In almost two months, I interviewed for eleven companies (mostly startups) and had twenty-one interviews in total before I finally landed a job. It’s been a lot of work but throughout the process I’ve learned so much.
I’m currently at the end of a six-month-long professional development boot camp called Praxis. Throughout the six months, you develop marketing/sales skills, build your personal brand, as well as gain general professional skills. It’s all geared toward landing a job with a growing startup at the end of the six months.
Well, here I am. Six months have gone by in what literally feels like the blink of an eye and I will soon move to Florida to start my new position. The work it takes to find a job has felt like a full-time job itself. Pitching, researching, creating value propositions, preparing for and actually interviewing with companies has been a huge workload.
Here are eight hard and soft skills I’ve learned throughout this process:
1. How to sell myself
With all the pitch videos, interview prep calls and actual interviews I’ve done, I’ve had to repeatedly tell my story and answer the same questions over and over. Learning how to sell yourself and frame your past experiences in the most relevant and impressive way possible while being clear and concise takes a lot of practice. I’ve had to do this what feels like a million times, in written form, video form and in interviews. After all this repetition, I’m pretty damn good at it.
Answering so many different interview questions, you realize what’s most impressive about yourself and what isn’t. You realize what makes you interesting as a person. There’s a lot of self-discovery in the job hunt.
2. Great email communication
Before entering the job hunt I had little to no experience with professional emailing. When you’re competing with candidates who have four-year degrees and more years of experience than I’ve had my license, you need to use any leverage you can to set yourself apart. So learning to be an exceptional emailer by replying fast and having overall solid email etiquette has helped me make a great impression.
Interviewing is an uncomfortable thing to do. But if something’s uncomfortable, 99% of the time, I believe that means you should do it. So much growth happens when we put ourselves in uncomfortable positions. And one of the biggest ways it makes us grow is in our confidence. After all these interviews my confidence level has risen drastically. I feel confident in my ability to crush any interview and just more confident in day to day life.
4. Time management & organization
Scheduling interviews, completing assignments from multiple companies at once and scheduling blocks of time to research and prepare has forced me to be very intentional and productive with my time. It’s taught me how to get the most out of Gmail, Excel spreadsheets, and Google Calendar to stay organized. I thought I was already well organized but this has pushed me to a new level.
5. Research skills
Researching a company extensively before an interview is a great way to be prepared and show them you’re interested. After doing it time and time again, I’ve found the most efficient way to break it down and be exceptionally productive with my researching.
Scouring every corner of a company’s website, checking their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, looking at their Glassdoor reviews, and even reaching out to current employees, are some of the ways I conduct my research.
6. Insight on the startup world
Most companies I’ve interviewed for are innovative tech startups. I’ve learned a lot about a variety of industries in the startup world and it gives me a unique perspective on what types of companies are out there and what they really value in a candidate. From philosophical media brands, educational audio apps, SaaS, and even a startup that was pitched on Shark Tank and invested in by Mark Cuban, my knowledge of startups and how they work has expanded greatly.
7. Actual marketable skills
Some companies have exercises or assignments required as a part of their interview process. I’ve evened created value propositions for some in order to land interviews. In doing this, I’ve learned cold calling, how to find leads and contact points, how to create landing pages, and more. These are sought-after skills and the pressure of doing it for an actual company makes the learning experience even better.
8. How to network & make valuable connections
My favorite aspect of the job hunt has been all the connections I’ve made. I’ve interviewed with and met recruiters, CEOs, sales managers, people in various marketing positions, and everywhere in between. These are people in positions that I want to be in one day and I get to have 1 on 1 conversation with them! I’ve been able to observe first hand how successful professionals think and communicate.
By doing things like sending out personalized thank you emails, connecting on LinkedIn and just expressing my appreciation, I’ve made invaluable connections with people all over the US that could help me in my career down the line.
The job hunt is hard. It takes time and patience. But being able to reflect and see your growth along the way is a huge motivator to keep pushing. I could go on and on about the things I’ve learned throughout my job hunt, it’s been an incredible experience. Now I’m ready to take what I’ve learned and use it to excel in my new job.
This was originally published on Jed Mahrle’s blog. Jed recently finished the Praxis bootcamp and will be doing his apprenticeship at PandaDoc working as an LDR. Coming from Michigan, he can’t wait to spend the winter months outside and on the beaches in St. Petersburg, Florida! He wants to use this opportunity to become a sales expert and learn the ins and outs of business so he can one day start his own. He is passionate about intentional living and writes about it frequently on his website jedmahrle.com.