters have absolutely no incentive to help you get connected (it’s sad but that’s the hard truth). This is exactly why you will ALWAYS get the most headhunter calls when you are still at your CURRENT JOB. If you already have a job, which means you are hirable, it immediately makes you more attractive. Does that make sense?
So if you have quitted your previous job or that you just graduated from b-school, you should honestly focus your time, as much as you can, away from recruiters. The only exception is that, i.e. on your LinkedIn profile you have already exhibited a proven strong track record of consistent top performance at multiple big firms, then whether or not you are currently employed is less of an issue.
BEING AN ASSOCIATE is an awkward stage in your professional life; and I think you would agree with me on this. It’s like being a sophomore in college: All of a sudden you don’t receive as much attention as those excited-about-everything Freshmen anymore; at the same time you are still not “experienced” or “qualified” enough to apply to those internships/programs specifically designed for Junior and Seniors.
A couple of examples in line with this:
- In Objective Settings you are expected to use language like “take a leadership role in this project”, but you should be very cautious with language like “managing the project or the team” – Right, if you (being an Associate) are managing the team, why do they need a Director?
- The VP who used to be your supervisor now reports to the same boss as you do. But while the VP is participating in management training programs, you are left behind doing the VP’s job.
- You are responsible for the quality of the work done by your Analyst but he/she doesn’t report to you, so most of the times, he/she doesn’t give a sh** of what you say or intend to have him/her do.
- Let me STRESS that all the above don’t happen often at all in my own case, but nevertheless I guarantee you this is quite universal otherwise.
I consider myself as lucky to be on this assignment overseas. Read more…
I really want to hear your insights on how to follow up with people I just met with such as alumni or high profile people. After the first acquaintance, I usually don’t know what to say to them through email or phone since we barely see each other. At the same time, I’m afraid that too many emails of questions or holiday wishes would annoy them. But I want to make a good impression because I may need their help at some point. Would you please elaborate how you maintain the relationship with your contacts?
Thank you – N
Another great question from Ask Danye, you guys are really awesome awesome inspirations! And I want to reassure you that the very fact you are writing this email to me means you take initiatives and that you are on the right track: yes, you do need to reach out to people BEFORE you actually need help from them. And here’s how to do it:
- Make it extremely easy for them
- Keep it very short (the 3 steps)
- Watch your tone (some do’s and don’ts)
- Write it already
Make it extremely easy for them
Senior people are busy people, so if you want them to do just about anything in the world, you need to make it super easy for them. I recently coordinated with HR, Yale Alums at my firm, and Women Initiatives for an informational/networking/recruiting event with Smart Woman Securities, a women organization from Yale. I pushed very hard for the event to happen obviously since we don’t really recruit on campus, and there’s tons of coordination work. But I got affirmative response from EVERY SINGLE person I reached out to and everyone is super excited to help me, even Harvard alums!
You can easily identify a narcissistic person by the following 2 qualities:
- When a narcissistic person tells you how good he is, like he’s a number 9 out of 10, he really believes he’s a number 9; he will never secretly feel he’s only a number 7 but will behave as if he’s a number 9. He truly firmly profoundly fundamentally believes that he’s a number 9.
- When you give compliment to a narcissistic person, no matter how exaggerating and ridiculous your compliments are, he will always happily accept it – he would probably not use language like “I’m flattered”; instead he is likely to respond something like, “I totally agree with you”, or “I think you’re totally right about me”.
Nice blog! Very informative and definitely helpful to me who is approaching graduation in a few months.
I read several articles of yours and wonder if you have talked about how to stand out in a conversation/info session where people are beyond talkative. I mean, I don’t think I’m a quiet person but I got frustrated at times when I couldn’t break into a conversation because they talk non-stop. Any tips to out-talk these people or be memorable in a good way (through talking etc)?
Thanks – K
I received the above message through Ask Danye a couple of days ago. Great great question, and probably quite a popular concern among many us young professionals and particularly women and internationals. So let me go through my thought process with you regarding this issue, and share some practical tips you can apply to your situation right away.
5 Practical Tips on BREAKING INTO A CONVERSATION
1. Understand your goals
It is important to understand, first of all, that you don’t always have to break into a conversation, especially if this very process gives you mental pressure. You should only focus on the situations when people are discussing important stuff (of course you need to decide what is important for you), and you should only even TRY to break into it when you actually have something important to say. Read more…
This article applies to many scenarios outside of work as well, just as a FYI. Ok, so I happen to love all my managers across teams, but I realized only recently that this is a very rare case.
Most people don’t really like their manager. And by boss/managers I mean those who are higher (even slightly higher) up than you along the corporate hierarchy. After all, he/she is the person who gives you shitty work, or who decides whether your next project will be actually high-profile, or who complains when you are late in the morning or you leave before your analyst at night, and probably the scariest part of all, who runs your performance evaluation and determines your bonus.
You are lucky if you have a manager half as friendly, reasonable and approachable as mine (seriously), but chances are you don’t have one like that. So you are scared of your manager, one way or another. Managers, on the other hand, may have given up on being likable either. I am not saying this is the right thing to do but they simply don’t have to care that much. I mean, they don’t NEED you to like them; they are your boss regardless.
Of course you can simply quit and join another team/firm, but there is no guarantee this will not happen again. So what I really want to talk about today is how to deal with a manager (or anyone) who is (at least in your mind) a total disaster and almost impossible, and who (in your mind) wants to secretly jeopardize your career and ruin your life!
You don’t know their intentions and you naturally assume the worst
Firstly some updates from me: I know I have been writing about job hunting/networking a lot these days, but coming up next~~~ a post on writing new year objectives for young professionals, and then another post on some exciting advancement in my own career and how I managed to get there!
Also if you like what you see, you might want to consider “subscribing” to my blog via RSS or email, see top right on this web page! And help me to share or tweet the posts you enjoyed reading!
Now back to job-hunting~~~
It’s about the time of the year that college students start to get super worried about their “future”, and I feel obliged to write another article on job hunting. A few ladies recently reached out to me for more advice on getting an internship or full-time job (thanks again for complimenting on my blog btw, I am glad if my posts did help you in any way). And before you reach out directly to me again, READ THIS POST!
Please go directly to No.3 on the list if you are in a hurry.