Melanie Feldman ’07: Get Hired!

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By Melanie Feldman ’07

High school student

» Understand that your presence online is your presentation to the world. What are you saying?

» Learn the power of your network by connecting with people frequently so you can practice
navigating professional conversations easily.

College student

» From your first internship to your first full-time job out of college, this will most likely be the most competitive environment you will experience and the most difficult to get your foot in the door. It is critical to use your time in college to build and create your network. If you take some pressure off your grades in school and put more time into developing your network, you find more success landing a job.

Recent college graduate

» Do not focus on your dream job; focus on your dream now. Your “dream now” is the realistic next step for your career with the skills you have now. If you focus too much on your dream job (which is something you work up to as you move through your career), it can deter you from pursuing a lot of good opportunities. In everyone’s career journey, there are always those first roles they credit for being the place and/or connections that led them to the role that they never dreamed of having upon graduation.

» It is important to go after companies that embody characteristics of what you envision for your dream job (i.e. good culture, flexibility, pay, leadership, etc.). What fuels you and makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?

» You want to get your foot in the door and always do good work because as your network expands, you will slowly start to shape your career path.

5+ years of experience

» Forget your worth, which can be emotionally charged and more subjective. Research and learn your market value, so you can achieve compensation that reflects the current rate.

10+ years of experience

» Use your network that you built over the lifetime of your career and connect with the people at companies where you want to work.

» Your job search must be proactive because leadership and executive roles are few and far between. Developing relationships with people at your target companies will be critical in order to be considered when there is an opening.

Eight steps to getting a response to a cold LinkedIn message and conducting a great call

When you find someone with whom you would like to speak, and you don’t know them personally or aren’t currently connected, getting a response online can be difficult. Even though you may want to speak with them for a specific reason (i.e. job opening, referral, introduction, etc.), you need to keep your focus on this target instead: Them!

1: Leverage your alumni network, past colleagues or find common ground. Someone is more likely to help you if you can relate to them on a personal level. Sharing a high school or college experience is gold, but if that is not the case, there are other ways to find a commonality (i.e. interests, sports, fraternities, hometown, past companies, people in common, etc.).

2: Do not ask for anything but a little time. Do not request a job, referral or advice. No one wants to do something for someone they do not know. Period.

3: Flattery, flattery, flattery. Be interested in their interests. Keep the focus on them. Express how impressed, inspired or affected you are by what they have accomplished and why.

4: Be genuine in your approach. While flattering, being genuine is equally as important. You want them to feel your interest in their work and their goals.

5: Do your research to be prepared. When reaching out to a stranger, someone who does not know you personally is agreeing to give you a few minutes of their time, so show them that it is valuable to you. Do research on their company and past experiences.

6: Prepare quality questions. With the research you have done, come up with a few quality questions for them both personally and professionally. The questions should show that you did your research.

7: Shut up and listen. Let them talk! The more they talk, the better they will feel after getting off the call. Try it with a friend sometime. It works.

8: Don’t be nervous – they are only human. It can be intimidating to get on a call with someone who is in a leadership role or even at a company where you want to work. It is completely normal to be nervous, but it’s important to recognize that you absolutely deserve to talk with them. So try to relax. People inherently like to help others. Ask your questions, and you will do great.

Stick the landing:

Before the call, it is important to know your goal. Are you looking for a job? Do you need to be introduced to someone who they know? Do you need to figure out who is the right person within their company to speak to? Your goal will determine your “ask.”  

If (and we like to say when) at the end of the call they say, “So … What can I do for you?” Have your “ask” ready before you get on the phone so you can state it confidently. Secondarily, if your “ask” will require any work on their part – especially if you are asking for a referral – figure out what work they will have to do to help you and do it for them ahead of time.

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