LinkedIn and Cute Black Pumps

9 Mar

At 18 I was managing a small coffee shop and enjoying many many aspects of it. I loved the interactions with customers and having a limitless supply of coffee drinks was very nice too. Aside from the very low pay, the thing I disliked the most about my coffee shop gig was the dress. Sure its nice to be able to roll out of bed 7min before work starts but its also nice to wear cute clothes an open-toed shoes. This was the mindset that prompted my first real job search, I was very open to any number of job options, the only thing I was really set on was that I wanted to be able to wear cute black pumps to work.

And so, at 18 years old I sat down and started revising my resume. To my credit, I did have a number of nice jobs during high-school but it was still the resume of someone that had only been supporting themselves all of 3 months. I worked tediously to express fully the asset I had been at each of my working and volunteer experiences. When all was said and done I had a very nicely formatted page that contained almost no information which would be helpful in attaining the type of job I was searching for. But with great amounts of optimism I started applying to job after job.

After not too long I found a temp agency that placed me in a couple of admin jobs – this was great, it payed well (compared to what I was used to) and I loved the change to a corporate environment. The problem was that the positions were temporary, I stayed anywhere from 2 days to 9 months but no matter how long I was a temp the rules made it very hard for the company to hire me outright. Little did I realize at the time it was this series of small opportunities that would ultimately give me the resources I needed to get the job I was looking for.

Almost a full year after starting my job search I finally landed a position as an office admin in a medical clinic. The dress code included cute black pumps and the atmosphere was just geeky enough that I really thrived and loved going to work. The funny thing was that I didn’t search for this job at all, it was just presented to me. In all honestly I haven’t really searched for a job since that first time at 18. Sure, I’ve had times when I’ve wanted more employment and times when I’ve wanted to adjust the criteria of what I do but its been the better part of a decade since I’ve dealt with truly hitting the pavement for a job.

So how does this happen? How is it that someone can have very little experience but still land a job they want? To be truthful I’ve wondered this myself and spent many a time thankful for my luck. But upon examining things I think there are two factors that likely have a significant influence on my easy job transitions: connections and a positive attitude.

Aside from the temp agency, every job I’ve ever had was acquired because of a recommendation. This is one of if not the most crucial thing that LinkedIn provides as a service. By connecting people to other people they work with and providing a way to see the degrees of separation between the person you know and the person you want to know LinkedIn creates meaningful interactions around networking. Not that facebook and twitter aren’t meaningful, I just wrote last week about the role they can play in job searching, but the networking provided isn’t nearly as powerful as the recommendation from a mutual colleague can be.

LinkedIn connections should be thought about carefully, you may love your goofy cousin but are they someone you’d bring along with you to an interview? If the answer is no, then I’d recommend leaving that relationship for facebook. Another asset of LinkedIn is that you can ask for written recommendations and they are available for viewing by prospective employers as well as all of your connections. I’m not overly active on LinkedIn but I still get contacted once a month or so about a possible gig, and until recently I wasn’t actually searching. This alone makes me really appreciate LinkedIn.

The other key thing I attribute to my past job hunting luck has to do with those black pumps. Indeed my priorities when vetting potential jobs have changed, from simply the most interesting attire experience to things more centered around security and growth, but the approach I take is the same. Searching for work is not about finding the ultimate most perfect job ever – that doesn’t exist. Successful employment is about focusing on the benefits that a job provides (new experiences, connections or even enjoyable tasks) and then moving on in a mutually beneficial way if all of these positive things don’t outweigh the negatives that a job may have. Simply being a happy worker will improve the relationships you have with coworkers and employers while you’re working with them and ensure you many great recommendations once you have departed.

The moral of the story… go visit LinkedIn, and always remember to enjoy nice pair of little black pumps.

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One Response to “LinkedIn and Cute Black Pumps”

  1. Gregory Stringer March 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

    @Breanna, appreciate the advice, though I think I’ll pass on the pumps; I just don’t have the ankles for them.

    Will share something w/ you here that I will plant as an Easter egg, that is, only those reading your blog and comments will find this hint about LI (and not really sure it’s all that valuable).

    By getting involved in relevant discussion groups, and engaging in those groups, you can build your network. This serves several purposes: others can get to know you better, you contribute to the gestalt knowledge and understanding of the group, you’ll often find not only job openings, but things like internships, partnership opportunities, etc., and it’s a great way of finding like-minded others to connect with. In fact, it was through engagement in Social Media groups (my own interest) that I met Shari!

    Good luck, and keep up this great work!

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