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      01-29-2021, 12:15 AM   #1
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I need career advice

As I sit in my shoebox (zoom) university apartment that I haven't left in a few days I though it would be wise to use this amazing tool, the internet, and ask a bunch of people who have many more years and experience on me some questions that I think most of you wished they would have asked when you were starting out.

I graduate with my fancy Penn State Business Management degree in May and like all of my peers I have yet to find a job in this terrible job market and am in a funk sitting day in and day out taking sub-standard online courses. I thought with my automotive experience and my experience running my own business selling CIC kits that one of the new car manufactures would be quick to pick me up. BMW NA as well as a few others never even responded to my applications . It seems like all of the employers can not even wrap their head around what I do. I have been applying to at least three jobs everyday and at least I do get some interviews unlike some of my peers.

I guess the main three questions I have are how the hell do I make myself stand out in this terrible job market?, where the hell in the US should I even move to? and what would you do in this situation?

I don't really want to go back home as I am ready to get my life started and want to start saving for a house. Home modifications at least appreciate in value unlike car modifications.
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      01-29-2021, 12:56 AM   #2
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1. Research, research, research
2. Take a sniper shot, not a shotgun blast approach
3. Be a doer, not an idea guy
4. Anyone can point out problems; try to focus on actionable solutions


1. Research. Research the company you're applying to, the position, the team. Find the hiring manager / recruiter on LinkedIn. Find their Facebook / Instagram / Blog / Youtube channel. What are they interested in? What catches their eye? What are their side hobbies? What charities do they donate to? What's the company mission? What's the market / competition like? What products do they sell besides the obvious? Why do you want to work for them? What's an improvement you could make to their products - or a market they could expand into? What's a gap they have that you've identified? Etc, etc, etc. I highly doubt you've done this for 3 companies a day - most people don't even do it for a single company they "really really really want to work for" and that includes FAANG.

2. Once you've compiled all this, start hunting their job postings. Find one at least closely related to what you think you can do - don't worry about meeting 100% of the requirements, but aim for at least 70-80%. Then tailor your resume to that job posting. You may end up with a few different versions of your resume - that's fine. Get the meat and potatoes in there and then dress it up with tweaks for each position / hiring manager you're trying to appeal to. Reach out to someone at the company you know on LinkedIn or Facebook and see if they can give you a quick intro to the hiring manager or recruiter. Personality and culture fit DO matter. Once you make the connection, save the job listing link / # and have it ready along with the corresponding resume. Give it directly to the recruiter / friend / manager if the conversation goes well. Or try to have it passed along to them. You may need to be persistent - being local always helps.

3. Active language / projects that demonstrate quantifiable progress on something. It's easy to spot the bullshitters - "facilitated this" "helped with" that etc. Put it in terms of "I did [x] with [y] to achieve [z], utilizing [a] and [b]" When the interview - even if it's just an initial phone screen - comes, have stories ready about projects / times you've been that person of action. Even if you failed and it didn't pan out. You can always spin failure into lessons learned and fail forward.

4. Following on from #3 + #1. If you can identify what you think is a gap with the company, come up with a potential solution, and propose that as the reason you want the related position, it will come across well even if they disagree or are already working on closing the gap. Or even if you've misinterpreted the way they're taking the company (though that might be a small yellow flag, so do try to learn what you can about their industry and competition).

There is almost always work for those who DO and take action. You may indeed have to move for it - that's good that you're already accepting that and being flexible. It can help to target large companies with offices in multiple states - especially if they're primarily located in heavy population centers (VHCOL areas). Often, they have a difficult time getting current employees to move to remote locations for roles, so for example if you look up someone like Google, Facebook, Cisco, WalMart Labs, etc they have offices spread out across the US. Contrast that with Amazon, who are primarily in Seattle / SF Bay Area and anything outside of that is data center or distribution center. Apple similarly is primarily just the bay area, though of course they have Apple stores everywhere if you're looking at that. Picking a field as well will be useful - a discipline like Global Supply and Logistics will have far more location possibilities than software engineer, but sales will have even more locations available.

Figure out what you want to try and get your foot in the door for that first job. Be hungry, helpful, and knowledgeable, and you'll gain mentors in no time who can show you the ropes and boost you further.

Good luck.
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      01-29-2021, 01:17 AM   #3
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OP, you need to study NorCalAthlete post like you are cramming for a final exam. I've seen some good advice on this forum and what he just posted is in the top 1%. Flawless. I've hired probably 100 people in my career and interviewed well over 1,000 I'm sure. Everything he laid out for you is exactly what I look for when I'm recruiting. I want a candidate who is smart, creative, humble, and motivated. All of those qualities are on exhibit in candidates who do what he advised.
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      01-29-2021, 01:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by NorCalAthlete View Post
1. Research, research, research
2. Take a sniper shot, not a shotgun blast approach
3. Be a doer, not an idea guy
4. Anyone can point out problems; try to focus on actionable solutions


1. Research. Research the company you're applying to, the position, the team. Find the hiring manager / recruiter on LinkedIn. Find their Facebook / Instagram / Blog / Youtube channel. What are they interested in? What catches their eye? What are their side hobbies? What charities do they donate to? What's the company mission? What's the market / competition like? What products do they sell besides the obvious? Why do you want to work for them? What's an improvement you could make to their products - or a market they could expand into? What's a gap they have that you've identified? Etc, etc, etc. I highly doubt you've done this for 3 companies a day - most people don't even do it for a single company they "really really really want to work for" and that includes FAANG.

2. Once you've compiled all this, start hunting their job postings. Find one at least closely related to what you think you can do - don't worry about meeting 100% of the requirements, but aim for at least 70-80%. Then tailor your resume to that job posting. You may end up with a few different versions of your resume - that's fine. Get the meat and potatoes in there and then dress it up with tweaks for each position / hiring manager you're trying to appeal to. Reach out to someone at the company you know on LinkedIn or Facebook and see if they can give you a quick intro to the hiring manager or recruiter. Personality and culture fit DO matter. Once you make the connection, save the job listing link / # and have it ready along with the corresponding resume. Give it directly to the recruiter / friend / manager if the conversation goes well. Or try to have it passed along to them. You may need to be persistent - being local always helps.

3. Active language / projects that demonstrate quantifiable progress on something. It's easy to spot the bullshitters - "facilitated this" "helped with" that etc. Put it in terms of "I did [x] with [y] to achieve [z], utilizing [a] and [b]" When the interview - even if it's just an initial phone screen - comes, have stories ready about projects / times you've been that person of action. Even if you failed and it didn't pan out. You can always spin failure into lessons learned and fail forward.

4. Following on from #3 + #1. If you can identify what you think is a gap with the company, come up with a potential solution, and propose that as the reason you want the related position, it will come across well even if they disagree or are already working on closing the gap. Or even if you've misinterpreted the way they're taking the company (though that might be a small yellow flag, so do try to learn what you can about their industry and competition).

There is almost always work for those who DO and take action. You may indeed have to move for it - that's good that you're already accepting that and being flexible. It can help to target large companies with offices in multiple states - especially if they're primarily located in heavy population centers (VHCOL areas). Often, they have a difficult time getting current employees to move to remote locations for roles, so for example if you look up someone like Google, Facebook, Cisco, WalMart Labs, etc they have offices spread out across the US. Contrast that with Amazon, who are primarily in Seattle / SF Bay Area and anything outside of that is data center or distribution center. Apple similarly is primarily just the bay area, though of course they have Apple stores everywhere if you're looking at that. Picking a field as well will be useful - a discipline like Global Supply and Logistics will have far more location possibilities than software engineer, but sales will have even more locations available.

Figure out what you want to try and get your foot in the door for that first job. Be hungry, helpful, and knowledgeable, and you'll gain mentors in no time who can show you the ropes and boost you further.

Good luck.
This is the type of information that I am paying for at University but never received. Thank you so much for taking the time of your day and sharing your wisdom with me.

My ultimate end goal is to run my own proper company / buy a franchise but I do not expect to have enough capital for that for another 10 -20 years. I have been applying to mostly sales positions, HR roles and management training program mostly. A friend recently told me she sees me more in the background as someone who makes things happen over someone "in the spotlight". I think I should move a way from sales roles and stick to managment.

I never been much for social media but I think it would be wise to get more Linkedin connections and start tailoring my resume / cover letter for specific jobs and hiring managers. Now that I think about it a finance company made me write a few page paper explaining what improvements they could make to their website and I told them they should start harvesting automotive information from their users so they can better sell car insurance sponsored content ads and maybe advertise CarMax trade in value rates. That must have been a good suggestion since I now have a three hour interview with them in a few weeks. I will definitely look into their hiring manager on Linkedin. Looking more into the job they expect you to work 55+ hours a week which I am not sure how sustainable that is in the long term.
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      01-29-2021, 02:13 AM   #5
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You guys are too generous lol but thank you. I’m laying in bed drunk and typing this all out on mobile or I’d drop in more links and videos and stuff.

Back on topic :

1. “Sales” consists of a lot more than just “in the spotlight” people. Particularly in tech or big business, any salesperson tends to have a sales team supporting them - they may be in the spotlight but they rely on sales engineers, architects, technical marketing managers, etc that all fall under the “sales” umbrella. So don’t count out sales roles just yet.

2. I’ve never been one much for social media either, but I recognize and acknowledge the role it plays these days. It’s absolutely still possible to get hired the old fashioned way, with a handshake over beers after you just met someone, but given the current pandemic circumstances it would behoove you to get savvy real quick. Particularly when you already have a starting point - your POC at the finance company. Consider it a dry run if nothing else. Look up their LinkedIn, google their email, see who their coworkers are that they’re connected to, branch out from there.

3. A 3 hour interview is no joke - see if you can contact the recruiter and ask for any particular topics to brush up on over the next few weeks.

4. 55+ hour weeks isn’t great but it’s not terrible for a first job either. Particularly if you can get OT rates. I’d be wary on legally requiring you to work excessive hours, but it’s not uncommon unfortunately for a “company culture” to strongly encourage such behavior and expectations.

5. But hey, if they’re gonna pay well, fuck it. I’m assuming you’ve taken at least a couple statistics courses by now and understand a standard distribution. I’m blanking on some of the terms but the top 5% of stuff - you could consider that jobs that pay well, that you love doing, and that you’re good at. At the bottom, you have the jobs you hate, suck at, and don’t pay well. A lot of people will tell you “do what you love” or chase your passion. I say “do what you don’t hate, as long as it gets you everything you love.” Maybe that’s money, access, whatever, but point is it opens up the other 90% of shit in the middle. I’m a fan of Mike Rowe’s philosophy of “passion isn’t something you find or pursue, it’s something you bring with you to everything you do.” You’re young and starting out - your passion may change once you have to do it for work. So instead, try to learn to enjoy amd be passionate about whatever you’re doing. Derive satisfaction from success and competency - whether that’s as a plumber or an accountant, project manager or engineer. Take pride in your work. Figure all that out and 55 hours will fly by.

6. Speaking of hours though one of my pet peeves is busy work and inefficiency. I have a saying - “bureaucracy is the epoxy that lubricates the gears of progress.” Spend a bit of extra time chopping down or streamlining the workload for your coworkers and managers and see if you can’t get everything they want done in less time than they expect - and spend the extra time enabling everyone else around you to do the same. Take it as a challenge to improve the things that aren’t necessarily in your job description and it’ll be worth it one way or another - even if only as a good story and resume bullet for the next job if they don’t appreciate your efforts after a couple years.
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      01-29-2021, 02:34 AM   #6
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I am going to PM you my phone number. The advice given here is fantastic so far. I can give a bit more, but it would take three pages to type and I just don't have it in me.

Give me a yell tomorrow and I will give you my .02 if you are interested in hearing from a guy who has done a bit...

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      01-29-2021, 03:21 AM   #7
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NorCalAthlete just gave you some stellar advice. I can only stress how crucial it is to knowing the right people. Network, get in that circle and get intros to the right people. I've gotten my biggest contracts by simply being on someone's radar as someone who's not only going to bring something substantial to the table, but that is going to be easy to work with.
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      01-29-2021, 07:06 AM   #8
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Not really life advice, but at least a way for you to start earning money from home using your skills to start your own business. Once you get enough experience doing what you do best, you can then build a catalog of projects completed and use it as part of your resume. I've also found that people who take a hobby and turn it into a business are usually happier.

I just started using this website www.upwork.com to find people who can work from home doing my insurance work. It's a tedious process, yet I can find some do it as I need. I don't hire the cheapest person, but I don't hire the most expensive either. I look at people who have earned more than $10k, with at least a 95% good rating. Some people on my search lists have earned $100's of thousands by working independently.

BTW, this is also a good site for us small business owners looking for employees. There are tons of search options. I also search outside of the US for simple projects.

Good luck.
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      01-29-2021, 07:14 AM   #9
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A couple of thoughts on NorCalAthletes’ second point:

1. Build a very good resume, with his points in mind. Accomplishments is key here. As a student, you may not have a lot of work experience but you have done some things, whether in school, volunteering, travel, church, whatever. Identify the times you’ve taken a leadership role, taken action that made a difference, accomplished something significant to the organization.

2. Keep track of each application you make for at least two months after the last contact. This will be important for follow up and any calls you get out of the blue. Have these ready to quickly access as a phone call begins (back before home computers I’d clip the job ad from the newspaper, tape it to a sheet of paper, make a few notes about it there, then put my resume, cover letter and any other correspondence - including notes of calls in chron order - in a file folder with the company name, job title and date of the ad on the tab. Obviously with a computer you can organize much more easily and have quick access as needed).

3. Customize. Again back in the day tech and costs were such that we printed resumes by the 100s or 1000s, and hand typed a pretty standard cover letter. Today you can tailor the basic resume to the job, and definitely tailor the cover letter to hit on every point in the job listing. So if you are sending a unique (rifle shot) resume and cover letter (or email) to each company/job, be sure to keep them very well organized. When you get a call, you want to be ready to respond to questions on the exact documents you sent them.
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      01-29-2021, 07:19 AM   #10
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One other thought that has served me well through several job transitions: Make finding a job your full time job. Get up in the morning like you’re going to work, dress appropriately, and get to work on the newest jobs. Then at a decent hour for the time zone, start networking calls, then follow-up calls, etc. Establish a routine and follow it. The more serious you are about it, the faster you will develop success skills for it.

Once you land a job, keep up with the network you’ve built. Reciprocate to help others as best you can; networking is a lifetime career skill and opportunity.
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      01-29-2021, 07:24 AM   #11
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In addition to the great advice already posted, I have 3 more points:

1) In a tough economy you need to cast a wide web. I applied for over 110 postings before landing my first job out of college. That resulted in 2 interviews, and 2 offers. Apply like it's your job, because it kind of is now.

2) See if the company has a continued education program which can pay for part or all of your Masters. Masters degree won't help at first, but after 10 years of experience it will be the next crucial thing to get higher up the corporate ladder, and you will learn more about running a business.

3) Have a plan. Your first job is just that, your foot in the door. Every 3-5 years re-evaluate what your long term goals are, and seek the next career move which will help you get toward that goal. You have to actively seek this out, and make the moves happen. Some people think that if they just do their job, and keep their head down they will automatically be promoted and given the next role. Not how it works. You have to ask about it, think about it, plan and do.
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      01-29-2021, 09:09 AM   #12
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This is the type of information that I am paying for at University but never received. Thank you so much for taking the time of your day and sharing your wisdom with me.
This brings up another question...are you working with your university's career center yet? Most have one, and will assist with writing your resume in a format that gets past the initial AI screenings and lands their students interviews. They also have their own networking connections with major employers, and sometimes even have an alumni network where alumni help new graduates land their first jobs at the companies they work for.....
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      01-29-2021, 10:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
This brings up another question...are you working with your university's career center yet? Most have one, and will assist with writing your resume in a format that gets past the initial AI screenings and lands their students interviews. They also have their own networking connections with major employers, and sometimes even have an alumni network where alumni help new graduates land their first jobs at the companies they work for.....
Yeah kinda forgot to mention this part but dude hit up your favorite professors, tutors, classmates that graduated before you and got jobs, people you did internships with. Right now that IS your network. Itís Penn - that isnít exactly a slum school nobody has heard of and Iím 100% sure if you have a professor whose class you aced or who just liked you, you can leverage that. Donít discount letters of recommendation from them at this point - and you can also probably ďassistĒ with writing one for them and presenting it to them for edits / signing (do NOT ghost write something without their knowledge or approval).

Also donít discount campus jobs - might not pay well but even a few months of experience to get your foot in the job market door beats doing nothing but job hunting for that time. You need to get actual work experience on the resume.

P.S. At least for my school, I knew quite a few people who went from tutoring > graduation > campus job > jumping to a private company 1-2 levels above those who just got straight into a private company. And depending on the university pay can still be competitive. I also had professors who taught the early bird 0600 classes before they went to work and openly admitted they were using their classes to scout talent - started off every semester with ďyou guys may have heard but Iím a full time ____ at ____. Top 5 in my class I offer internships. If youíre in one of my senior / masterís classes, that internship turns into a full time position.Ē My college roommate and 3 classmates all ended up working for him for 2 years fresh out of college. No interviews, just offers. He essentially used the entire semester as an interview to see how well we worked together, learned, etc. I was top 10 but not top 5 lol. Still though.
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      01-29-2021, 11:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000cs View Post
One other thought that has served me well through several job transitions: Make finding a job your full time job. Get up in the morning like you’re going to work, dress appropriately, and get to work on the newest jobs. Then at a decent hour for the time zone, start networking calls, then follow-up calls, etc. Establish a routine and follow it. The more serious you are about it, the faster you will develop success skills for it.

Once you land a job, keep up with the network you’ve built. Reciprocate to help others as best you can; networking is a lifetime career skill and opportunity.
I'll add a tweak to this a bit -

Everything so far has been largely targeted at getting TO the interview / getting the call back.

However, once you're there, it's entirely on you to prove your chops. So I would split your time between job hunting and continuing to learn - pick up new skills, add a certification or three, review / refresh your weak spot courses, refine your strong point courses.

I've done all of the above and gotten an interview within a matter of days and still gotten declined because I fumbled the technical portion of an interview. It happens. Keep pushing and learning and never stop.

Decades ago this may not have been as crucial, though still important. These days you are competing globally for just about anything, even in the middle of Nowhere. Additionally, as evidenced above, with the amount of resumes getting shotgunned out to every position and company, there's a lot of noise to sift through which makes it even more difficult to stand out. Lots of people bullshitting on their resumes, hyping up their skills or outright lying about expertise - "fake it till you make it".

Anything you put on your resume is fair game for an interviewer or recruiter to start grilling you on, and you never know what's going to become their test to see how much you're bullshitting. At the bottom of my resume, partially just to fill space and partially to help with culture / personality fits, I dedicate a portion to listing hobbies / interests / current reading list / volunteering. That portion, taking up maybe 1 square inch of my resume, has come up sooner or later in every single final-interview-before-the-offer and sometimes in the initial interview.

I had a 45 minute interview that, 5 minutes in, turned to discussing the broader points of Starcraft strategy. I didn't have Starcraft listed, but I had included that I liked video games, and the interviewer was a competitive Starcraft player. We discussed everything from rush strategies to the broader eSports market, PC "Bangs" in South Korea, dynamics of casual fans to serious players, social media followings, and pay scales for the athletes. This was like the 5th interview in a series where I'd already covered other aspects of the job, and was in a 2-on-1 interview with the manager and senior manager who'd be over me. I got the job.

Point being, you need to be up to date on everything you throw on there, don't just fill it with buzzword bingo unless you actually know every aspect of that buzzword - or at least enough to keep a conversation on it going for 45 minutes. Granted my example may not be typical - I work in tech so I anticipated there would be a higher likelihood of gamers - but the overall strategy still hails back to my first post of "figure out what the people interviewing you may be into."

It may seem like a "good old boys" club, but at the end of the day there will always be 1,000 other people who can do the technical aspects of the job. As long as you can pass that hurdle it will come down to "can I stand to be around this person for hours every day, every week, for years? Will they be toxic to the team or a benefit? Can they communicate well? Can they think on their feet? Can I see myself sharing a drink with them and trusting them with conversation when I'm drunk?"

Lastly, keep in mind interviews are 2-way streets. Have questions ready to ask at the end. For example you've already sussed out that 55+ hour work week expectations may not be for you, at least not long term. That's a good data point to learn early. But take that train of thought and chase it down the rabbit hole - WHY are there such long hours? Is it just the rest of the team is THAT enthusiastic about what they're doing? Is it due to crunch deadlines? Ever-changing business requirements? Problems with the product development cycle? Market pressures like annual cycles? Leadership that has grandiose ideas but corporate dementia, constantly forgetting what they'd already planned and attempting to implement things that contradict or conflict with earlier plans? What are the advancement opportunities like? Travel opportunities? Relocation opportunities? Growth of the company / future prospects?

Don't be afraid to interview the interviewer. Any good interview will tend to reserve at least 5-10 min at the end for that kind of stuff usually, though sometimes you can get caught up in hashing something out together and lose track of time (which can be a good or a bad sign depending on things).

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Quote:
I thought with my automotive experience and my experience running my own business selling CIC kits that one of the new car manufactures would be quick to pick me up.
Ok, WHAT experience? How did you lay that out on a resume? What did you actually do? Did you throw up a drop shipping website, buy some ads, and wait to see what happened? Did you actually turn a profit? Did you play around with different approaches to marketing / selling / acquiring / distributing and compare / contrast them to see which got you the best bang for buck? Did you do any analysis on which kits sold better on what platform? Did you draw up a business plan? Pitch investors for additional funding? Crunch the numbers on how to expand? Look into improving the kits? Do any market research on your competition? How many employees did you have? How did you handle payroll? HR? Did you ever have to fire anyone? Hire anyone? What software did you use to keep your books? Which ones did you try / end up not liking? What processes are you familiar with? Ever used Tableau? Excel? How good are you with statistics? Etc.

Additional note on that - learn the FUCK out of Excel, I'd say 99% of people in a corporate environment barely scratch the surface of its capabilities. My data analysts are fucking wizards and even then I've seen a huge disparity between analysts using it. Business courses give you a starting point - expand on it. It has enough within it you could damn near make a master's degree out of learning it, though most companies will only need a fraction of that for any given role. Still, it can be a very powerful tool and skillset to have when you're going for business roles / sales roles. Also, brush up on your statistics. That's probably going to be your most important math class, far beyond calculus, when it comes to business / sales roles. Dunno if you picked up any coding skills along the way but it would probably also behoove you to learn some flavor of SQL.

Last edited by NorCalAthlete; 01-29-2021 at 11:15 AM..
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      01-29-2021, 11:55 AM   #15
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Expand your search.

I'm miles away from my field of study in college and even further away from my experience in the Marine Corp, car sales and automotive manufacturing.

Ask everyone you know. You never know if you don't ask. Coming in here and asking is a good example of that. Only a few good paying career has a direct route from college to the actual position. I was just doing a mass interview this past fall and when I see a good candidate, I forward it to my counterpart even if that person doesn't fit my criteria.

Sometimes getting your foot in the door for an entry level position in a reputable company is the key. A good boss will recognize actual talent and help propel you forward. A bad one will keep you down since he's threatened by your skill.

Be personable. Employers and interviewers are people too!
They have to sit through candidates after candidates and need a break too. Be that person that lights up the room.

Be interested. Know your prospective employer. Know what tasks you enjoy doing. Tailor your skills and abilities to that position. Be specific and offer tangible skills. For example, "I've reduced downtime by xxx, increased productivity by xxx" I've introduced xxx programs to combat xxx"

Lastly, ALWAYS have a series of prepared questions to ask an interviewer.
What is a typical day like? How is this particular business coping with the COVID pandemic" etc.
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      01-29-2021, 12:15 PM   #16
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Surprised no one has mentioned this, but don't ignore (paid) internships. Many of our interns are offered full-time positions once their internships are completed.
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      01-29-2021, 12:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P1 View Post
Surprised no one has mentioned this, but don't ignore (paid) internships. Many of our interns are offered full-time positions once their internships are completed.
I can only speak for my current company here but graduates arenít eligible for internships. They fall into new grad hires.

That said, we aim for 90% conversion on our internships so if you land a summer internship between your junior and senior year, as long as you kick a decent amount of ass chances are solid youíll have a full time offer lined up before you graduate. Doesnít really help OP at the moment but for any other college students reading this, get those internships in.
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      01-29-2021, 12:47 PM   #18
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Nickco43 It’s a numbers game. Keep slogging through the job postings and apply to the ones that speak to you.

The job market is far better today than it was 9 months ago. Far better.

Do you know what you want in a job? If you answered “yes”, write it on a post it note. If you answered “no”, think about what you want.
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      01-29-2021, 01:13 PM   #19
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I can't stress enough how important doing an internship is. Employers want field experience. Degrees are always nice, but what makes you stand out from everyone else who is applying?

As an IT project manager, I like candidates that I can put out in the field and won't need to babysit. You'd be surprised how many people sit in front of me with an impressive resume, but have zero people skills, and when I ask them how they would go about solving a problem they start with "well, I'd improve X about how your company works". Be careful not to sound arrogant, because overconfidence can be interpreted as arrogance, so I don't necessarily recommend discussing how you could improve a potential employer. Discuss why you are a good fit for the position and how you would exceed their expectations.

Emphasize (prove) that you have good problem solving skills, communication skills, and a good work ethic by giving examples. I can train people on technical aspects they haven't yet mastered, but the three things I mentioned are usually difficult to change about a person.
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      01-29-2021, 01:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by NorCalAthlete View Post
I'll add a tweak to this a bit -

Everything so far has been largely targeted at getting TO the interview / getting the call back.

However, once you're there, it's entirely on you to prove your chops. So I would split your time between job hunting and continuing to learn - pick up new skills, add a certification or three, review / refresh your weak spot courses, refine your strong point courses.

I've done all of the above and gotten an interview within a matter of days and still gotten declined because I fumbled the technical portion of an interview. It happens. Keep pushing and learning and never stop.

Decades ago this may not have been as crucial, though still important. These days you are competing globally for just about anything, even in the middle of Nowhere. Additionally, as evidenced above, with the amount of resumes getting shotgunned out to every position and company, there's a lot of noise to sift through which makes it even more difficult to stand out. Lots of people bullshitting on their resumes, hyping up their skills or outright lying about expertise - "fake it till you make it".

Anything you put on your resume is fair game for an interviewer or recruiter to start grilling you on, and you never know what's going to become their test to see how much you're bullshitting. At the bottom of my resume, partially just to fill space and partially to help with culture / personality fits, I dedicate a portion to listing hobbies / interests / current reading list / volunteering. That portion, taking up maybe 1 square inch of my resume, has come up sooner or later in every single final-interview-before-the-offer and sometimes in the initial interview.

I had a 45 minute interview that, 5 minutes in, turned to discussing the broader points of Starcraft strategy. I didn't have Starcraft listed, but I had included that I liked video games, and the interviewer was a competitive Starcraft player. We discussed everything from rush strategies to the broader eSports market, PC "Bangs" in South Korea, dynamics of casual fans to serious players, social media followings, and pay scales for the athletes. This was like the 5th interview in a series where I'd already covered other aspects of the job, and was in a 2-on-1 interview with the manager and senior manager who'd be over me. I got the job.

Point being, you need to be up to date on everything you throw on there, don't just fill it with buzzword bingo unless you actually know every aspect of that buzzword - or at least enough to keep a conversation on it going for 45 minutes. Granted my example may not be typical - I work in tech so I anticipated there would be a higher likelihood of gamers - but the overall strategy still hails back to my first post of "figure out what the people interviewing you may be into."

It may seem like a "good old boys" club, but at the end of the day there will always be 1,000 other people who can do the technical aspects of the job. As long as you can pass that hurdle it will come down to "can I stand to be around this person for hours every day, every week, for years? Will they be toxic to the team or a benefit? Can they communicate well? Can they think on their feet? Can I see myself sharing a drink with them and trusting them with conversation when I'm drunk?"

Lastly, keep in mind interviews are 2-way streets. Have questions ready to ask at the end. For example you've already sussed out that 55+ hour work week expectations may not be for you, at least not long term. That's a good data point to learn early. But take that train of thought and chase it down the rabbit hole - WHY are there such long hours? Is it just the rest of the team is THAT enthusiastic about what they're doing? Is it due to crunch deadlines? Ever-changing business requirements? Problems with the product development cycle? Market pressures like annual cycles? Leadership that has grandiose ideas but corporate dementia, constantly forgetting what they'd already planned and attempting to implement things that contradict or conflict with earlier plans? What are the advancement opportunities like? Travel opportunities? Relocation opportunities? Growth of the company / future prospects?

Don't be afraid to interview the interviewer. Any good interview will tend to reserve at least 5-10 min at the end for that kind of stuff usually, though sometimes you can get caught up in hashing something out together and lose track of time (which can be a good or a bad sign depending on things).

Edit - You mentioned


Ok, WHAT experience? How did you lay that out on a resume? What did you actually do? Did you throw up a drop shipping website, buy some ads, and wait to see what happened? Did you actually turn a profit? Did you play around with different approaches to marketing / selling / acquiring / distributing and compare / contrast them to see which got you the best bang for buck? Did you do any analysis on which kits sold better on what platform? Did you draw up a business plan? Pitch investors for additional funding? Crunch the numbers on how to expand? Look into improving the kits? Do any market research on your competition? How many employees did you have? How did you handle payroll? HR? Did you ever have to fire anyone? Hire anyone? What software did you use to keep your books? Which ones did you try / end up not liking? What processes are you familiar with? Ever used Tableau? Excel? How good are you with statistics? Etc.

Additional note on that - learn the FUCK out of Excel, I'd say 99% of people in a corporate environment barely scratch the surface of its capabilities. My data analysts are fucking wizards and even then I've seen a huge disparity between analysts using it. Business courses give you a starting point - expand on it. It has enough within it you could damn near make a master's degree out of learning it, though most companies will only need a fraction of that for any given role. Still, it can be a very powerful tool and skillset to have when you're going for business roles / sales roles. Also, brush up on your statistics. That's probably going to be your most important math class, far beyond calculus, when it comes to business / sales roles. Dunno if you picked up any coding skills along the way but it would probably also behoove you to learn some flavor of SQL.

Three years ago I bought my first E90 and like all young kids I wanted a screen in my car. With zero technical skills I taught myself how to code my car and how to wire things in to the point where I pulled my dashboard out to retrofit iDrive on my driveway. Someone later on asked me to help them their retrofit and I started selling retrofit kits. In a little over two year I have sold 105 CIC retrofits. They cost about $400 to make and I sell them for $725-$750. I learned how to ship things with a UPS negotiated rate (I believe if you use USPS you are not a real business), negotiated whole parts discounts with a few BMW dealers, sold kits to eight different countries, learned how to create my own website, learned how to write "business class" emails and a lot of little skills that I know will be useful in the workforce. I never had any employees and never wrote up a business plan. I do have a list of everyone I sold a kit to along with their vehicle information.

As for marketing I sent two youtubers kits and they made pretty successful videos on them. At the end I got so much interest I could not handle it by myself.





I tried doing NBT kits as I did end up putting one in my E90 and now my F10 but I really need access to a bulk supply of euro NBT units. I also retrofitted ACC on my E90 and my F10 but the retrofit is too complicated for a commercial kit. I might end up buying a bunch of CIC carplay boxes and retailing them in the US.
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      01-29-2021, 02:01 PM   #21
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Perfect. Annnnnnnd how much of that is on your resume? In bullet summarized form?
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      01-29-2021, 02:59 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by NorCalAthlete View Post
Perfect. Annnnnnnd how much of that is on your resume? In bullet summarized form?


I had my phone interview today and the recruiter seemed impress with the questions that you recommended to ask about the working hours, location, culture, etc. It also helped the recruiter made a more welcoming interview than most other recruiters I had contact with.

Once again thank you so much for your invaluable experience.
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