Unemployed College Grad to Director of Finance: how I broke the code
Imagine yourself in a high rise building, in a job you deserve, making the money you want or rather need: whether that's determining the social media marketing strategy for a startup or managing the financials at Google. You can do it if I did it.
It took me a while. Hell, it took me 400 job applications. I am not asking you to submit 400 applications. Please don't. So what is the secret code? I came to term with the fears and misconceptions about my career that were holding me back. Read on, and I'll help you do the same.
1) "I'm not smart enough."
Whoa, hold on there. Yes you are. The reality is there are people in the workforce who may not be that smart or qualified, you've met them. If they can get these jobs and hold on to them, why can't you? The key is to be confident. I'm not telling you to pretend you have a PhD in physics. In fact, I am telling you to proudly proclaim you don't and tell your future employer why you can do the job anyway. If you can pick up a pencil and write and pick up a book and read, than you can learn. If you can learn you are smart enough to do the job. Sometimes, the 35-year old with life experience and no formal degree is much smarter than the 24-year old with an MBA. By the way, I am a 26 year old with a Bachelor's Degree, so I am not sure what bucket I fall in!
2) "I don't know the right people."
Hmm...are you sure? The reality is you do, if you don't you can find them. You always hear stories about how the guy with the rich uncle at Google got the job. I am sure he did. I don't have any rich uncles, parents, or any rich relatives for that matter! What I do have is friends, teachers, university alumni, and coworkers. I bet you these people also know some people, and they know some people, etc. If you just start having casual conversations with these folks that will lead to more conversations and meeting the people who will eventually serve as your advocate to help you score that next interview. This is known as, you guessed it, Networking! You can also reach out directly to your future boss, it's almost as good as having a rich uncle at Google. If that scares you don't worry, it scared me too. Read on...
3) "Networking is sleazy and scary."
I know how you feel. I thought the same thing for a long time. You know those movies, where some pretentious guy walks around in his overpriced suit? He has wine in one hand and a business card in the other. He eyes his targets and has his spiel lined up. He has an absurd and uncomfortable laugh. He is the resident schmoozer in town. That sort of networking is sleazy and scary.
Believe me, I am not asking you to do that. If you already do that, please stop reading this article, it may change your life forever. Don't be fake. Don't pretend. Just have a causal conversation. Ask about things you really care about. What do you talk about with your friends? I talk about chicken sandwiches and that new movie Baby Driver that came out. Your friend is a person, so is this person at the networking event. You are just connecting with them as one human being to another, hopefully on something other than chicken sandwiches. Once you let go of the notion that networking is something different than being a human being, you'll be able to reach out to your future bosses.
What fears hold you back? Hashtag #Fearnomore and comment below.