The Access Point : Applying for Jobs

This is the podcast adaptation of the second episode of The Access Point! Part of the Living Corporate network, The Access Point is a weekly webinar preparing Black and brown college students for the workforce. If you’re looking to jump-start your career, this is content you want to follow. Catch new episodes every Tuesday at 7PM Central! (Note: The Access Point is currently between seasons. More to come in July!)

Check out full episodes of The Access Point, video included.

Get to know Tristan Layfield, Tiffany Waddell Tate, Mike Yates, and Brandon Gordon.

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Zach (00:00): Living Corporate is brought to you by the Liberated Love Notes podcast, part of the Living Corporate Network. The Liberated Love Notes podcast is a starting point of integrating self and community affirmations into your daily practices. The Liberated Love Notes podcast center the experience of black folks existing in white systems and speaks to overcoming imposter syndrome, disrupting injected and internalized forms of oppression, embodying an abundance mindset, and building a healthy racial identity. Check our Liberated Love Notes podcast wherever you listen to podcasts hosted by Brittany Janay Harris.

Tristan (00:47): Hello, hello, hello, and thank you for joining us back at The Access Point. So, today, we are going to have a great conversation about applying for jobs, and essentially, that job search process. But before we do, I want to quickly run an interaction bias because I want to make sure we all know why we’re here. We are brought here by Living Corporate. So, for those of you who don’t know what Living Corporate is, Living Corporate is a media network that creates content that centers and amplifies black and brown folks in the workplace, or in this case, getting ready for work.

(01:28): So, that’s what this new initiative is with The Access Point and we are really excited to have the first episode here today. So, once again, just a quick introduction to who I am. I’m Tristan Layfield, I’m the owner and head career coach at Layfield Resume Consulting. We helped over 500 job seekers leverage their value to transition their careers. So, I’m really excited to have this conversation with you all today and I want to pass it over to Tiffany, my co-host, who’s going to give you a little background on The Access Point. So, Tiffany…

Tiffany (02:02): Thank you, Tristan. So, The Access Point is the newest web TV series hosted by Living Corporate. The organization designed the series and this awesome lineup of guests that we have throughout the next year with the college students in mind and specifically, black and brown college students in mind. It wasn’t that long ago, it might’ve been a while ago, that I was in college, but we talked a lot about what some of the learning opportunities we could have hit while we were there, and the things that we wished we knew.

(02:32): So, we have a series of powerhouse guests over the next several months tackling some of the big rocks as it relates to preparing for that college to career pivot or college to corporate pivot. So, excited to be one of your co-hosts tonight. Again, my name is Tiffany Waddell Tate. I am CEO and founder of Career Maven Consulting, where I spend time career coaching and working with some talent consulting as well to help folks find good jobs and companies retain top talent.

(03:01): Tonight, we have Keirsten Greggs from Trap Recruiter with us. Keirsten, tell the people a little bit about you and your company.

Keirsten (03:09): I am Keirsten Greggs. I have been in talent acquisition for 20 years and when I started my business in 2016, it was to bring trust, relationship, building accountability, and a proactive approach back into the recruiting life cycle. So, I definitely am committed to empowering towards bridging the gap between job seekers and the organizations that are looking to attract select and retain diverse talent.

Tiffany (03:42): Awesome. So, tell us why you said yes to The Access Point invitation.

Keirsten (03:47): Because of Living Corporate. To be honest, the reputation was there, I have friends who have either been on the podcast or are going to be on the podcast. I follow via social media, the things that are going on. Any opportunity that I get to speak to early career, those that are just starting out in their career, I do that. Especially, black and brown people.

Tiffany (04:15): Awesome. Thank you for joining us.

Keirsten (04:18): Thank you for having me and I’m a little apprehensive. I’m the first guest and…

Tiffany (04:23): That’s actually good.

Tristan (04:28): No, you’re setting the tone. But no, we’re really excited to have you here. We are really excited for this conversation overall. So, Tiffany, you want to ask the first question here?

Tiffany (04:43): Absolutely. So, Keirsten, for college students and early grads who are just getting started on the job search process, whether they’re first or second year students, or they’re really just starting to dig in deep as they plan for a career transition, where’s the best place to start when you’re thinking about mobilizing a job search?

Keirsten (05:03): Well, I’m going to tell you that I think most people when they’re looking for a job, the first thing that they do is say, I have to get my resume ready. But I want to take people a few steps back in that, and I do what I call the job search steps, which aren’t necessarily a step because it’s more of a cycle. You’re always at one point in it. And the point zero is doing the work, the next step is doing the preparation and all that. So, I would say you need to prepare first and foremost to know what type of job you’re looking for. What’s ideal to you, what type of organization you want to work for, what your must haves are. Before you even start to craft your resume, I advise that folks do that first. Know exactly what you’re going to be searching for that way you know where to look.

Tiffany (05:57): Thank you. That’s so good.

Tristan (05:59): Yes. I really, really love that. Because I started off doing resume writing. Often what happens is people want to get their document done without understanding where they’re trying to go, right? And we know that creating the best resume for where you’re trying to go, it requires you to understand where you’re trying to go first. We have to tailor those things. You can’t just immediately jump out the gate and be like, I want to get a resume done. That’s just not going to work very well. You can get a resume done. It’s probably not going to land you very many interviews though. So, I love that answer. Now, in thinking about this, how might job seekers make themselves stand out during the job search process? We know the unemployment rate is high now, which means that the competition’s feirce. So, how do we make ourselves stand out?

Keirsten (06:55): Be discoverable. There is a lot of information online that’s available to the job seekers, but the job seekers also have to make themselves discoverable to potential employers. So, have your resume uploaded to the job sites that match your career field. Have a LinkedIn profile. Engage with organizations that you’re interested in working for. The ones that you’ve either applied to, or the ones that you’re thinking of applying to in the future when you’re when you’re ready, when your coursework is completed and when you’re ready to start searching for a job. Any opportunity that you can get an internship as well and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in your field. Volunteer, network, like I said, engage as much as you can.

(07:41): What I mean by engagement is even if you’re on a website and someone posts a story that you read, even if you just like it or put a comment that says, that was interesting. You may not even read it, but at least you’re letting it be known that you’re there. And then if the author perhaps, again, starts a conversation with you, that’s a great in. And I know that it’s difficult for folks to accept this a lot of times because they think folks like me, that recruiters are kind of the enemy and that we’re gatekeeping in a bad way and trying to keep people out of the employment space, but that’s not necessarily the case.

(08:19): So, find even recruiters that you can leverage. Recruiters that can advocate for you. Folks inside of organizations that mentor you through your school, through your internship programs. There’s a lot of ways that you can be seen and heard. And there’s a lot of tools you can use now as well. So, you’re on social media. Perhaps you have a YouTube channel that’s not even part of your career, but it gives folks and understanding and an idea about who you are as a person, who your authentic self is, and you’re showing what’s important to you. You’re showing the skills that you have that can translate into your future job. Do those things.

(09:02): Your passion isn’t necessarily going to be your job. I was lucky in the sense that I like to help people, but I didn’t even know what a recruiter was when I started recruiting. I was called upon. Monster had just come out, so I’m telling you all how old I am. So, Monster had just started and I posted my resume on this job board thing and someone reached out to me and said, come in for an interview for a technical recruiter. So, I’m searching, I don’t know what a technical recruiter is. And the interviewer said, we like your personality, we like your drive, and we’re going to train you to do the work. You have the foundation, but we’re going to train you how to recruit. So, I just say again, be discoverable and have ways that you’re putting your authentic self out there.

Tiffany (09:59): That’s awesome. So, Keirsten, it sounds like you’ve seen a lot in your experience as a recruiter. Well, just because you would know that full life cycle recruiting means you meet a lot of people in a short period of time. So, what are some of the common mistakes that you see college students or early career professionals make when it comes to their job search process or engaging with a recruiter or anywhere in between? What are some of those mistakes?

Keirsten (10:26): I think the common mistake or the mistake I see most often is being too laser-focused and not getting to the no quickly enough. So, when I say no, I mean, next opportunity. So, I think that those that are fresh in their job search, or just starting out and are kind of trying to figure things out, a lot of times they don’t recognize the signs of someone who’s ghosting them or even rejecting them and kind of just pushing them along. They haven’t done it enough to catch onto those cues and I think that they’ll spend more time waiting without following up and without asking the right questions. So, I would say to get to the no as quickly as possible, because it’s always about the next opportunity. And what that first job or that one employer that didn’t work out that time, that doesn’t mean that there’s not an opportunity for you there in the future.

Tiffany (11:29): That’s good. I love that, next opportunity, get to that no, and I think of the actual word no in a new way. Yes, awesome.

Tristan (11:39): So, I’m going to go a little off script here because I heard you mentioned something that I actually recently just did a conference presentation on and it was ghosting when it comes to the recruiting process. So, with ghosting, number one, can you tell people a little bit about what that is? Because I want to be mindful that we’re talking to college students and recent grads. They probably know it in the dating sense, but let’s talk about what that is in the HR recruiting sense. And then what do we do if we feel we’re being ghosted? Because that’s a question that I see come up often, and I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t know how to respond to. So, what do you think about that? I apologize for putting you on the spot here.

Keirsten (12:22): No, you’re not because I talk about ghosting all the time. And I always try to contextualize recruiting in everything I do. I kind of try and think about it as part of my career, as part of my recruiting. So, ghosting in your personal relationships is the same as ghosting in your professional relationships. It’s the not answering your emails, the not answering your calls, it’s the hiring someone and not telling you. So, if you were dating someone or you went on a date with someone, and then they turn up four weeks later on Instagram booed up and they have a whole new situation, hashtag goals and all that stuff, it’s the same thing with organizations. Because organizations do that too. They will totally ghost you. They will talk, they will court you for a while or they’ll go on that date with you.

(13:17): So, they’ll engage in an interview or a phone screen, and then you don’t hear from them again because they’re courting other people, they’re dating other people. And then if that person, if they’re ideal, if they’re A player didn’t accept the position, then they come to you six weeks later, two months later like, hi big head. No, don’t do that with me. That’s literally happened to me and I’m a recruiter. I have been going on an interview or going on two interviews with the same company, don’t hear from them, and then I guess two months later, they’re like, hi girl, it’s so good to see you.

(13:57): So, ghosting is the same way and treat it that way. I mean, like I said, if you’re getting to the no, if enough time has gone past with again, you having reached out and not gotten a response, that at least says something like I am so sorry, something changed in the process or we put this positional hold. They didn’t give you any feedback. If they did not set any expectations for you, it’s best that you just move on. And there is a chance, again, like I said, that they’ll go on those other dates and they’ll court those other people, and then come back to you as their plan B, or someone they’re going to settle for and whether or not you accept that date is up to you.

Tristan (14:44): Yes, I love that. I love that 100%. Ghosting is something that I think most of us have experienced at some point in our careers. It’s not something that happens every time, but it is something that will pop up on you and you’d be like, I thought I did everything right. It makes you start questioning what you did, like where did I go wrong? What’s going on here? You were talking to me before, we set up an interview. What’s going on?

Keirsten (15:16): So, let me again, I don’t normally do this, but I do need to take the side of the employer and the recruiter too, and say that job seekers ghost us too. They may, for lack of a better word, use us for practice. And they know they’d been waiting for their A player company to get in touch with them and perhaps their process is a little longer. So, they fill their time and their space and they keep certain folks in the friend zone since we’re keeping on the relationship reference. And we go to Dave and Busters. Is that even still open? I forgot how old that was.

Tristan (16:00): It is, it is, okay.

Tiffany (16:03): Dave and Busters is still going, yes.

Keirsten (16:06): Okay. So, they go on these little platonic group dates with us, and then, like I said, they’re just waiting for a better offer. So, I would say job seekers please don’t ghost recruiters or organizations either.

Tiffany (16:22): That’s so good. I worked in college career development for a number of years, and it was the number one thing recruiters would complain about is students leaving an interview seeming like they were shopping on a buffet and not interested in the position. So, it doesn’t mean that you’re being fake. It’s just when you’re in the interview and you’re having the conversation, show up like you mean it is essentially what I would tell students all the time, because you don’t want to leave a bad taste in a recruiter or hiring manager’s mouth.

Keirsten (16:55): Correct.

Tiffany (16:55): That’s good. All right Keirsten, so I have a question. From your experience, is there a difference between an applicant applying on a job board like Indeed or Monster or wherever versus applying directly on a company’s website? And if so, can you explain the difference?

Keirsten (17:15): There are differences and I just want to talk about the best of both. I strongly strongly suggest doing both. I’ll start with the job boards. Apply on job boards because you can search and have access to more jobs, to more employers that you may not have been familiar with. So, if you’re doing a search for a software engineering position, and in your mind, you only know those top tier companies, the ones that are in the news the most, the ones that come onto your campus, those are the ones that you’re going to be focused on.

(17:53): So, if you’re on Indeed, you’re going to see those other organizations that maybe don’t have the money to market and to brand themselves the way that these larger corporations do, but they’re also excellent places to work. So, you’ll have access to those folks and also you’ll have more people. If you save your resume and you allow yourself to be searchable and discoverable on those third party sites, those organizations can come and find you as well. Now, the pluses for applying directly to jobs for on the company website is that you have that time to go in and you can research the company.

(18:32): So, you’re not going by the things that you think about them, and what your friend said about working there. You’re actually making these decisions for yourself. Seeing how they fit you, not necessarily how you’re going to fit them. You can sign up for their talent communities. You can engage with their recruiters because when you apply online sometimes, or sometimes they’ll have the recruiter name to apply, reach out to this person. And you can go do your research on that company. You can go to your research on that recruiter.

(19:09): So, there are pluses to both things. Like I said, the third party sites give you a broader scale and then the direct company websites if you’re dead set on that organization, you want to spend your time and you know that’s the job that you want, then you’ll spend your time there, but I would definitely suggest doing both.

Tiffany (19:32): Awesome. Thank you so much.

Tristan (19:36): Nice. So, I want to pivot for a second to a part of the application process that many people talk about not liking and it’s the cover letter. People really feel like they’re obsolete. So, I wanted to get your take on this. What’s your take on cover letter? Should students and early graduates write and submit cover letters when applying, even if the application doesn’t require one, or what do you think about that topic?

Keirsten (20:04): So, I don’t mind cover letters because I think it gives job seekers the opportunity to tell a part of the story that’s not included on their resume. It may be that time that they can spend talking about themselves and how they meet the desired skills or those nice to have those things that are going to differentiate you, those things that are going to set you apart, that you cannot truthfully write to by just talking about your past experience. So, I don’t mind cover letters and if someone takes the time to write them, I absolutely read them. But I am an outlier when it comes to cover letters. So, if an organization does not require one, then you don’t need a cover letter.

Tristan (20:54): I like it. I like it. It’s pretty simple, pretty straight forward. When I talk to my clients, I always say, just because everybody else isn’t doing it, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that you shouldn’t do. And I’m always like, a well written, well tailored cover letter can never hurt, but a generic poorly tailored one, that can be your demise.

Keirsten (21:19): Let’s be honest. If you’re submitting your resume via email, and you’re attaching your resume because you have a connection to someone who said, here’s my email, send me there, then that is technically a cover letter, and you want to spend that time talking about why you’re applying and why you’re a fit. Now, again, if you’re just doing that copy and paste and say, I’m applying to your, and you’re treating it like a form and you’re just deleting and then putting that job at this place. Please contact me if you have whatever, then no, don’t bother. It’s not worth it.

(22:00): Now you might have that letter in there and I promise you that there are chances that the letter could be the thing that says, you know what? That person over the person who didn’t take the time to do the extra. Because applicant tracking systems always give you the option to upload additional documents. So, you can upload samples for your job when it applies. Again, every position is not going to produce artifacts. Every position is not going to… That’s not going to matter. If you’re doing something that doesn’t require you to show that you are an excellent writer, then it’s not really going to make a difference.

Tristan (22:42): Yes. So, next question.

Tiffany (22:46): Linkedin, another hot topic in the job search process. LinkedIn has been around for a while. People call it all types of things. I’ve seen students call it a professional Facebook. That’s not what it is, but that’s a conversation maybe for later. Keirsten, as a recruiter, what role do you see LinkedIn playing when it comes to landing interviews and jobs and should college students and early graduates reach out to recruiters directly through the platform?

Keirsten (23:19): Yes. If the recruiter has made it known that they want to engage people that way. LinkedIn is great for early career because well, the last time they took the statistics was in 2019. So, with COVID and with all the other things that are going on a 10.2% unemployment rate, this number has probably changed. But as of 2019, only 25% of the profiles on LinkedIn were from recent grads or college students. So, it is important that you get on there because when recruiters are coming to LinkedIn, which they do, they go to Indeed first or more often. Indeed is the most used site, but they do come to LinkedIn to search for folks.

(24:09): If you’re there and 75% of the other people aren’t, you’re going to be found. You’re going to be at the top of the list. So, I definitely do say use LinkedIn as best as you can, if you’re finding that there aren’t a lot of early career positions in your field being listed on LinkedIn, then that might not be the best place to spend the bulk of your time job searching, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t check back every once in a while and see what’s going on. You can search for recruiters at the organizations that you’re interested in, and just send a note if they have a job open. Send a note if their profile is open to receiving inquiries.

Tiffany (24:58): Awesome.

Keirsten (24:59): But I do agree that it is a professional Facebook, actually. Well, because I’ve been on LinkedIn since you needed an invitation to be on LinkedIn. It was only for us. You had to have a job in HR, NTA, to be invited to LinkedIn to talk to other people like you, and to be able to search and post jobs and like all that stuff came later. And it’s more so like Tinder right now than it is anything else. And it’s a cesspool in terms of the conversations that are had, the things that are most highly engaged have absolutely nothing to do with helping you be a better whatever it is your career track is.

(25:54): It’s a cesspool to me because I’ve been on it so long and I guess my network is big enough that for me, personally, when it is a highly engaged post that I make, it’s usually someone from my second level or third level connections who’s just coming to tell me how stupid I am, how wrong I am and call me all kinds of names that don’t have anything to do with anything. And I’ll respond and tell them peace and blessings.

Tiffany (26:22): I’m sorry that you’re experiencing that. People are wild on the internet streets.

Keirsten (26:27): No, they really are. I mean, again, LinkedIn, unfortunately is no different, so just be prepared.

Tiffany (26:33): Yes. Well, a follow-up question to that. For students who are just trying to build their LinkedIn profile, what are a couple of things they should keep in mind?

Keirsten (26:44): So, I’m pulling back on some of the things that I advise, just because again, where we are in terms of building more inclusive cultures, I’m not going by that script so much anymore. So, when I say, have a professional picture, what does that really mean? I mean, I think that it’s reasonable to not want to see a picture of your last date or you in a bikini, I mean, unless you’re going for a lifeguard job. I mean, if it makes sense, then yes, okay.

(27:24): Or I don’t know if we still do this, but when you’re taking a selfie and you do duck lips, something like that. Is that really what you want to project? And that may be. It may be funny, it may be a joke and some people may catch on to that, but personally, not okay. Now, as far as pictures go, I have turned people away or not accepted their LinkedIn connection requests. I had a gentleman who was shirtless. [Inaudible 00:27:56] No, I was like, he doesn’t have a shirt on. Or the people that again, they come and try and want to approach you on a personal level, or talk about your appearance or something like that.

(28:15): So, I would just say to keep it for whatever it means to you, as professional as possible. Have your contact information there. Have a way people can get in touch with you. Make sure that what’s on your resume and what’s on your profile matches. You can or cannot upload your resume. You don’t have to. If you do, again, someone else can open your resume and copy it. So, there are things that you have to be aware of. You can keep your profile as private as you want, or only have certain information available. But just keep it as, like I said, as professional, whatever that means to you as possible. And have an eye catching headline so that I know you’re looking for a job.

(29:13): When you are on there, your name is going to follow you. So, if you just click on the folks that are in your network and you’re connected to someone, look and see who else they’re connected to, or who else other people have searched for with that same job title, or in that same city, or that works for that same company. Go ahead and build your network. I like to say, build your network from the smallest point and then build out. Don’t try to bring the inside and then shrink it down. Start small and then build, build, build out.

Tristan (29:49): I love that. I love that. I tell people all the time you want to sort of focus on curating that connections list. You don’t want to just run for the numbers. The vanity metric of 500 plus connections is cute, but if you just connected with an admin in Czechoslovakia, I don’t know what that’s going to do for you. You need to be very mindful of who you’re bringing in and making sure that you’re sort of building on top of your connections, not just connecting with anybody. Okay, great.

(30:21): So, we got another question here and it’s about salaries. So, we know that based salary set the tone for what we’re going to get paid, especially in the job that we’re currently in. We go into a company, all of our raises are on top of our base pay. So, it sort of sets the tone there. With college students and early graduates having little experience, what advice would you give them in relation to like negotiating an initial offer?

Keirsten (30:49): Know what the market is in the city and in the industry, the job. There are free surveys you can run. You can put in like what is the average salary for an accountant in Niagara Falls? I don’t know why I picked Niagara Falls, but sure. And it will tell you, and not only that, it will tell you by the type of company. So, know what the job is worth and then add tax to that because that’s what you are worth. With respect to your job offering you an X salary, I think more companies are having pay transparency more so than they were years ago. And I’m hoping that more states will stop that question of what was your last salary when you’re looking for a job, because again, the salaries are go by the job, not necessarily the person.

(31:54): But inside of companies it is harder to get certain increases even if you got an additional degree, a certification, you took some training, you did a special project, there are bonuses, there are other things that you can do. So, I advise folks to think about their total compensation, especially when they’re working for organizations that are startups or that are smaller companies that offer benefits that some of the larger corps aren’t opening.

(32:25): So, if they’re offering you full healthcare, they’re closer to your home, you can work remotely in a percentage of the time, maybe a hundred percent of time. Perhaps they give you a stipend to ride public transportation, or they pay for your parking. There may be a gym, there may be other amenities at the site that another company doesn’t have. So, you have to think about the value also in the benefits package and in the perks, and think about the total compensation and not just what your base pay is.

Tiffany (33:02): That’s so good. It’s a lot more complicated than we might think. I think even after you’ve worked a number of years and have experienced under your belt, it doesn’t get easier, unfortunately. So, Keirsten, that’s the end of our formal list of questions, but I’m also just sitting here thinking about all of the great information that you’ve shared. And one question that we asked on our first episode, which was just co-hosts, there are four of us, and we were chatting about things that we wish we’d known when we were in college about the world of work. And so, now I want to pose that question to you. What do you wish that you had known when you were in college? What might you have done differently? What do you wish someone would have told you about navigating the workplace as a black woman?

Keirsten (33:54): I would have gotten internships. I did not do that. I worked in high school and I even worked in college, but I did not take advantage of getting an internship because I thought I was going to school to go to school again, to go to law school. So, there was never going to be get a job right out of college. So, I regret not spending time in corporate America. I was fortunate though that my mother had a workplace that she could bring me to. So, I saw things, but even then you’re kind of an outsider and you’re seeing things through a different perspective.

(34:30): So, if I was able to work inside of a corporate company and see how they do things, how things work, the politics, the bureaucracy, some of that nonsense, I think I would have been better prepared in the sense that I would not have been so shocked when things did not go my way. When barriers were put in my way and how to address microaggressions and all those stuff, and even feeling comfortable enough to have someone that I can talk to about those things. Knowing that I could do that, feeling like there was a place of safety, those are the things that I wish I had done earlier in my career and I should have started in college.

Tiffany (35:24): Yes. That’s huge and hard. I think even knowing all that we know now about the landscape of the workplace, the landscape of recruiting, it’s a lot to shoulder the burden of doing your job well, living your life and all the different components that go into your life and then trying to advocate for yourself and others to create a place that’s more inclusive for whoever else is there, or might come behind you. It is definitely emotional labor and it’s deeply important work. So, that is one reason why I was so excited that we had you on the lineup for tonight, because you I’m sure have seen a lot of things out here in the recruiting space. I mean, when you send people where all your comments on LinkedIn, I’m like, whew, I haven’t experienced that yet, but I definitely know that there probably is coming. Because some of those private messages only be a little wild.

Tristan (36:20): Hindsight is always 2020 when it comes to a lot of this stuff and one of the things that I know is we aren’t often taught how to get jobs, how to maintain careers, all these things. This is something that a lot of us did as first generation professionals. So, navigating that and being able to tell people sort of some of the pitfalls we’ve encountered can hopefully help them either not encounter them or navigate through them better. That’s really what I hope can happen there. This is a good question. So, it says, I feel like I remember applying to 500 jobs and got back three interviews. How do you avoid burnout?

Keirsten (37:10): So, wow. First, congratulations on keeping excellent records. Because I don’t know that even I would be able to keep up with how many jobs I have applied to. I would say that if you weren’t getting any feedback, again, it’s a matter of getting to the no, getting to that next opportunity and perhaps it was the resume. Perhaps it was the jobs that you were looking for. What things did you change? The folks that did call you back, what was different about them? What did you do different in that process? So, maybe trying to analyze where in the process things fell apart or things didn’t come to completion, didn’t get to the interview, didn’t get to the offer stage. 500 jobs is a lot to apply to. I don’t even know that I’m qualified for 500 jobs, but wow.

(38:12): So, for me, what I often think is I often say, it’s sort of the trial and error that you started talking about. It’s sort of figuring out what worked well and what didn’t work well inside of this process. And sometimes it’s sort of analyzing, was it my resume? Am I optimizing my resume to make it past those applicant tracking systems? If you got to the interview stage and you’re not hearing anything back, what’s your interview skills looking like? Maybe sometimes it’s not your resumes, maybe sometimes it’s your job search process. So, depending on the industry that you’re trying to go into, you can apply online but that’s also really competitive. You might want to try and figure out how to land a referral from someone to make you a little bit more likely to get somewhere.

Tristan (39:06): So, it’s really looking at all these different ways. You might be in an industry where the resume is not the best way to actually land a job. You need to develop a portfolio. That’s just simply what you have do. So, it’s really taking a look at your process and analyzing it piece by piece. Like Keirsten said, these three called me back. What happened in that process with those three that didn’t happen with the other 497? Let’s figure that part out because that’s the part that’s going well. What didn’t go well with the rest of it? And moving from there, I think is really, really critical.

Tiffany (39:42): Yes. I think that’s good. I would just add also just gathering feedback from people that you know, love and trust. And especially as it relates to if you are writing cover letters or you do get to an interview phase and it doesn’t convert.

(40:00): Asking for feedback. And if you don’t get it in the room or after that session, ask for feedback from people that you know, and do a mock interview simulation and do several of them. Because I think when I look back to college and a few years after, some people are naturally really good at having a conversation in what otherwise is a highly pressured situation. It takes a while I think for people to get comfortable with interview conversation. So, as a college student, that might not be your thing. Or maybe that’s your thing, but your cover letter writing skills are not great. Or maybe you’re good at those two things, but you’re really not great at creating good questions to use in an interview, which is important as well. There are pieces that we all have areas of skill around.

(40:48): And so, I always tell clients gather as much feedback as you can filter through it and keep the good. Like actually apply the feedback that you’re getting, because feedback is only as valuable as you use it. So, for college students these days, it’s like we’re out here all living in virtual land, you might have a leg up because you’re used to engaging with friends and family in a virtual environment. And so, if you can kind of pivot into job search mode, you might be able to really go after it if you’re really savvy. So, that’s all I would add.

Tristan (41:25): Yes. I love that. I love it. Okay. So, we’ve answered that question. We have another one that has popped up. What tips do you have for seniors applying to full-time jobs right now with Corona virus in the job market in the way it is currently?

Keirsten (41:41): Do it, there are a lot of jobs available and there are a lot of jobs that will allow you to remain remote jobs that you wouldn’t normally have access to because you don’t live in that geographic area. So, do it, apply.

Tristan (41:55): I agree. I think it’s about also figuring out how are you going to make yourself stand out? What can you do at this point in time to make yourself stand out? Maybe that is reaching out to the recruiter and introducing yourself. Maybe that’s doing some type of value validation project that you can put in one of the interviews. What can you do to sort of showcase what that return on investment in you is going to be? Because we have a lot of people that are out there in the market right now and if we want to stand out from them, we need to make sure that we sort of figure out we have that competitive edge. What makes us different? And we need to be able to communicate that when we’re talking to people as well.

Keirsten (42:39): This is a good time to take risks too. I say, go for it because I think there’s a different amount of time. We can pivot our time different ways, and as Tiffany mentioned a few minutes ago, you all have a competitive advantage against other generations in the sense that you grew up in technology and you can use it and leverage it in ways that does not come naturally. And it’s not second nature to a gen X-er like me. And that’s exciting.

(43:19): When I see something like that, when I get instead of a thank you note, a thank you video, I’m like, okay. Or when someone says, I went to your website and if you do a blah, blah, blah, I might not understand what they’re talking about, but I’m like, okay, thank you. And I don’t take it as a criticism, I take it as someone who is trying to show their value. So, there are ways that you can definitely make yourself stand out because you all are competing, not just with each other, but with what we haven’t had before. Three other generations in the workforce at the same time.

Tristan (44:03): Yes. I love that. I love that figuring out how to use technology to your advantage. I actually had a client recently who had a target. He studied marketing and he actually had a target company that he went to work at. He actually developed this entire targeted marketing scheme on Google ads to target the company. So, anytime anyone from that company was going to Google, they were ads about his resume.

Keirsten (44:36): I love it. I love it.

Tristan (44:39): So, it’s just finding ways that are like, look, I’m good at this. I know what I’m doing, or I know I want to do this. Maybe you can’t go as elaborate as that, but maybe it’s I know I want to go into HR so, start taking courses and certifications to show that you want to work towards that. That you’re actively seeking to get in that field too. That’s another way to help you stand out in those types of things. We got one more question that’s popped up in the chat. This question says, as an African-American woman, what are some books suggestions to help prepare for that transition from college to corporate or to simply gain insight into the workplace?

Keirsten (45:18): Man, that’s an excellent question. So, I’m going to plug the homie. Who’s been on Living Corp pod a few times, Minda Harts. I actually gave two of her books away as gifts to clients. So, definitely read Secure This Seat, if you are an African-American woman. That is an excellent book to read. And let’s see, I personally haven’t read any workbooks during the pandemic because I was trying to give myself some peace. So, I’d be reading things more so for pleasure. I was part of a book club and the last book we read was, The Highly Effective People book, which still has relevance, even though it’s generally about the industrial revolution.

(46:21): There is still a lot of relevance. There’s a lot of things that I took from there in terms of how I organize my work each day, in terms of how I organize my presentations and how I communicate with people. I would say, if there are any books on emotional intelligence that you can look up, take a look at those. Take a look at things that have to do with again, with whatever field you’re interested in or something that has to do with your passion. You’d be surprised, a knitting book might help you with something.

(47:00): Like I said, there have been things that I’ve read. I’ve been reading Octavia Butler books and they’ve helped me to stay sane. Because there’s a lot of leadership themes in her book. There are a lot of themes around how to be authentic and accountable and that’s one of my core tenets. So, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a book that is written just about the world of work that can help you. But 100% get Minda’s book and [inaudible 47:40] is another one. She has a good book about pivoting in your career now that’s normally for folks that have been working, but it will help those that are early in their career to get a jumpstart.

Tiffany (47:57): Yes, I would, co-sign on Minda’s book for real. And she has a theme Thursdays on Instagram where you can watch her by herself or with guests talk about topics that are relevant to the workplace. She’s everywhere and she’s awesome. I would add two more. They’re not written by black women specifically, but the Likability Trap by Alicia Menendez is a good one. That really just helps you think about how being yourself, whatever that means to you, doesn’t and shouldn’t be a barrier in the workplace. And it just kind of drops the concept of likability, which women and black women in particular, have to navigate is a very loaded word and all of that. So, I do recommend that.

(48:43): And then it’s a little old school, but it’s one of my favorites. First 90 Days, 100%, because I think a lot of times there are a lot of lessons in that book. When you’re early in your career or new to the world of work, you might not be thinking about work from a sort of strategy, often perspective, like how to step into being a professional. If there was one thing I could tell every college student it’s people are not giving out jobs for pity. You have a value add when somebody hires you. So, that is a mental shift that is required. And so, I encourage the first 90 days to get your head in the game in terms of activating your own agency as a professional.

Tristan (49:29): Yes. So, I second all of those books. I’m actually reading this book here right now, it’s called Diversity in the Workplace. Eye Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations About Identity, Privilege and Bias. It’s by Bari Williams, that is a black woman. So, I’m currently reading this right now. The other book that I have read it’s not written by a black woman, but it’s called The Two-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton. He actually gives a nice framework on sort of how to identify target companies, how to identify people at those target companies to reach out to.

(50:17): He gives this six point email on how to reach out to those people, how to track your follow-up inside of that. It’s sort of gives you an entire framework for your job search process so, you’re able to keep track of things, you know how to reach out to people appropriately. And I think it’s a really good framework to start off with and sort of add your own flair and infusion to from there. So, those would probably be my top two recommendations right now at this point.

Keirsten (50:48): He’s interviewed everybody.

Tristan (50:49): Everybody like literally. When he had Robin DeAngelo talking about white fragility on the podcast, I was like, bruh, that’s getting everybody up in here.

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