4 Ways to Give Thanks While Job Searching

Financial Analyst, New York, NY

Analyst, Newport Beach, CA

Financial Analyst, New York, NY

Analyst , Millburn, NJ

Accountant, Austin, TX

Analyst (Client Management) , New York, NY

Senior Consultant, Analytic Consulting, Nationwide

1. First Contact

Whether a hiring manager gets back to you over phone or by email to set up an interview, make sure to take a moment to thank them for their time and consideration.  You certainly aren’t owed an interview just because you threw your resume into the ring, so don’t put on an air of entitlement.  It’s important to remain humble – that is not to say meek – throughout the process, and showing your appreciation is crucial to paying respect for the interviewer, as well as the company on the whole.

2. During the Interview

Make your first impression a great one – the moment you walk into the interview and shake hands with a hiring manager, thank them once again for their time and consideration.  Make sure to exit with a bang too; when you get up to leave, express your gratitude.  If more than one person is interviewing you, shake hands with each person and say thanks to all individually, and address them each by name if you can.

3. After the Interview

Many people often forget this step, but it’s essential to send a thank you note to a hiring manager after an interview.  It shows that you are thinking about a job after you’ve gotten through the initial meeting, and also gives you a chance to remind the hiring manager who you are, why you want the job, and what you bring to the table.  It’s up to you to discern whether it’s more appropriate to say thanks via email or regular mail; just make sure you remember this important gesture that all hiring managers appreciate.

4. Upon Rejection

Even though your inclination may be to cut your losses and move on as quickly as you can when you are rejected from a job, take a few minutes to say thanks one final time.  Saying thank you after you are given a “no” conveys professionalism, and cues hiring managers into what you might be like to work with if a future opportunity rolls around.  Never forget that, while you may not be given the current position you are applying to, other jobs may open up that are better suited to you.  Keep yourself at the top of the hiring manager’s list by ending on a positive note.

Always remember the importance of saying thank you, and, equally as important, remind yourself of the things you are already grateful for in your life.  Even if you don’t have a job this holiday season, try to remember that things do change, and it’s the joy and support you currently have that will get you through these challenging times.

Happy Thanksgiving,

The Doostang Team

The Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Conference Calls Professional and Effective

Senior Associate / Vice President – Investment Banking Firm – New York, NY

Manager of Strategic Investments and Portfolio – Premier Financial Firm – New York, NY

Portfolio Manager – Premier Asset Management Firm – Chicago, IL

Senior Director of Finance – Boutique Strategy Consulting Firm – Boston, MA

Senior Financial Reporting Analyst – Elite Financial Firm – San Francisco, CA

1. Plan the Call

The most effective way to run a great conference call is to be prepared.  At a minimum, you should have the names, phone numbers, email addresses and job titles of the people who will be on the call. This way if anything goes wrong, you can reestablish communications quickly.

2. Plan Your Location

Background noise is a conference call killer.  Don’t try having a conference call from a shared cubicle area.  If you don’t have a private office, try reserving a conference room.  If none are available, ask someone who does have an office if you can borrow it.  If all else fails, sneak into an empty office at your organization.

3. Send Email Alerts

Email alerts are great way of making sure that no one forgets the call, or is missing the call in information.  Send an email out the day before the call, to everyone involved, stating the time of the call, the participants, the subject matter, the length and most importantly, don’t forget to include the call in phone number and password.  Send this email again 1 hour before the call.

4. Start Early

Don’t wait till a minute before the call to dial in.  Log into the call 10-15 minutes early so you have time to fix any problems like bad passwords, wrong numbers, bad sound, or any other problems that might arise.

5. Bring the Right People

Think about what the call is for, and make sure the right people are invited.  If the subject matter is likely to cross into one of your cooworkers responsibilities, ask them to sit in on the call.  Its better to include people than not include them, since they can always leave or decline if they aren’t needed.

7. Start the Call Professionally

Mute the phone.  When waiting on participants to enter the conference call, leave your phone on mute, so the other callers don’t hear any confidential information that you may discuss while waiting for their arrival.  When everyone has arrived, introduce everyone, with their full name and title, and why they are on the call.  Thank everyone for coming, let them know the agenda and length of the call, and begin.

8. Leave Time for Questions

If you expect the call to last 30 minutes, schedule it for 60 minutes.  At best you’ve wisely left time for the call to run long, or to include a question and answer session.  At worst you let everyone out early, so its a win-win for everyone.

9. Send a Follow-up Email

Send an email to the people on the call, summarizing what was discussed, and about any action items.  This way you can be sure that everyone on the call understands what they are expected to do next.  If there is a followup call, this is when you should tell everyone when it is.

10. Buy a Headset

Headsets with a microphone and earpiece are easy to find, but they won’t connect to your workplace phone if you have the standard Cisco VOIP phones, like most companies do.  You need to order a special headset from a maker like Plantronics.  Make sure you get both pieces, the dialer and the headset itself.  It can be expensive, anywhere from $200 to $400, but if you are a salesperson who lives and dies on the phone, this may be a great investment for you.  Your contacts will hear you much clearer, and you will hear them much better too.

Conference calls are a great way to stay connected and to convey information efficiently.  Just try to make sure you stay on track so that they remain sessions that people look forward to in order to touch base, rather than time wasters that everyone dreads.

Until next time,

Team Doostang

Doostang News – Dressing for the Office When the Weather Turns Colder

As the cold weather really sets in, it’s tempting to bring the cozy fireside feeling into our cubicles.  But while there are certainly wardrobe alterations you’ll need to make along with the change in temperature, it’s still important to continue dressing professionally for work.  Here are some guidelines to ensure that you don’t get too comfortable in the office:

Leave the Sweats at Home

Sweats are what you change into after work – they’re not the duds you stroll into the office wearing, no mater how cold it is outside.  Anyone who walks in sporting a pair of running pants is just clueless, but you should be equally hesitant about wearing a sweatshirt in a professional working environment, even if it is just at your desk.  Of course, some company cultures do allow for more casual dress, so use your best judgment if you work in a more informal environment.

Leave Your Boots at the Doorstep

No one expects you to brave two feet of snow in the parking lot in stilettos.  But they don’t expect that you’ll track a trail of water and mud into the office either.  If the weather is stormy outside, make sure to cover up those feet with heavy-duty boots, but also pack a pair of office-friendly shoes that you can change into when you arrive.

Leave Your Winter Jacket in the Coat Closet

Even if the arctic chill makes its way indoors, it’s still unacceptable to wear your winter jacket at your desk.  Instead, wear a wool sports coat or add layers to your outfit.  You can also speak to someone about adjusting the thermostat in the building.

Leave the Holiday Sweaters at the Bottom of Your Dresser Drawer

You may be stoked to show off your holiday cheer, but unfortunately, cheesy holiday sweaters aren’t really suitable for the office – save them for the holiday party.  Again, some more casual offices may allow for these embarrassing fashion statements, but in general they’re unprofessional.  Stick to more traditional prints to keep you warm at your desk.

The world may seem to go into hibernation during the cold winter months, inciting you to bundle up and get cozy, but office etiquette still remains.  It’s important that you continue to dress the part, even when your fuzzy slippers and warm pajamas are calling your name.

Stay warm this winter!

The Doostang Team

How to Leave a Job Gracefully

Leaving a job often has very negative connotations.  Indeed, the first things that come to mind are getting fired or laid off.  But many times you leave a job for your own reasons, and on good terms at that.  So how do you make sure to leave work on the best terms?  Read on for a list of tips on tactfully exiting a company.

Give Plenty of Notice

The standard notice for leaving a job is two weeks.  However, it’s considerate to give your employer a bit more time if you know that your future plans will take you elsewhere.  Giving them that extra heads up allows them the chance to regroup and figure out what steps they will need to take when you leave.  We all know that things move quickly in the corporate world, so give the people you work with a chance to put the right building blocks in place so that your transition out of the company will be easier on everyone.

Offer to Find and/or Train Your Replacement

It’s a great show of consideration to your boss if you can help him or her find someone to replace you, and then to train them if you have the time.  Your employer has many other things that they need to do, so helping out the new person will lighten their load.  Moreover, you may very well be the most qualified individual to determine who should replace you, as you know what it takes to do your job.  You will also be the person who will be most familiar with the job itself, so you’ll be less likely to miss a beat when imparting knowledge to the new employee.

Tie Up All Loose Ends

If you have any big projects that you are working on, do your best to see them through.  Make arrangements to have others take over if you are working on things that will continue on farther into the future.  Contact all of the people at other companies whom you worked with and let them know that you are moving on, and introduce them to your replacement if you have one.  Finally, create templates, reference guides, or other materials that will help your coworkers, who might be taking over some of your tasks once you leave.

Knowing how to gracefully leave your job is important because you never know when you are going to cross paths with these people again; you also don’t know when someone from your future may contact the people from your past.  Moreover, a tactful exit is the perfect way to say thanks for a great run at a company.

Team Doostang

Overcoming Perfectionism

Doostang News: September 12, 2011
Overcoming PerfectionismVice President of Investor Relations, New York, NY
Pre-MBA Associate, Incline Village (Lake Tahoe), NV
Junior Analyst, Richmond, VA
Market Developer, Nationwide
Senior Content Product Manager, Mountain View, CA

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Strong attention to detail is something employers value in the people that work for them.  But when your tendency to check, and recheck, and recheck again gets in the way of your productivity, it’s time to pause and determine if perfectionism is getting in the way of your ability to do your job effectively.  If you find yourself spending too much time and energy trying to achieve the perfect result, consider these pointers.

Weigh the Costs

If you spend countless hours going over your work until it reaches perfection, you’re likely doing this at the expense of other activities or projects.  So make a list of all of the things – both personal and professional – that you aren’t able to focus on because you are caught up with one particular task.  When you start to see what you are missing out on, you’re more likely to want to change your behavior.  You may also find that the quality of one “perfect” project doesn’t outweigh the numerous assignments you failed to get to on time.

Set Limits

If you struggle with knowing when to cut yourself off, set limits for yourself ahead of time.  Allocate a certain number of hours to completing a task, or allow yourself to review a certain project a set number of times.  It’s also important to set deadlines for yourself and to work to meet them.

Embrace Criticism

Many perfectionists fail to see constructive criticism as something that is positive, but rather, as an attack.  As a result, they work to create a product that others will be unable to criticize because it is flawless.  The fact is, criticism can be healthy and help you to see weaknesses in your work that you wouldn’t have noticed on your own.  Criticism can help you to perform better on future projects, and is a healthy exercise in helping you to see your work in another light.

Learn from Your Mistakes

On that note, it’s okay to make mistakes – everyone does – and it’s important to learn from them.  No one will fault you for being less than perfect, so you shouldn’t dwell on it, but take it for the character building experience that it is.

Give Yourself a Break

Force yourself to unplug from your work when you go home at the end of the day.  Your evenings should be reserved for relaxing and indulging in activities that you enjoy – not spending more time on projects that can wait for the morning.

The fact that there is always something you can improve upon should be heartening, as you can constantly work to better yourself.  That said, perfection is difficult, if not impossible to come by, so ease up on yourself and just focus on doing your best.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

5 Tips to Enhance Your Job Search

Autumn is finally settling in again, but before you start laughing and pointing fingers at all those young children who still have years of school and torment ahead of them, just think about what YOU get to do.  That’s right, school may be out forever, baby, but check out what’s in store now:  the job search.  So tighten those backpack straps, throw on a bicycle helmet, and off we go!

Don’t Even Think About Cutting Class

Make sure to hold yourself to a schedule.  Wake up at a reasonable hour and park yourself at your desk for a generous period of time, giving yourself an opportunity to really focus on your job search.  You may feel inclined to soak up these last few weeks of sunshine, but make it a priority to devote a good chunk of your day to researching opportunities, sending out resumes, and networking.

Keep Your Homework Out of the Dog’s Reach

While you’re looking for a job, it’s important to set goals for yourself.  Assign yourself tasks such as applying for a minimum of five jobs a day, reading one book a week that will educate you in an industry that interests you, or perhaps creating an updated draft of your resume.  Homework is almost never fun, but it’s where we make a lot of our progress – so no slacking!

Get There Before the Final Bell

No one likes getting marked off for tardiness, so avoid the hassle altogether and get there early!  Be mindful of any application deadlines you have coming up, and plan your schedule accordingly.  And instead of sliding into your seat right as the bell rings, try to show up a few minutes ahead of time.  Hiring managers often look favorably upon candidates who turn in their materials promptly – and it’s also quite possible that they’ll make a decision before they close off the position, so stay on top of things and apply as early as you can.

Don’t Forget Your Friends

The best part about school is getting to suffer through it with all your best buds.  So find a few pals who are also treading along in this perilous world of job hunting, and share your woes, tips, and contacts with each other.  Having a support group while you look for a job can invigorate you when you’re down, expose you to new opportunities, and make you realize that you’re not alone.

RECESS

Sometimes when you’re starting to fidget in your seat and can’t peel your eyes off the clock, the best thing to do is to throw open the classroom door, fling your arms out into the air, and just run around outside.  Few of us can sit through an entire day pounding out a bunch of work, so don’t feel shy about taking a break every once in a while to de-stress.  Ultimately, it’ll help your productivity when you get back to the grind with a clear mind and a fresh outlook.

Happy job hunting!

How to Spice Up the Office Working Environment

Associate Banker, New York, NY
General Manager, Washington, DC
Portfolio Management Analyst, Chicago, IL
Marketing Manager, San Francisco, CA
Economic Intern, New York, NY

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The office doesn’t have to be the drab, depressing place it’s often made out to be. First of all, it’s full of the characters that make our lives interesting, dramatic, happy, and stressful day to day. And while you sorta kinda have to focus on the work while you’re there, this doesn’t mean that the company you serve has to suck all the joy out of life. Here are a few ways to put some kick in your Monday through Friday!

Join the Office Extracurriculars

Say your office is part of a softball league or has a bowling club. Right on! Go get involved and recruit others to join in on the fun. And if your office doesn’t partake in these awesome activities, organize them yourself or with a group of coworkers. Your office extracurricular activities are what you make of them, and sadly, many company softball teams lose steam in the second inning. Sure, it’ll take time and effort, but if you feed into the positive energy of these pastimes, you’ll get far more joy out of them.

Go Out to Lunch

No, “going to lunch” with an office buddy doesn’t mean taking your soggy PB&J and “fun size” bag of Doritos to the break room. Get out and explore the neighborhood. Gather a group of friends and try out the new restaurant on the corner. Get your mind off of work and really enjoy your break to its fullest. This will break up your workday and give you that second wind you need to get through the afternoon. And if you’re trying to save money, fine – grab that soggy PB&J and chips and take it down to the park. If you step outside the office for a little while you’ll have a much more positive attitude going into the second half of your day, and chances are you’ll be much more productive at work.

Mix Food and Work

Here we go – another tip centered on food. But it’s true that we derive a lot of satisfaction out of eating. So incorporate it into your workday! Suggest a potluck once a quarter, and ruthlessly hold everyone to it. Assign a different person to bring in baked goods each Friday. Put someone on hot chocolate duty during the winter months. No one will be able to peg work as “dull” if you make it a point to engage all the senses!

It’s important to be happy at work. After all, this is where you spend most of the daylight hours. So don’t discount the value that a little office cheer can add to your life. Always make the most out of your days!

See ya later,
The Doostang Team

Overcoming the “Under-Qualified” Stigma

Investment Banking Analyst, Chicago, IL
Marketing & PR Internship, Miami, FL
Vice President, Philadelphia, PA
Sr. Consultant, Boston, MA
Quantitative Analyst Intern, New York, NY

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It’s happened to everyone: you come across a job description for a position that’s right up your alley. The job is interesting and looks like something that you are completely capable of and excited to do. And then your eyes wander to the “Qualifications” section… You don’t have a Masters degree, 5+ years of experience, or a Series 7 license. So what do you do? Scrap it and move on? If you’re lacking many of the key qualifications that appear mandatory, then indeed you’re probably better off allocating your time and effort applying elsewhere. But if you’re only a few qualifications away from that ideal candidate description, you might be selling yourself short if you give up before even trying. Read on for a list of tips on overcoming the “under-qualified candidate” stigma.

Emphasize Your Skills

Ok, so maybe you don’t hit every bullet point with your qualifications. But don’t give up hope just yet. For many positions, the “Qualifications” section is merely a list of attributes of the ideal candidate. This doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to consider someone who meets only some of the requirements. So instead of dwelling on what you haven’t done, focus on what you’re great at. Many skills that you acquire throughout school, volunteer work, or another job are transferable to other positions, and can be used to replace any prerequisites that you might not meet. Highlight these skills or experiences in your cover letter, and explain how they will help you excel in that specific job. One important caveat: don’t waste your time applying for jobs that you’re completely unqualified for – for example, if you’re looking at a position for an Associate Attorney at a top law firm, you better have a law degree.

Go the Extra Mile

If you come up short on knowledge or experience, emphasize to an employer that you are willing to work harder than any other candidate to brush up on your skills and become well versed in the subject matter. Don’t underestimate the value that hiring managers place on a strong work ethic. Include in your resume and cover letter examples of your ability to learn quickly. If you possess many of the other qualities of the ideal candidate, you may find that your enthusiasm to learn and contribute may very well land you the position.

Network

Networking is a great way to gain introductions into a company. Networking can also help you establish someone on the inside as an individual who can vouch for you. When you come across that tricky job description, mention to your contact that you’re planning on applying, and explain why. Be honest, and address any points that might weaken your application. Companies want to hire individuals they can trust. If someone with a good history at the company is able to put in a good word for you, it will further bolster that company’s confidence in bringing you on.

Volunteer or Intern

If you find that no matter how you try to spin it, you just can’t land the position you want based on your qualifications, offer to volunteer your services for free. This isn’t to say that you should ever allow a company or an individual to take advantage of you. But if you volunteer or intern for a company, you’ll gain valuable experience that you can parlay into a future opportunity at the company. Get in, work hard, and show them that they need you. Even if doing so doesn’t lead to another prospect within that company, you’ll gain important knowledge and skills that will qualify you for a position similar to the job you had hoped for at the outset.

It’s easy to look at a job description, think, “There’s someone out there who’s better,” and quickly abandon the effort. But have a little faith in yourself – play to your strengths and commit to working even harder than the next guy, and you may find yourself more qualified than you think. So take a chance – you’ve got nothing to lose – and you may find yourself one step closer to your dream job!

All the best,
The Doostang Team

Tips for Relocating without a Job

Investment Analyst, Colorado Springs, CO
Administrative Intern, New York, NY
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Simply picking up and leaving is romantic when you’re young, but as you come into your own and have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s a lot more difficult to work out the logistics of a move. At Doostang, we advise you to always look before you leap! However, we also recognize that sometimes circumstances may dictate that you have to leave on short notice, and without a job lined up.  If you thought finding a job in your own hometown was difficult, finding employment in a new one is even tougher.  You won’t know as many people and you will have a myriad of other things to juggle with the move.  Here’s some advice on how to lessen the burden of finding a job in a new town:

Do Your Research

Before you pack up and leave, try to do as much research as you can about the city where you are moving.  Figure out what the hot industries are, which companies call the shots, and whom you might be able to contact to help get you in the door.  The more you get to know your new city, the less likely you are to feel like a deer in headlights once you get there.  Try to gain your bearings prematurely, and you’ll be primed to hit the ground running.

Grow Your Network

Yes, networking is tricky enough from the comfort of your hometown, but it’s important to reach out a little bit before your big move. Try to leverage the network you have to help you meet people in your new city.  Make it a goal to get in touch with a short list of new people, so that when you get to your destination you can immediately start to grow your social network. The more people you know, the more opportunities you will have access to, and the more individuals you will have on your side looking out for your best interests.

Reach Out to College Career Centers

Oftentimes, college career centers will be happy to help recent graduates who have moved to a new city.  Check to see which ones are around you, and stop by for an informational meeting.  Your own college may also have a reciprocity program with another school in your new area, so look into that as well.

Consider Temporary Work

If nothing seems to pan out, don’t be afraid to take on temporary work.  This is another great way to establish connections and get your foot in the door with your new city’s job industry.  Don’t take just any old job out of desperation, but find something for the interim that keeps you busy, gives you face time with people, and perhaps teaches you a few new skills.

Have a Solid Plan

You should put together a plan for your new life in the new city, including your living expenses and how far your money will take you while you don’t have a job.  It’s also important to bear in mind an exit strategy if worse comes to worst.

Making a big move is exciting and presents a multitude of opportunities.  It can be stressful as well, but do your best to plan ahead and do the leg work before – as well as after – you get to your destination, and you will certainly lighten your load.

Bon voyage,

The Doostang Team

Adding Pleasure to Your Business Trip

IB Analyst, New York, NY
Advertising Copywriter, Atlanta, GA
Analyst, Washington, DC
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Oftentimes, the people who travel most for work are ironically the ones who have the most difficult time finding time to travel for personal purposes.  Perhaps it’s hard to find a good chunk of time to get away; or maybe the typical hassle that comes with airports and hotels is the last thing they want to deal with on their time off.  Whether or not this is the case, adding a little pleasure to a business trip can make constant traveling a lot more bearable.  And now that it’s summer and vacation is on everyone’s mind, a strategically planned business trip might actually double into that quick getaway you’ve been yearning for.  Here are some tips for spicing up those trips meant solely for work:

Plan Ahead

It’s hard to take advantage of what a new city has to offer if you’re doing it at the last minute.  However, if you do some research before your trip and figure out when you will have some spare time, you can plan to do a little sightseeing or fine dining on your own.  Not to mention, you’ll be more likely to stick with your plans if you think them through beforehand.

Spice up the Client Meetings

Wining and dining your clients is an expense that usually falls on your company’s tab, which is really nice.  But how many salmon dinners or rounds of golf can you take?  Try to plan some more interesting outings or explore unique restaurants in the area, so long as they allow you to maintain a professional environment.  Consider asking those local clients for suggestions on what they might like to do.

Squeeze in an Extra Day

Consider showing up a day beforehand or leaving a day after, especially if your business trip falls near a weekend.  It’s definitely possible to squeeze in personal activities between meetings, but it’s a lot less stressful if you have a day to yourself.  If you decide to do this, make sure to inform your boss of your plans, and to show him or her that you will be keeping business and personal expenses separate.

Bring Along Your Significant Other

Maybe your significant other has the flexibility and willingness to travel with you and spend time with you when you aren’t stuck in meetings.  If so, you can turn parts of your business trip into a small getaway, and explore the city and some nice restaurants together.  Again, be sure to keep your personal expenses separate, and to stay focused on work when you need to be. 

Traveling for work doesn’t have to be a drag.  All you need to do is find some creative ways to spend your down time, and a boring business trip can all of a sudden become a fun escape.

Happy traveling,

The Doostang Team