6 months, 37 back and forth LinkedIn messages, and 51 back and forth emails. (Yes, I definitely went back and counted every single message from the start.) This was the timeframe from when I first inquired/applied for the position that I just secured with my new company. The 51st email was the offer for my new Social Media Coordinator position! Let me give you a quick little backstory. I’ve worked in the Luxury Retail industry for one of the world’s most renowned leading brands LVMH for nearly four years. I’ve gained so much adequate knowledge and have made many valuable connections along the way. I am absolutely grateful for where I’ve come from, and even more proud of all of the hard work that got to me where I am now. PERSEVERANCE is my favorite P-word, RELENTLESS is my favorite R-word, and COURAGEOUS is my favorite C-word. I started looking for a new position because I felt at this point in my life, it was meant to be. I have always had a strong interest in the web, creative fields, social media, blogging, and creative directing. When I came across the open positions at my new company, I knew for a fact that I belonged there. This was a sign from God telling me this is it - you got this, Meghan. I just couldn’t believe that I transitioned into a career like this right here in my own backyard of Houston. A couple of years ago, I always had it in my mind that I would have to move to LA for a career like this one. Fortunately, I have been blessed to start my new endeavor here. In the process, I was even told NO not once, but TWICE. But that did not stop me. In this post I will be sharing with you some helpful tips on how I prepared myself for my interviews, and how you can also prepare yourself to crush your next upcoming interviews. Hint: it has to do with the 3 words that I mentioned earlier...
LinkedIn is Your Friend
Before we get into tips for after you’ve landed your appointment for your interview, I wanted to share that I discovered my new job through LinkedIn on my own. I was actually surprised at how many people I talked to said they never really use it. “How did you hear about that job?” LinkedIn.. “Did they reach out to you?” No, I reached out to them on LinkedIn. Y’all, you must realize how resourceful you can be on your own. One thing that I love about LinkedIn is that you can connect with anyone of any position within the company you are interested in. You can connect with the talent recruiter, HR person, hiring manager, and even someone within the same role as you are hoping to get into. For example - I connected with and messaged people that already worked for the company, picked their brain about their experiences, and kindly asked them to pass my information/resume along to the hiring manager. Needless to say, everyone that I contacted was so nice and actually responded back to me. You won’t get a response from every single person that you reach out to, and that’s okay you just have to keep doing your research and find other contacts. I’m sure you already know this, but make sure to keep your profile updated with your current position, experiences, achievements, and of course a decent profile pic!
2. Have a Killer Resume
I can’t stress enough at how important it is to have your resume on point. I’m constantly updating my resume just for the sake of it. Most importantly, I highly highly highly recommend ONLY using resume paper for your resume. At my former job when I’d see people dropping off their resume on regular computer paper (sometimes creased), I cringed a little on the inside. You should always keep your resume short and to the point. Mine is ONE page and I’d rate it a 10! Include only the most key and relevant information. This helps the recruiter/interviewer quickly learn about you, and understand how you would potentially fit into the role that you are showing interest in and/or interviewing for. More often than just sharing your duties like ex.) “Assisted management with filing data” you should solely focus on the proven metrics that you have accomplished and brought to the table. How much revenue did you bring in last year? Did you win Presidents Club? Did you receive any type of award/appreciation certificate? Put that on your resume! Employers really want to see what you have done in the past, and they want to see what you can do for their company if they decide to bring you on. Always have more than one copies with you, and bring a portfolio of your work (depending on the type of position) if it entails.
3. Sell Yourself
You got the interview locked in, now what?! Preparation and focus. Trying to switch careers is most certainly another job within itself. I did a lot of studying and research about the brand and the industry, which helped me understand exactly what they were looking for in the perfect candidate. When you’re truly passionate about the role that you’re trying to fulfill, it shows. I made sure that I knew exactly what the job description was, and made sure that I could confidently sell myself and nail it. Since I interviewed for a more creative position (Editor), I actually printed out two of my blog posts to show my creativity and to show who I am as a creative. I knew for a fact that was something that not every candidate thought of doing, so I wanted to step outside of the box. It turned out to be a great idea! That was sort of like my personal “portfolio.” Check this out, in my second (and last) interview I met directly with the CEO and she asked me to see my Instagram. Inside, I was like “yasssss, here you go!” I pulled up my IG page and handed her my phone. She scrolled, complimented, asked about certain photos, and even mentioned that I had great engagement on my posts (this was great because relevant small talk is a really good sign). But could you imagine if I had something to hide that I would have been embarrassed about? I probably would not have gotten the job. This was a proud moment for me because of who I truly am as a person. I love my feed! It isn’t perfect, but it’s me. Prior to this, she asked if I had a separate IG page for my blog and personal. You guys know I don’t, but a lot of you do! My tip is: If you have a personal life that may not be a great idea to show your future employer, then you should definitely keep that separate because you never know what kind of situation you could be in. Not saying you shouldn’t be who you are - but be mindful about what you put out because a lot of the times when they are considering hiring you, they are probably searching for you on social media to see who you are outside of that building. I have never been asked that in an interview, but I was ready.
4. Have a Strong Follow Up Game
Sending that follow up and thank you email before and after your interview is so vitally important! This shows that you have no problem with being consistent, and keeps you on the top of the hiring manager’s list without them forgetting about you. You always want to send a follow up email confirming your interview, etc, and you most certainly want to send a thank you email within a couple hours after your initial interview. Most people say send a thank you email within 24-48 hours, but I think that sending it within at least 2 hours after your interview shows that you are serious about staying in contact with them. That will probably assure that you stay on the top of their minds and list when closely considering candidates for the role. When I told you that I was told no during the process, I sent a respectful email asking why, and that is what got me the job I wanted after all. Giving up was not an option for me! In my interview, one of the directors mentioned to me that she liked the way that I was always sending nice follow up emails. She said because she had been in my situation too, and she knew that it was not easy getting into the door. I recently mentioned this follow up technique to a friend who had been waiting to hear back from a company that she interviewed for, and it worked for her, too! I told her - you can’t apply and not send follow up emails. This is like letting your application float out in the milky way galaxy with no destination, just thin air. As many applicants that are applying for the same role as you, you have to stand out. Otherwise, you will probably just get skipped over because you aren’t really putting yourself out there for them to recognize you. From the time I got confirmation for my 2nd interview, to the the time it actually took place was about 3 weeks. The hiring manager was going out of town and even though I was confident, I still wanted to keep my own buzz in their ears about me while she was away. Don’t aggressively overdo it to where you annoy them, but just know how to be consistent in a graceful way. Like I said, these are some things that worked for me. We will all have different experiences with this. You can always reach out to me if you don’t know what to say! I’d be happy to help.
5. Be Relentless, Have Patience, & Perseverance
Oh, and of course be courageous! Earlier I mentioned that it took me 6 months to secure my new position. This is starting from the beginning, when I sent the very first LinkedIn message to my now colleague about passing along my information to the hiring manager after I applied. It takes courage to be vulnerable and reach out to people you don’t know for help. This just shows that you are relentless, resourceful, and will set you apart from the other candidates. It just has to come naturally and requires a strong will. I personally have a strong mind, and when I want something - I will do my best to get it. The outcome of success depends mainly on your willingness to persevere and be persistent. I also practiced “manifestation” regularly - and I still do. This means so focusing deeply on what you want, to where you picture yourself having/doing it until it becomes a reality. Can’t forget to mention, lots of praying. This is personal for me. Throughout the whole process of me securing this new position, I had to keep reminding myself that what is meant to be will be. I did my best work and I did my part. The rest, I left up to God to figure out how he wanted this to work for me. My patience was tested, and I won’t lie, I let my light dim a little. I would come home after work and have a pity party because things weren’t unfolding quickly enough. With my support system, I was reminded of all the things that I’m trying to tell you now. Practice patience. Control what YOU can control. That’s all you can do.
I really hope that you found this helpful! I know that it was pretty lengthy, but I truly do believe that all of this is valuable information that will help you in your process, since it has helped me. We won’t have the exact same interview experiences and results, but I can guarantee you that some of these tips will have proven results. I still don’t feel like I shared everything that I wanted to, so I’m thinking about doing a part 2 to this. What do you think?