How to Get a Good Job

Welcome back!  I apologize for the missing post, but I am probably one of the only bloggers who still writes these in real-time.  (It still feels weird to call myself a blogger.)  If you follow me on instagram (@lexpotato), you know that I was in Austin, Texas last weekend.  What you don’t know is that now more than ever, I am in love with tacos which means that I am in love with Texas.  

Clockwise from top left:  My cute feet in Austin, Texas | Easy Tiger in Austin, Texas | Getting artsy fartsy in Austin, Texas | A river thingy in—-you guessed it—-Austin, Texas

Today’s post, however, is not about Tacos or Texas, but yes everything is bigger there.  And now, thanks to the phenomena that is breakfast tacos, so is my pant size.   Today is all about getting a job.  Not a job where all it takes is a pulse.  A good job.  Like a really good job.  Like a steve job.  Like a blo—ok, no just kidding.  

Disclaimer:  This is not a how-to on writing a resume.  This is a how-to on changing your approach to searching for a job.  It works for both people who want to work for a large company and people who want to one day work for themselves (like me!).  

1.  Friend of a Friend: I read this great book, The Defining Decade over a year ago—just kidding, I listened to the audiobook—and it made the struggle seem so bearable.  Your 20s are supposed to suck; they are not about spontaneous trips to Ibiza (pronounced e-bee-tha).  Main takeaway:  Use and abuse all your connections.  Your mother’s hair dresser might be the second cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow and boom, you’re now an intern at Goop.  People tend to hire referrals over stacks of faceless resumes.  

How I did it:  I have never gotten a job by first sending a resume via email.  I got my first real job with the help of one of my sorority sisters.  Yes, I, the dark lord, was in a sorority at one point in my life. I got my next job by name dropping influential people I met at my first job.  Even now, I am being mentored by a furniture maker I connected with while I was I doing a design competition mentioned in this post.  

2.  Hold the Cheese, Please:  It is imperative that you are genuine in your efforts to want to work for someone.  Don’t be a sycophant or an ass-kisser.  And who wants to work for someone who needs their ego stroked?  Be yourself, be kind, be attentive.  Remember, we’re going after the jobs you actually want—the career ones.  There’s no reason to be anything other than genuine to someone who will get you there.

How I did it:  I have gotten every job where I actually interviewed.  I make jokes.  I ask about their out-of-work hobbies or what sports their kids play.  I do my best to see the human side of them so they can see the human side of me. Yes, I have one.  It’s much easier to have someone want to help you if they see you beyond a payroll burden.

3.  What’s So Great About You?: Show them the goods!  No, not your boobs.  Unless you want to be a stripper, in which case, SHOW THEM THE GOODS!  You still need to be a good candidate for the job.  If your resume speaks louder than you, that’s a red flag.  You need to sell you!  Write down why you are a good fit in your own words and really believe it.  It shouldn’t be hard because it’s all true. 

How I did it:  I have vague recollections of what my resume once said, but I am embarrassed by what I can recall.  If I find the pdf, I will for sure share it here for the lulz.  The fact that I don’t remember it is proof that they mean nothing in reality. But every time I sat for an interview, I nailed it.  I know me and I know what I am capable of achieving and by god, I am going to make sure everyone else does.     

4.  K THX BYE: This one’s a quick one.  Thank your connect for helping you get the interview.  If it doesn’t work out, at least they know you were appreciative and they will continue to look out for you.  Again, be genuine and thoughtful. This is really a life tip.  Don’t be an a-hole.     

How I did it:  Get creative people!  I was once given a really rare bottle of red wine by a friend who was a connoisseur.  At the time, I didn’t drink red wine.  I gave that bottle as a thank you and boy howdy, I became a really cool gift-giver.  

5.  Stage 5 Clinger:  It may not work for relationships, but it’s been helpful for me in landing a job.  Sometimes employers jump the gun when they ask around for possible help.  They want to get a feel for what’s available before committing. Sounds a lot like dating, but you’re allowed to double text.  By double text, I mean follow up.  Be persistent.  Again, this does not apply to relationships.

How I did it:  I quite literally forced myself into 2 of the most pivotal jobs I’ve had.  At my first design job, I followed up.  Then I followed up again.  Then I followed up again.  I am not kidding you, I think it took 4 times before they were like “ok can you start Monday?”.  I like to think it was exclusively because I kept calling.  My point is that following up doesn’t hurt.  The second job I forced myself into is the one I’m currently doing.  That poor man didn’t stand a chance.  

Clockwise from top left: I stole the mustache off my furniture mentor.  Just kidding, its a mohair sample. | A construction drawing of a bed post that kinda looks like a di-k | My pinboard at work | Making a mess…  

Now, go, my beautiful and perfect readers!!! Get out there and take that job, don’t ask.  Ok maybe you should ask.  But with like a calm, deep, demanding voice.  Oh and try your best to be a man!

Just kidding,