When I graduated from college I knew what industry I wanted to work in, but I had no idea how to actually get a job. My cohost, social media editor Christina Royster, had a similar experience: She accepted a job for which she had to commute two hours to the office where she worked part time because she didn’t fully realize how much time that commute would take up. We’ve also both had interview horror stories: I once interviewed with a man who had just started learning French on Duolingo and wanted to conduct the interview in French to practice the language (needless to say, we could not understand each other); and Christina remembers once spilling coffee all over her shirt right before a job interview.
To learn more about how to find a job and ace an interview, we turned to Bianca Jeanty, the author of Ya’ll Hiring? The Playbook for Managing Recruiters and Referrals, for some advice. As soon as asked I my first question, “How much does my social media presence matter during a job search?,” Jeanty stopped me, explaining that there’s a first step everyone needs to take before asking themselves more questions: You have to figure out what you actually want.
“[You have to say] let me think about what it is that I actually want and the type of environment that I actually want to work in,” Jeanty advises. “Answering that question sounds like a boulder, but it is more so like, What is it that I want to learn next? If I look at my career as more of a body of work than it is just the next position that I take on, it actually makes all the questions of, How do I stand up attractively? a lot easier [to answer].” After that, she says you may want to do an audit on your internet presence, looking at everywhere you pop up online and thinking about how to optimize every page based on the role you are applying for.
Another aspect to consider? Whether your own personality would fit in to the office environment you’ll be working in. Jeanty says that this should be high on the list of job requirements you make for yourself. How comfortable will you be just being your authentic self? “If you don’t want to hide [who you are],” she says, “then that’s a part of your new-job requirements.”