The Job Application Process Survival Guide: Part I

I think we can all agree that when it comes to job searching, there’s no such thing as “the thrill of the chase”. Between the countless hours of resume tweaking, cover letter writing and interview prep, applying to jobs seems like a full-time career in itself.

At Bloc, we believe in being strategic, so we’ve streamlined the process so you can keep your mind in the right place and get back to being excited about your new career switch.

For this career guide, we’re not going to bore you with the same regurgitated advice that you already know (although, yes, you should delete that Facebook photo of you breaking the keg stand record). Instead, we’ll help you where it really matters by providing vision and helping you take action.

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Be Strategic
Congratulations! You’ve just graduated from one of our programs and are looking to show off your skills. Many job hunters make the mistake of letting their excitement send them on a resume submitting frenzy. Instead of “clicking to apply”, first make a list of what you have, what you want, and your actionable steps to get there. Start with the skills and contacts you can utilize, look into the areas (both task-oriented and geographic) you want to develop in your career, and create a document tracking your outbound applications. We’ve got a template for you here.

 

Hard Skills Alone Won’t Get You There
This is an important concept to understand. Application processes are often resume-oriented and it can seem like a lot of people have the same skill sets when only looking at the surface. If an employer has followed up with you, chances are that they already think you are qualified. This next step in the interview process is for the employer to understand how you think. To pass this test and land the job means you’ll have to  demonstrate your critical thinking abilities alongside a soft skill set that shows you work well with others and can get the job done. Beyond this, build a connection with your interviewer. Transform your interview from an interrogation to a conversation. Ask questions about your interviewer and show concern for the problems the team is trying to solve. This will show your interest for the company, the team, and the mission.

Some examples of this could be:
What was your journey coming to this company like?
What are some of your most valued qualities in a teammate?
What are your team’s long and short term goals?
How would you describe your leadership style?
Who are some of your career mentors or role models?

Never Underestimate the Value of Network Building
My first job out of college came from running into an old acquaintance at a department store. I had just moved to San Francisco from the east coast and knew no one in the city. Upon shopping for bedding and essentials for my new apartment we caught a glance at each other and instantly dispelled into a chorus of, “What are you doing here?!” Later that week I had my first interview and by the end of the month I was signing an offer letter.

I don’t completely subscribe to the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” but being courteous and going out of your way to start a conversation creates opportunities. Before you blindly send out emails and stalk executives on LinkedIn, look to your personal network for opportunities to connect.

Leverage Short Term Goals to Reach Your Long Term Goals
It is said that happiness is perceived value based on how our expectations meet reality. Often job seekers have their eyes focused on a singular role or company that leads them to think anything else is failure. In Silicon Valley we see this often with companies like Google, Airbnb, Uber, and Facebook.

Although many of our graduates have been lucky enough to land the job they wanted, don’t assume that your dream job will be the first job you get. Often times, it requires practicing and developing the skill sets you want to prepare yourself for the big gig. For your first job out of the program, look into roles where you’ll be able to work in a team and learn from experts in your field to leverage your short term goals to get to that executive level.

Want it. Be Motivated
To make any major change in your life, you must first change your way of thinking. Use these tips and the ones to follow in our Job Application Survival Guide: Part II to stay focused and keep your sights set on the career you want. Reach for the stars and hack the planet with Bloc.

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