The Spice Girls were starting to dominate, Michael Jordan was playing alongside Bugs Bunny and Clueless went from a great movie to a not-so-great TV show. All the while Chandra Turner was looking to start her career in writing as she headed to New York from Indiana. She landed an internship that paid minimum wage and provided her housing. Unfortunately it was only for a couple of months. With that she worked fast to find a roommate and after realizing writing was all about who you know, she started Ed2010. Her story showcases determination, and since she is the woman behind a site that caters to finding jobs – I knew she would be a great person to talk to about the subject.
She noted how important it was in writing to network but has heard a lot of other industries aren’t like that. Chandra also went on about Glassdoor – a site that not only posts jobs, but has actual reviews from former employers so you can know if it’s a company that would either be a great fit or one that would suck your soul. She also went on about the importance of an eloquent cover letter and how social networks like Facebook and Twitter have really put a damper on those because we’ve become a society too into shorthand. On top of all of that, we discussed interviews, internships and more.
Kendra: Since starting Ed2010, what optimal changes have you seen in terms of how we set out on the job hunt?
Chandra Turner: It used to be a lot of jobs were word of mouth or listed in the newspaper, and of course now there are job boards. There are almost too many job boards, and you have to go to this ritual of checking all these boards and then checking LinkedIn and I don’t know if that has made it easier. It probably makes it harder. There’s more options, but there’s also more options to go through.
Kendra: Based on the amount of time we spend on social media and the fact that most of us utilize sites to find jobs, how do you suggest millennials learn to actually execute an interview?
Chandra: It might, but I would say people could always use better interviewing skills. That’s sort of always been true though. Interviews are really about showcasing yourself. It’s kind of like going on a first date. I mean, you write someone like on an online dating site and then have to meet them for the first time, and then you have to have that initial awkward conversation – that’s exactly what a job interview is like. It’s really just about connecting with the person and i think you should have anecdotes ready; funny little notes about yourself that showcase your personality that you’ve told a million times so that you’re not just like stuck there answering questions.
Kendra: What advice do you have for those who may be a little shy about jumping into a networking situation?
Chandra: Face to face meetings are important because they’ll remember you, but I think that it’s challenging to go to events and go up to someone with a drink in your hand. Then you don’t know what to say. That approach is hard and it’s all around hard. We encourage people to go with their friends and coworkers because then it’s easier because you’re in a group. That’s completely different than meeting someone you admire or want to work for though. In that case, I recommend people write an email to those people they admire and want to work, and ask them to coffee. Write someone and say you’re impressed with their work and you’d like to have a career like theirs one day and then say, can I come and pick your brain and buy you your favorite cup of coffee from Starbucks. The worst thing they can happen is that they don’t write them back. The thing is, a lot of people do write you back and most would be flattered because a lot of people love to talk about themselves.
Chandra: I wouldn’t say it’s unfair. I think the nice things about interns when they’re really young, is they’re usually open and interested in taking on new things. It’s harder to get somebody that has been through it all before and put them at the bottom of the heap. Plus the ideal intern is someone who has a lot of interest in the subject matter and has experience in that field on a collegiate manner, and is hungry to learn more. It’s hard if you’re hiring someone who is a few years out of school to be an intern because you think if they’re changing careers, they probably don’t even have as much experience as that intern did. So sometimes that intern right out of college is more qualified than the career changer, strangely.
Kendra: In your experience both personally and from stories you’ve come across with Ed2010, what is the biggest high when it comes to the job hunt?
Chandra: The biggest high is always getting the job, right? When you finally land something, even an internship.
Kendra: On the other end, what’s the biggest low of it all?
Chandra: You know, when you’re just sending things out and getting no response at all. When you’re applying to everything and no one is even writing you back and you have no way to evaluate what part of what you’re doing is wrong. It’s better to get rejected than to sit there and never know why they didn’t reply; very much like dating.