I know I’m not the only one who did everything I possibly could to try and get a job out of college, but nothing worked.
When I finally got hired, I was so grateful and happy, but little did I know that I was joining a very toxic team with a manager that did not like me; and I ultimately quit that job ten months in because I could not stand to be around that culture anymore.
I didn’t even have any applications out when I quit. I was just so angry. Fortunately, my part-time coffee shop job graciously gave me hours to make sure I could pay rent.
Fifteen days after I quit, I started a new full-time job making more money with a way cooler manager and a much healthier atmosphere.
How come it was so easy to get my second job when it took so long to get my first one?
Today I want to breakdown some of the most important factors that I have experienced and observe when getting hired quickly.
Preparedness in School
A lack of proper preparation caused my biggest shortcomings in the professional world while I was in school.
I did not have the tools that I needed to stand out from other applicants until it was too late, and I was behind the 8-ball.
I wanted to work in finance, and I thought that double majoring in accounting and finance and knowing a lot about the industry would be enough.
Then I found Wall Street Oasis (An amazing website and community for finance professionals and students to network). I realized that I did not have the pedigree, access to internships in my area, and that my University would not stand out from more prestigious schools.
If you are still in school, find an online community dedicated to the industry you might want to work in.
Online communities are great for this because there are people worldwide, talking about the best ways to get ahead with your career.
If I was aware of these, I would have changed the type of internship I was chasing, formatted my resume differently, and been much more particular in my networking objectives.
If you are out of school and have trouble finding your first job, reach out to alumni in the industry you want to be in and ask them how they did it.
They might have had the same struggle you did and can offer much more specific advice for you and your situation.
Learning Corporate BS
One of the biggest factors of why it was so easy for me to get my second job is that I had learned corporate nonsense and how to speak the bureaucracy’s language.
I did not realize how powerful saying things like “spinning my wheels,” “managing bandwidth,” “excess capacity,” and “taking things offline” are in an office environment.
All of these things are meaningless, but you have to say them and think of it almost as Orwellian doublespeak.
My opinion on why corporate doublespeak is important is that it allows employees to dissociate from their personal lives very easily when focusing on productivity at work.
Grooming Your Network
My network before I started my first job was great, and I had so many mentors who taught me a ton about finance and investing, but they weren’t corporate decision-makers.
Having a McLaren in your garage is awesome, but it is useless if you need to drive off-road.
That’s how I felt about my network at the time. Now they are much bigger assets to me because I can utilize the information they’ve taught me.
Make friends with recruiters because they are the ones you have the golden ticket to get past the GateKeeper in HR.
I had already made friends with recruiters at Robert Half, which is for Finance and Accounting, oh, and I kept my conversations with them going even while I was working my first job.
As soon as I quit, I turned on the “open to new opportunities” button on my LinkedIn profile, and within an hour, I had recruiters asking me to go get coffee and through that process ended up with two job offers in less than a week.
The lesson here is to keep your network groomed and aligned with your objectives and potential needs.
You might not need a recruiter today, but always have one or two in your back pocket just in case.
Even if they don’t have a job for you right now, they know people who will.
Develop a Highlight Reel
A professional highlight reel does not require you to have revolutionized your industry, but it does mean you did something and can do it again.
If you travel a lot, have athletic awards, or wrote a book, if you created something even if it doesn’t relate to the job you’re applying for, always put that on your resume.
I found that employers are much more interested in a concrete example of your ability versus your potential for the future.
It’s a double-edged sword because they want you to have potential, but they also want to be sure you created something.
I didn’t do this correctly for my first job, which is why I think it took so long to get hired, but once I got some fancy Excel spreadsheets under my belt, I could translate that immediately during my next interviews.
Not only could I build Advanced Excel models, but I also knew how to articulate that I had done it, which is huge.
Go get ’em, Tiger
What are you looking for in your first job or a new job? You have the raw materials to make it happen.
Use some of the points in this article to take an inventory of what you have and transform it into a concise and unique package.
Let me know if you have any questions or need help finding an online community by responding or leaving a note! Best of luck to you on your job search!