On Thursday, I attended the 5th Annual Career Summit held by MSU Career Services. The theme of the event was “The Big Picture” and I can’t think of a theme more relevant for those about to begin their career. I talked about having this strategic approach in a recent post, yet the event added a lot to my ideas about what the big picture of my own career is.
The keynote was delivered by Kevin Donlin, an MSU alum who runs The Simple Job Search. He gave us some great tips on finding that job while offering a unique perspective on such priciples as networking and success.
Here are his tips broken up into three groups.
7 ways to get hired faster:
- Start with clarity. Figure out what job you want, the skill sets necessary for that position and your top employers.
- Stop networking – start helping other people get what they want.
- Employers are like children – write what they want you to read. In your cover letter, you should be talking about how you will help your potential employer. Heather Huhman, who was kind enough to give me feedback on my resume and cover letter, has some great tips about this here.
- No Experience? No problem! Let other people sell you. Use LinkedIn to get recommendations, but don’t ignore the importance of having a recommendation in print, too.
- Combine tactics to product synergy.
- Create your own board of directors for your job search. Use mentors and professionals within your network to helped you in your job search.
- Start working before you get hired by doing research on the company and offer suggestions and solutions in your interview.
7 ways to get ahead:
- Control the first hour and the rest of the day is easy. Kevin recommended not to read the news because it’s bad and out of our control. I disagree with this, probably because I’m a news junkie, but if your specific career doesn’t require this, try it out.
- Do it now! Put your ideas into action and get the job done.
- Make yourself indispensable. You can accomplish this by doing what others can’t do, doing what others won’t do and by doing more than is expected of you.
- Practice kaizen by constantly improving yourself and you work, especially through professional development.
- When at work… work. Don’t get distracted by Facebook or the refresh button on your e-mail.
- Document your results. Set goals that are measurable and track them. Also, keep a portfolio of your professional work demonstrating versatility and quality.
- Learn how to think by writing down things. Instead of just thinking in your head, Kevin recommended you write your thoughts down.
7 ways to enjoy lifelong success:
- Find a hero (Kevin’s term for a mentor). Every master was first a student and many are willing to help out the younger generation.
- There’s a benefit in every adversity – you just have to find it. With so many people losing their jobs, it’s easy to feel down in the dumps. But by unpacking your experience, you just might be able to get something out of it.
- Capture ideas in a journal. Or a blog.
- Adopt funnel vision by doing the work in the interview and treating cover letters as sales letters.
- Leave your comfort zone. Kevin said that all growth happens beyond it and all successful careers demand it.
- Become a lifelong learner. Read, go to grad school.. the opportunities to learn are endless.
- You can be a success now. Choose a worthy goal and start making progress today.
All in all, it was a pretty interesting presentation. It’s also pretty relevant to a wide variety of careers.
So, did Kevin miss anything? There are probably many more ways, but I found this to be a great set of principles.