As the world continues to struggle with the social and economic impacts of Covid19, the fresh minds of 2020 college graduates knew that finding their first full time jobs was going to be hard, but they didn’t know it was going to be this hard. Having recently graduated and become CEO and founder of my own company, I have a unique perspective and an opportunity to share my knowledge and leave these college grads with some advice on how to successfully differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive environment. In this article I will be covering what I wish I knew before starting my own agency, and what I know now. Hang on tight.
Adapting to a new work environment
As we know, times are changing. The office is now your living room, the break room is now your kitchen, and team meetings are over video chat. All of these changes affect how we do work, not necessarily the work itself. Not only is this change difficult on the employees, it's difficult for managers as well. Managers were tasked with figuring out a way to foster the same level of communication and collaboration across individual employees and departments while these individuals and departments are no longer under one roof while simultaneously keeping tabs on the efficiency and mental health of their employees during these uncertain times. Many employees have set work routines that they are used to, and as a result of the up-ending of our work-life some of these routines and habits aren't beneficial as agency’s adapt. My company is not exempt from these changes. We have rolled out in the last 2 weeks changes in workflow that have affected every single department. Although these changes are for the betterment of the company and the accountability of my employees they do take some getting used to. A learning curve is normal, but my advice to prospective and existing employees is as follows; be a sponge ready to absorb new practices, don’t be set in your ways, acknowledge that there will be mistakes and brainstorm ways to make a process better. Changes might start at the top, but the effectiveness of those changes start at the bottom.
Communicating and being heard
The interview process could be one of the most unique interactions two humans can share together. As the Founder and CEO of a growing agency, I’ve conducted more than a handful of interviews. Resume quantifiers -like experience and skill-sets- are not the only important aspects of an interview agencies look at. Although experience and skills are important in evaluating a prospective employee’s fit in a company, equally important is that of the person themself. During an interview it’s very obvious when a prospect is telling you what you want to hear. And although getting told what you want to hear is nice, it does nothing for evaluating the benefit a prospect can bring to a company. The most impactful interviews are those when the interviewee is genuine. Genuine in their opinion on the agency, genuine in their representation of their skills and experience, and most of all genuine in themselves. As the prospect answers questions, not only are the answers to the questions important, the way they respond to the questions is as well. As we progress through the 21st century, a business's culture has moved from the back burner to the forefront of efficiency planning. Fostering an inviting, diverse workforce that shares similar work values and goals means that each employee has their specific place, and specific ways they contribute to the culture. Displaying your true self in an interview is not only beneficial to your chances of making an impression on the interviewer, but gives you a greater chance of when that job offer finally comes, you are a perfect fit.
Tools to help
It might seem overwhelming as a college graduate attempting to enter the workforce. There's a thousand different places on the internet to look, and a thousand more companies that don’t seem to be hiring. One benefit of the 21st century is the internet. Adding social media to your job search is essential, and the benefits of a professional and updated linked-in profile is one of the secrets to getting noticed by hiring managers. The first advice regarding linked-in is to do your research. Companies rarely are going to reach out to you on Linked-in, you’re going to need to lay the groundwork. The first step is knowing what you want to do, not what you’re willing to do, but what you want to do. Find the perfect company, and then find 10 more that fit the profile of what you're looking for. Since companies won’t be Dm’ing you, you’re going to be reaching out. The more you reach-out, the more likely it is a company will view your profile. With a profile view by a company, and a few messages with their hiring managers will get your foot in the door. You might not get many responses, but each conversation and each interview process you participate in will be practice for when your dream agency responds. My advice is don’t be discouraged, the more you communicate with companies, the more knowledge you as a prospect collect to further refine what you want to do.
Elijah Schneider is CEO and founder of Modifly.