Career Q&A: Jaime Petkanics, The Prepary

21.12.12



A big thanks to all of you who submitted your questions for our career Q&A with Jaime Petkanics from The Prepary.

We hope the answers bring you the advice you need! For more top employment tips check out The Prepary. 

Do you have any tips for Europeans seeking employment in the US? E, Barcelona

Try to look at and apply to companies that really value a global perspective. Companies that do are more likely to sponsor visas/work authorization and will also value what you can bring to the table right away.

How can you successfully network if you are nervous and a shy person? A, Boston

I think (as with many things) it takes a lot of practice and putting yourself in situations that aren't necessary comfortable the first time around.  The more you do this, the more comfortable you will become.  Now there are also a lot of opportunities to network "digitally" (such as through Linkedin and email) and that is actually a nice trend for those of us that are a bit shy and intimidated by in person networking events.  The best networks are built slowly and naturally over time so being overly aggressive isn't always the best strategy.

What is the best way to expand your network to search for a new job? L, London

I think speaking to lots of different people who do something you are interested is a great way to get started.  Fellow alumni, friends of friends, and former colleagues are good people to start with. Set up time to hear from them about what they do and how they've succeeded in their career. You'd be surprised how many people will also be willing to help you. A little more info on this topic can be found in this post.

What are your top tips for a resume layout? A, New York 

A tip I have that makes a huge impact is organizing your experience by what is relevant and what is "additional".  A recruiter usually looks at your resume for 30 seconds or less in a 1st screen so you want the top parts of your resume to tell a strong story (where your focus is obvious and not lost amongst other roles). I have a post that elaborates on this.

Should you have a creative looking resume if you are applying for a creative job? C, Los Angeles

Yes, I think you should. Though I would also advice to have one more "plain" version to use to apply online (when you submit the resume through the system) and another to use when you are emailing the resume directly.  Sometimes systems don't know how to make sense of fancy, formatted resumes and you want the system to be able to pick up on keywords.  Sometimes recruiters actually rely on technology to match candidates with jobs so you want your resume (that goes into the system) to make that possible.

How can you find your perfect job if it is not publicly advertised? L, Barcelona 

That's a tough one. It's hard to stay "top of mind" for people at a company. Of course it's ideal if they think of you first when they have a job in mind (that's not posted) but that is not usually what happens in reality.  The best way to make sure you stay on someone's mind is by staying in touch.  Do it appropriately (check in at select times in the year) but not aggressively (like checking in every month).  Overall, it's good to ask if companies usually post their jobs and if not, what is the best way to keep in touch.  They'll tell you what method they prefer.

What is the best way to make sure that a company keeps your CV on file? L, Barcelona

The best way to get your resume on file is to submit it through a system (by applying online).  That means your resume will always be in there and be searchable.  However, don't rely on someone to go and find it when a job opens up.  Stay very plugged in on the companies job postings and reach out directly when you see an opening that excites you.

What are the best ways to find an internship? M, New Haven, CT 

The best way to find an internship is probably a combination of searching online (indeed.com, internships.com, monster.com and lots of other sites) and networking (to ask if there are internship opportunities).  Once you get interviews, being really prepared is key. Since interns don't generally have a ton of previous experience, their work ethic, research, and preparation are that much more important.

The working atmosphere at my office is absolutely horrible. What steps can I do to improve it? J, Washington DC

Unfortunately that's a tough one. Depending on how big the company is and how set in their ways they are, you may not be able to improve the environment. what you can control is how you let it affect you personally.  There might be ways to "detach" from it, not take things personally, and work on letting things go after a tough day.  Of course, this is easier said than done!  If you don't see things changing and you don't feel like you are learning or benefitting from the job, it may be time to look elsewhere.

How do I search for a job whilst still in employment? H, Providence RI

This is a tricky one and a common question. Overall, devote a certain period of time per day/week and treat it like a part time job.  Also, don't let anyone know that you are looking and try not to burn any bridges as you go.  This is the abbreviated version of course - I wrote a few articles on this which you can check out here and here.

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