Doostang News November 29: Lessons Black Friday Can Teach You About Your Job Search

Wealth Management Intern, New York, NY
Marketing Coordinator, Boston, MA
Quantitative Research Analyst, Houston, TX
Analyst, Washington, DC
Business Analyst, San Francisco, CA

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Ah, Black Friday.  A time for holiday shopping’s savviest to roll out in the masses and line outside our local shopping malls and electronic stores well before preceding Thanksgiving dinners have come to an official close.  A time of weary cashiers, bulldozing mothers, and screeching children; of out-of-this-world markdowns on plasma TV’s, 4-for-1 specials, and feuds over wool sweaters.  This, my friends, is the plight – and joy – of the early bird out to catch that proverbial holiday worm.  And what of that proverbial career worm?  Let’s take a look at a few lessons we can take away from the most insane Friday of the year and apply it to our crazy quest for a new job!

Get There Early

Every smart shopper knows that the best deals go to those at the front of the line.  And every savvy job seeker knows that it’s in your best interest to stay on top of deadlines and to get your resume in early.  It’s easy to scour job boards and then put off applying to jobs you find for a few days; but remember that great opportunities go fast.  If you find something worthy of applying to, apply as soon as you can, before the position goes to someone else.  It’s also in your best interest to get your resume and cover letter in front of a hiring manager before a lot of other people do, as hiring managers tend to form an idea early on of whom they want to bring on for the job.  Getting your name in the final round can be a much harder sell once a manager has found other people they like.

Do Your Homework

The best way to get the most bang out of your buck is to figure out what you want, circle the corresponding deals in the newspaper, and head straight for the prize when you enter the store.  Likewise, the most efficient way to search for a job is to know what it is that you want, locate the appropriate openings, and focus on a game plan for applying – and hopefully securing – the reward!

Don’t Push and Shove

Being an effective shopper is all about keeping your cool.  The moment you get caught up in sparring with others, you’ll trip and fall and the crowd will pass you by – and probably trample you in the process.  As in shopping, handle yourself with grace and poise in the search for a new job.  Treat all people with respect, whether they be the people you are networking with, the people who are in charge of hiring you, or the people looking for your help in finding their next opportunity – remember, there may come a time when you need to ask for a favor in return.

Get In and Get Out

If you find yourself at an empty electronics shelf or clothing bin, don’t dwell on it.  Move to the next item on your list and get the most out of your day.  Likewise, don’t get disheartened if the perfect opportunity seems to come along, and you just don’t make the cut.  More than one prospect will arise, and it’s up to you to maximize your chances of securing one by sticking to a game plan and moving on when something doesn’t work out.

Whether you love or dread Black Friday, the important thing is that you have a good time and do what works best for you.  Everyone has a different shopping style, just as everyone has a different approach to searching for a job.  So whether you like to get in there early or come in at the eleventh hour, devise a strategy that allows you to get exactly what it is you want, before the good stuff sells out.

Happy holidays,

The Doostang Team

Doostang News November 22: What Are You Thankful For? Finding the Silver Lining in an Unsatisfactory Job or Unemployment

Credit Research Associate, New York, NY
Sr. Marketing Manager, Chicago, IL
Pre-MBA Private Equity Associate, San Francisco, CA
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It’s that time of the year when we take pause to reflect on all that we are grateful for in our lives – our health, families, good friends, homes… Even if there are things that aren’t going perfectly at the moment, we can take comfort in what we do have, and determine a course of action in order to obtain the things we want. Perhaps now is a good time to do the same for our professional lives, pinpointing where we are and where we want to be. Here are some points to consider, whether you have a job that you are unhappy with, or are currently unemployed and job searching.

What is working for you?

Broadly speaking, what are you grateful for in your current position? All negatives aside, what is it that keeps you showing up at the office each morning? Do you get paid well to do something you’re good at? Do you enjoy the people around you? Is this a necessary stepping-stone to where you envision yourself in the future? There must be something positive you can draw on, and understanding what that is will help you determine what is important to you in a job.

If you don’t have a job, think about the last time you did, or about a situation where you had a big project that you were working on. What worked for you and what didn’t? What environment was most conducive to success, and who were the key players that you were able to best collaborate with? Once you start putting together a list of the things that are most important to you in a job and a job setting, you’ll be closer to determining your ideal career.

What are you learning?

Even if finding something that you can be grateful for in your job is a huge stretch, at least you can be grateful for the fact that you are learning something. Perhaps you’re honing skills or gathering knowledge that you can take with you to your next position. Or maybe this simply means that you are learning how to better put up with people that you can’t stand to be around, or strengthening your will by clocking into a position that you abhor day in and day out. Even if you’re unhappy with where you are, there is always a way in which you are improving who you are as a professional or as an individual – or both.

If you’re frustrated with your job search, be grateful for the tenacity it takes to get up each day and hunt for your next opportunity. Perhaps you’re meeting new and interesting people in your efforts to network, or learning about opportunities you never knew existed, and hence getting a better grasp on what sort of position you’d like to pursue. What are you learning about yourself, as you work to hold yourself accountable each and every day?

Working at a job that you are unhappy with, or feeling unhappy about your current lack of a job, can be a trying experience. But be thankful for your ability to rise to the challenge and keep moving forward, despite apparent lack of morale – indeed, it takes a considerable amount of morale to commit yourself to anything. If you’re dissatisfied, figure out why, and what needs to change. If you feel stuck, experiment and determine what works and what doesn’t. Even the best opportunities will be rife with roadblocks, and your ability to handle these will really determine where you’re capable of going.

Thankfully yours,

The Doostang Team