We’ve written before about how to manage your early career, even if you’re not yet in your dream job. You can cope by focusing your efforts outside of work, or by diving in. Committing to make the most of your current role can be tough, especially if you’ve got a fancy degree that doesn’t relate. But in the right conditions, even part-time baristas can work their way up and gain valuable expertise that can set them apart.
Achieve your career goals(or figure them out)
BrightCrowd is the weekly email for people who know they need to “network”, but aren’t always sure where to begin.
Keep Calm and Network On.
Accelerate your career with expert networking tips & tricks delivered weekly.
Relationships change, but you can keep them strong.
When you graduate or move on from a job, you always tell your friends to keep in touch. They’ve been there day in and day out, they’ve had your back. They know you. But inevitably when you move on to the next phase of life, those relationships start to fade.
It’s less intimidating than you think.
I’m constantly talking to BrightCrowd members about their experiences and struggles with networking. More and more I’ve been hearing the same refrain: they’re not sure what “counts” as networking.
BrightCrowd Advice session with the co-founder and product lead of Google for Jobs
Nick Zakrasek is the co-founder and product lead of Google for Jobs. He has spent the past 4 years as a product manager at Google and currently oversees multiple Search vertical domains, including Health, Job Search, Education, Civics, and Crisis Response.
Don’t let success make you a jerk.
If you’ve found yourself in a career you love at exactly the right company, that’s awesome.
Don’t let these mindsets hold back your career.
So often I hear from people who dread the prospect of networking.
And how to make yours shine.
I hear all the time from folks who are worried that they’ll never get a job in their desired field. They may be totally smart and capable, but the same frustrating limitation stands in their way. It’s the classic “you need experience to get a job, and you need a job to get experience” Gordian knot.
Meet new people and learn new things.
Summer is in full swing, and that means it’s internship season. If you’re currently doing the internship hustle, congrats! An internship can be a wonderful way to get real-world experience in your field.
You’d have to see it to believe it.
We try to keep things positive on BrightCrowd. But sometimes the best way to learn is by observing what NOT to do. A BrightCrowd member shared this painful networking interaction with me, and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s exactly the kind of networking interaction I want to prevent.
I’ve hired dozens of employees and reviewed literally thousands of applicants over my career. Let’s just say I’ve looked at a resume or two. Now, as the CEO of the professional networking site BrightCrowd, members often send me their resumes for an expert opinion.
I’ll answer the classic burning question upfront.
How a layoff led me to the unexpected
A friend of mine who was unemployed recently applied for over 500 jobs. He was highly qualified, he treated the application process like a full-time job, and it still took him 6 months of searching to land the right position. He admitted (somewhat sheepishly) that feelings of shame held him back even from asking his good friends for referrals.
Rejection is Never Fun -- Here’s How to Get Through.
My friend recently got an interview for a life-changing job. She was so excited. She let herself imagine what it would be like to make a truly amazing career leap – one with a new city, new tax bracket, and endless professional development opportunities. But after 5 interviews and weeks of preparation, the final call from her recruiter wasn’t what she had hoped. It was a polite “Thanks…but no thanks”.
What I’ve Learned About Networking as an Immigrant
I always knew networking is an essential skill, but I only came to value it seriously when I moved halfway around the world. In my MBA program I learned to present myself well and communicate effectively, but I always felt something was missing from that equation. I needed to do more to be successful.
Can you hear me now?
If you’re job hunting you may have noticed that multiple phone screening interviews are par for the course. Often employers will only bring a candidate in for that face-to-face in the final stages of the hiring process, even if they’re local.
Get responses from your alumni network with these tips.
I’ve written before about how valuable your university network can be. Alumni can be your secret career weapon, especially when you’re just starting out. After all, before you have any real-life professional contacts, you’ve got a whole network of folks associated with your school. And let’s be real – they probably all remember how tough it was starting out.
Move beyond, “So…what do you do?”
If networking events make you break out in hives…I feel you. You don’t have to be an introvert to panic when you’re plopped in the middle of a professional mixer. Most people would consider me a total extrovert, but even I have trouble getting into the groove at networking events. Finding commonalities in a room full of strangers is an art.
Don’t leave it behind when you get your degree.
After graduation, the world can feel overwhelming. You’ve got the credentials, but no experience. Perhaps you’ve moved to a new city where you don’t know anybody. Maybe you’re awash in debt, with no clear idea of how you’ll pay it back.
It's bold, it works wonders, and you should use it.
You’re in the final interview for a coveted new job (the home stretch!) You’ve aced the interviewer’s questions…you think. You’ve started to breathe again. But you know that one more thing is coming. The meta-question.
Your education is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make, in terms of both time and money. Because of the magnitude of the cost, the decision to attend grad school no longer rests solely on your passion and aptitude.
I’ve written before about the power of being vulnerable. This may seem out-of-place on a blog about the professional world, but I disagree. Vulnerability is something that’s relevant to every human interaction, even business or school relationships.
Breathe. Take your time. Find the right alternative.
I heard from a BrightCrowd member recently who was in the wrong job. She had only been there 6 months and already she knew the fit was bad. She needed to begin planning her exit, but was feeling trapped. She thought her network was already tapped out, and that there was no clear next step.
Job hunting can be tough. Partly because there’s often a power differential – you’re competing against other applicants for a single job, and the employer gets to choose.
There’s nothing glamorous about a person’s early career. Seriously, I worked at McDonalds for 7 years – it remains my longest gig ever. No matter what fancy school you went to, most people end up in a couple of bad or boring jobs when they’re just out of college. You’re not alone.
It’s not weakness. It’s a strength.
We’ve all made mistakes. Whether that’s saying something insensitive, forgetting an appointment, or failing to put your dishes in the office dishwasher, screwing up is inevitable from time to time.
A Practical Guide in 5 Easy Steps
Why is it that so many women want professional mentors, but only a handful actually have one? It may be as simple as knowing how to ask: I hear from women frequently that they don’t know how to approach asking for a mentor.
Local nonprofits need your help.
You’ve graduated! The parties are done, your mortarboard is retired…what’s next?
What I’ve learned about finding your way as a high-achiever
This advice is shared by BrightCrowd member Sara Muchoney
Why helpfulness should be the real measure of success.
Networking isn’t necessarily about scoring a sexy new job (or a cubicle with a window). It’s about being human, and helping people out. It’s just basic decency in the professional sphere.
BrightCrowd has always been about the human side of networking. It’s a no-judgement zone where you can get career advice, or offer your expertise. BrightCrowd is, quite simply, a community of professionals helping each other get ahead.
One of the best ways to move a stagnant job search forward is to request an informational interview. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, prepare to have your mind blown.
The professional world can feel harsh these days. Ambiguous emails and curt Slack messages abound (to say nothing of the opaque, impersonal online job application process).
Everybody feels it.
Imposter syndrome can be a beast. At the beginning of the school year I got an email from an incoming freshman at Stanford, who was suffering from a classic case. She had decided to pursue a Computer Science major, but was feeling afraid of approaching professors and research groups to ask for work.
We’re asked pretty frequently why Gmail data is the thing that makes BrightCrowd tick. The first (and maybe most obvious) is that it saves you a ton of time.
What makes networking painless? It’s simple. Be kind.
When people ask me what BrightCrowd’s all about, I tell them this (more or less):
All the helpful people you actually know and care about.
Think for a second - how many people do you know well enough that you would help them if they asked? It’s probably quite a few!
Your community’s wisdom can help you overcome challenges.
Sometimes life can seem like an endless string of problems. If you’ve ever been laid off, endured a breakup, struggled in school - or all 3 at once! - you’ll know what I mean.
Building quality connections with micro-consults
When I think of the heyday of professional networking, I go all the way back to the Stone Age.
Say what you will do, not what you’ve done
I think we can all agree that job searching is no fun. It’s demoralizing to scour job boards, put hours into each application, and still…crickets. I’ve been there before, and recently I chatted with another member of the BrightCrowd community who was in that very spot.
Make it an experience, not a transaction
It can be tough to get a person’s attention nowadays. After all, your email is invariably buried in a pile of a hundred unread messages, which are hastily checked (and deleted) in between meetings. Yikes.
It’s about showing up, not showing off
Social media gets a bad rap these days, and it’s not hard to understand why. There’s a platform for every self-promotional purpose, from big career moves to the smoothie you had for breakfast. Scrolling through someone’s “perfect” Instagram feed can feel demoralizing, and the pressure to measure up seems to be growing. We want to break out of the self-promotion arms race. That’s why BrightCrowd was born.