Our friends at Mac’s List have a new book about finding a job in Portlandia. We’ve read every single word of it and we’re ready to share our takeaways. We’ll highlight Chapters 3 and 4 today. Chapters 1 and 2 were featured here.
The Mac’s List Book: Doing the Work to Get the Work
Depending on your personality type, networking can be either exciting or terrifying. Even if networking doesn’t come naturally for you, however, it’s a necessary skill to have. As great as Mac’s List is, only responding to jobs there, or on other job boards, won’t be enough. You’ll be competing with dozens – even hundreds – of other candidates, and as many as 80 percent of jobs won’t even be advertised.
That’s why mastering the advice given in Chapter 3 of the new online book “Land Your Dream Job in Portland (and Beyond): The Complete Mac’s List Guide” is so important. Networking will open up the job market in ways you wouldn’t expect. Here’s a summary of how you can make yourself stand out:
Prepare yourself: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Create business cards for yourself and hand them out to the people you talk to. Prepare a thirty-second introduction that explains who you are and what your career goals are.
Don’t be shy – dive right in: Arrive to the event early. Come prepared with what to say and what you want out of the networking. Don’t be afraid to approach others, but instead of talking about yourself, ask questions and listen to the answers.
Focus on developing a handful of quality connections. If you had a good conversation with someone, connect with them on LinkedIn and follow up with an invitation for an informational interview.
Look for opportunities to network: Tap into your existing social and professional networks. Attend a career fair. If you have a professional specialization, such as local government or communications, research networking events that are related to that specialty.
While networking is a critical step in the job hunt, it’s only one step to getting the job. As annoying as it is to hear – and yes it is annoying – you need experience to get experience. Fortunately, it’s easier to get that experience than you think! Here are some of the ideas presented in Chapter 4:
Be an intern: Internships are a good way to gain skills, add to your resume, and transition into the workforce. Many internships are paid, but even unpaid ones can offer valuable experience. George Fox University’s Career Services Office offers some excellent resources to aspiring interns on how to make the most of your experience.
Volunteer: Volunteering is an excellent way to connect with like-minded people and demonstrate your interests to prospective employers on your resume. Plus, if you’re curious about a particular career path, volunteering is a good way to test the waters without making a commitment.
Try summer (or other temporary) employment
Find a mentor: Take it from me: the right mentor can provide the motivation to pursue career advancement opportunities. Mentors can help with professional development, support, and creative thinking. Don’t be afraid to identify someone you admire and ask him or her to provide you guidance.
What I’ve written here (and here) is only a sampling of the advice offered. While a lot of what I highlighted may feel like common sense, it’s also stuff we may not think about when we’re actually looking for a job. The good folks at Mac’s List go into great detail not only on the advice, but also on the resources available to aspiring professionals in local government and beyond. If you have the money to shell out, it’s definitely worth it.
Perhaps the most important takeaway from today’s column is that job hunting is more than just shotgunning PBR while aimlessly applying for every job posted online. (Unless your dream job is to shotgun PBR while applying for every job posted on Craigslist.) Finding your dream job requires real work. That means knowing what you want, presenting yourself professionally, networking, and gaining any experience you can.