On to the Next Adventure!

Posted October 18, 2014 by Debby in A Personal Note / 11 Comments

Calm yo tits, I’m not quitting blogging. But, if you don’t follow me on Twitter, you may have missed the news!

I FOUND A JOB!!!

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Yes, starting this Monday, it’s back to work for me! I’m starting as a Marketing Assistant at a retailer, working on packaging development. I’m super excited, because it’s something that I did before (a bit) at my internship, and it’s a nice way to be creative, exploit all my marketing insights and knowledge, and put my perfectionism and eye for detail to good use. No, I’m not working in publishing, which is still the dream for me, but I figured I need to build up experience anyway, and I’ll keep trying.

What effect will this have on the blog?

I’m hoping not much. But the past couple months, I’ve been posting almost every single day – really aiming for 7 days a week. I don’t think I’ll be doing that anymore, because that’s just a lot of pressure. Expect 5-6 posts a week, and when I’m too tired or too busy, I might just be gone for a few days. This is a hobby, after all.

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Some insights from my job hunt!

Now I’m not saying that I’m the job hunting expert and that my tips will save your life. Uhhh, no. I searched for about three months, and as it is, my contract is initially only for 5 months with an option to extend. But, I still learned a lot, and since many of you may be facing this same icky stage in life, if this can help even ONE of you a tiny bit, I’ll be happy. If not, at least I have it here as a reminder to myself.

For Your CV

The biggest tip that I got for my CV (resumΓ©) helped me immensely: frame each work experience in terms of concrete achievements. Never just list the job responsibilities, because that means nothing. Lead with your results (numerical/statistical, if possible), then describe how you achieved them – as is also detailed in this article. If you do this right, you can really stand out and immediately come off as impressive and hard working. Here’s one of my own examples:

  • Successfully launched 16 product derivatives linked to strategic growth initiatives in a broad range of markets by coordinating with a large cross-functional team including production, I&D, communications design, and country organizations.
  • Found insights into unmet consumer needs, potential product defects, and input for I&D by leading thorough analyses into ratings and reviews to monitor consumer feedback.

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn! Now is the time!

For Motivation Letters

When you’re unemployed, it sucks, and it’s so tempting to just copy and paste near identical letters and send out as many as you can every single day. But that doesn’t pay off. In the end, I got to a system where I had nearly the same opening (introduction, recent work experience, what I’m looking for) and closing (general personality traits and contact info), but a heavily modified middle section depending on the job and company I was applying to. For that middle section, I think the most important thing to remember is do not repeat what is on your CV. If you only have one page, and they’re reading your CV too, you’re wasting space. Use it to instead show your understanding of the job and how you can add value to their team – shortly citing examples from your CV where applicable.

For Interviews

Practice, practice, practice.
Probably obvious, but good interviews just require a bit of experience. My manager during my internship gave me the tip to go to ALL interviews, even if you’re not really interested in the position anymore, when you’re searching for your first job. It’ll get you used to the kinds of questions asked, give you insight into what they’re looking for for different roles, and will eventually get you used to the nerves.

I had a lot of unsuccessful interviews at the start. I was a bundle of nerves, and it was super stressful. But I think that’s normal. In my last week of job hunting, I had 5 interviews in one week. I got used to it. I also worked together with employment agencies, which was SUPER helpful. They took me through roleplays and pre-interviews, and since they weren’t actually the employer, it calmed me down so much.


Find your happy place!

Ask the interviewer(s) open ended questions too!
This is something they always tell you, and I thought I knew how to do it. I would read job descriptions and the company website and think of things to ask, but more often than not, the interview started with a short explanation that answered all those questions. From the agencies I worked with, I got two good tips. First, ask the interviewer open ended questions about themselves – how long they’ve been working there, what they did before that, etc. That shows interest! The best interviews aren’t oral exams – they’re conversations. You’re talking to a person, not a company.

Second, prepare yourself with questions at three different levels: about the company (How certain processes work or recent activities?), the team (How many people are there? Which departments would you work with?), and the function (Specific responsibilities or requirements?). That really shows that you’ve considered multiple aspects of working there and that you are really interested/assertive.

Before you go in – give yourself a confidence boost!
I think too often I went into interviews stressing out about what questions they were going to ask, if I was prepared enough, and whether I had drilled all the company information into my head. This isn’t a test – it’s a conversation, and them inviting you means that at some level they were already impressed. Let go of previous rejections. It’s not arrogant to admit to yourself that you are capable of all that the job entails – that you are a valuable asset to them. I don’t like to brag, but a job interview is the worst time in the world to be modest. Modesty will come off as you being shy and unassertive, and you don’t want that.

The day of my successful interviews (oh right, I actually had two job offers in one day), I had a little talk with myself in the mirror, which gave me a confidence boost, and I spent the last few minutes before each interview listening to music that gets me pumped (mostly Fall Out Boy and Little Mix). I think it definitely helped.


I’m gonna be the very best.

How Blogging Helped Me Find A Job

I’ve talked before about how I put my blog on my CV, and I think it’s definitely helped me in my job search, in many different ways. Considering how much time we all invest in blogging, and what you can achieve with it, it is definitely worth mentioning. Here are some of the ways it helped me:

  • My blog shows that even for my hobbies, I never half-ass something. I invested the time and effort to teach myself HTML, CSS, and Adobe Photoshop, and create a nice design, a strong brand, and engaging content.
  • It shows that I’m a social person (in my own way). Knowledge of social media and online communities is not to be underestimated, though it definitely helps that I’m a marketer.
  • It shows that I have a life outside of my job. One of the agencies highly recommended always talking about your hobbies up front when asked who you are, because it makes you a more interesting person. In my winning interview, it was REALLY well-received when I was asked how I would describe myself in the office and I said, “She’s a hard worker, learns quickly, and always has a story to tell about the book she’s reading.”
  • It shows that I can build and maintain professional relationships in my private life. Seriously, for non-publishing companies, who don’t know much about the book world, getting ARCs and working with publishers or getting to go to BEA as press is majorly impressive.
  • Since I want to work in marketing – hey, look, I’m marketing books in my free time!
  • And more specific to me, I’m a highly organized planner and I have a spreadsheet addiction.

Anywayyyy..

This is much longer than I expected. *cough* But again, if it helped even one person, I’m satisfied. I’m excited for this next (first) step in my career and am happy to get back to working life πŸ™‚

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11 responses to “On to the Next Adventure!

  1. I’m about to start taking notes here! But seriously I really appreciate this. I’m still in university and not about to actually jump into a career just yet but I’m in need of some summer internships and your recommendations are really great. Best of luck in your new job!!
    Mari @The Sirenic Codex recently posted DNF Review: Breathe For MeMy Profile

  2. Your’e definitely helping a lot of people with this post. I’ve actually just started job hunting this past month myself so I’ll take any advice I can get. Especially as I only have three months to secure a job (and work sponsorship) or I have to go back home to the States – Noooo! So I think this is all really useful. I feel like the CV is one of my most difficult areas. I always want to focus more on quantity than quality, for some reason. Like, tell them every single thing I’ve ever done at any of my work placements so they know I can DO IT ALL, rather than inform them of how WELL I did at those tasks. I really need to fix that. And I definitely think I need to prepare myself a bit better for interviews. I’ve always done well back home, but this is a whole new world and I’m going up against tons of people for jobs here in London! So yes Debby, thanks for the tips! I know I definitely appreciate them πŸ™‚
    Asti recently posted Welcome to Horror October Fortnight!My Profile

    • Aww, thanks Asti! Glad I could help! I totally get that urge to want to talk about EVERYTHING, but recruiters will only be glancing at CVs briefly, so it’s better to stand out with strong achievements. My internship supervisor advised me to think critically about each job and what my biggest achievements were and how that relates to desirable qualities in a candidate. Like, the example about launching product derivatives showed my strength in coordinating within large multi-functional teams. The concrete findings from my ratings & reviews analyses showed a talent for research and a keen eye that spots trends. Just the act of rephrasing everything on my CV this way made me think about all that I’ve done in new ways and realize what my strengths are, making me better prepared for the interviews themselves.

      I hope you find something soon so you can stay in London! But they’d be crazy not to hire you! β™₯

  3. Fantastic post, Debby! I’m coming to a point in life where I’m about to have a heck of a lot of spare time so I’ve been job hunting as well. You’ve got pretty much the best of the best in terms of tips here. I definitely agree with the whole “letters” thing. I do it pretty much the same way with a solid opening and conclusion but definitely a personalised middle. It makes it so much for personal for them! Like I said, you’ve got the best tips and hopefully I find something soon πŸ™‚

    CONGRATS ON THE JOB! x
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted Seeking Saturday’s Read #8My Profile

  4. Yay! Congrats on getting a job! Job hunting can be so stressful. You listed some good tips, a few of those I learned during my job searching as well, but some things I still can’t do, like tooting my own horn, lol. I am so bad at showing how good I am at things. I don’t like bragging. And I agree, having a blog is certainly a good thing even when job hunting.
    Lola recently posted Sunday Post #96My Profile

  5. Amber Elise

    Congrats on finding a job! That’s really good info about using numbers as much as possible in your resume/CV. My one problem is that I only have teaching experience so I don’t quite know how to translate my experience to a numerical format. :/

    I have an internship interview tomorrow (hey, when you can’t beat ’em, join ’em) so this was a great refresher!

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

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