Dan D Kim

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If you are trying to find a job, read this

2020-02-24 Dan D. Kimjob search

Finding a job can be a long and tough process. From the dozens of applications you send out, reaching out to connections, and even cold-messaging people out of desperation, your efforts may amount to a lot. And yet, it may feel like you aren’t progressing enough to where you want to be.

This post is dedicated for those that are hustling for their next career adventure in their lives. I wanted to write something for those of you finding yourself getting a little bit tired, despondent, or dejected. I was there before.

Here’s my story. Speaking from experience, the following helped me a lot in my job search.

Expect it to be hard

May not sound helpful, but hear me out.

When I was looking for my first full time job, I thought sending out a couple dozen applications would have been a decent effort.

That is, until I came across a book called the Two Hour Job Search. I read the first few chapters (because who has the time to finish a whole book while trying to find a job), which really set a helpful mentality for me to find a job.

It basically pep-talked me into thinking that half a hundred job applications are NOTHING. That’s like expecting your canoe to streamline down the river with just one row of a paddle. You need to think bigger than that.

The rough guideline in the book was 300 applications. That’s right, 300. Once you send out 300 applications, you may be worthy of the right to consider complaining about the “system” and how cruel the world can be.


Well, no.

If you send out 300 applications and still don’t have a job, there’s obviously something wrong with your approach. There’s a problem you may be unaware of. If you have been sending out hundreds of applications without figuring that out, you have done yourself a disservice. What you need to do is find out what you are doing wrong. Go ask for feedback. Constructively criticize yourself.

Working hard is a good ethic. But working smart is even better. Make your effort count!

Here’s the point: the job search journey can bring a bunch of challenges. It’s best for you to be prepared for them by having the right mentality.

You want a goal-focused mentality. You are after a specific goal. A certain goal that you are determined to achieve. You shouldn’t care about the hindrances and problems that come up along the way, as long as you are getting closer to that goal.

50 companies ghosted you? Good. Those are 50 companies you can stop caring about. Learn your lessons. Does your resume suck? Check up on your resume. Ask a friend to check up on your social profile. Consider revamping your webite. Then apply to another 50.

When you mess up, learn your lessons, then try again. That way, you won’t have regrets.

Skip the line

Honestly, the best advice I can give to anyone looking for a job is to go through a referral.

This is basically like having a premium pass at an amusement park, where you can to skip the line of most rides. By getting a referral, you will be able to

  • have a more personal connection with the company. This is super important, as the people that are hiring you are… people. Personal connections will help you stand out a lot more.
  • get a chance to try for positions you are underqualified for. Yep, companies are willing to give referred candidates a chance at proving themselves for the better. This means those without the pre-requisites for a job get a chance to boost their career.

I admit this is a little hard to do within a short time period. What if you don’t have a big network? It’s okay, just try what’s you can. The best thing is to ask around - you don’t necessarily need to directly know anyone at a specific company. Consider 3rd-party introductions. Can anyone you know introduce you to somebody at company X? Is there anyone in your circle that knows someone in another circle?

On a side note, try to keep a lot of positive connections throughout your career. This is really beneficial in the long-term. Having more connections in the future will only open up more doors for you down the road.

Cold message

Taking assertive action and introducing yourself first can make you really stand out from the crowd.

It could be a phone call, an email, a LinkedIn message, or even running into them at an event.

For example, here is someone that recently reached out to me on LinkedIn out of the blue.

Cold messaging can make you stand out from the crowd

Guess what they got? An offer to get a referral from me. Not a lot of people will take assertive actions like these, so it makes them stand out when they do.

Not only that, but it also estabilishes a greater personal connection than just submitting your resume online.

The following is a cold message I sent to a recruiter during my undergraduate studies. I was looking for an internship in Montreal, and I came across the company Nuance Communications.

My cold message to Nuance Communications

I admit I cringed a little bit when re-reading this message. It’s obviously not the best introduction I could have done. But back to the point, it opened up a conversation between me and the HR, got fast-tracked to an interview, then an offer.

I will stop the post here. I will share advice on other interview topics later, like the interviews, offer negotiations, or any other helpful advice.

Here is the summary of my post:

  1. Talk to people. Get a referral.
  2. Cold-message companies that you are really interested in
  3. Keep applying. Getting tired? How many have you applied? If it’s less than 300, you haven’t applied enough. Don’t complain. If you applied more than 300 and still struggling, you are doing something wrong. Ask for feedback. Learn your lessons. Constructively criticize yourself. Keep going on. The job search process is hard. But if you come out on the other end, it will make you better. It will make you grow.

I hope this helps some of you. Happy job searching :)