Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket

If you put all your eggs in one basket you will experience one of two things: tragedy or joy. The outcome will be exactly how you wanted it to be or you will be absolutely crushed if it didn’t go your way. There really is no middle ground. My best friend recently put all of her eggs into one basket when applying for a job. Caution to the wise: do not do what she did!

My friend has a good head on her shoulders. She had good grades and recently graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree. She has wanted to work in an art museum for quite some time now but she never found any job position that would be a perfect match. Unfortunately, she was severely limited in her job search because the only city she wanted to live in was Dallas. She went to college in Dallas and absolutely fell in love with the city. So she applied for her perfect job a few months ago at an art museum in Dallas. I’m not just saying this because she is my best friend, but the girl is qualified. Internships at art museums, a fine art degree, studying art abroad in France, oh the list can go on and on. She decided not to apply to any other jobs because this was her dream job and she was positive she would get it. The director at the art museum had reviewed her resume and was deciding between a few candidates. He would contact her in a few days.

A month later she still had not heard anything. She e-mailed, she called, and she moped around for two months. Finally someone from the museum returned her e-mail and said they were sorry but they had picked another candidate. Yup, it happens. She was so sure she was going to get the job that she started searching for apartments in Dallas and even told the restaurant she worked at that she was moving. She had no backup plan and is still stuck waiting tables.

Moral of the story: don’t put all your eggs in one basket! If you are a job seeker you should know to apply to as many jobs as possible because you never know what is going to happen. Applying to your dream job is wonderful, but you need to be realistic and have backup plans in case your first choice doesn’t work out. Don’t be dumb about your job search. Prepare yourself for every possible outcome.


References? What if I don’t have any!

So you’ve applied to your first ever, real-world job. Congratulations. But, this being your first ever, real-world job, you don’t have any references to give them when they inevitably call you back for an interview. In college, you were too busy studying your butt off to have a part time job, and you certainly didn’t have time to volunteer because of all the clubs and organizations you were leading in order to get the experience that got you that interview in the first place. What? You don’t have any of those either? Well, I’d say it’s about time to get some.

Bottom line, you don’t have anything you really need for this interview. In fact, you don’t even think you’re really qualified except for the degree that says you are and the knowledge that you know you can do it. Well, that confidence is at least one thing you have going for you. Now here is a list of some things you can do to get a positive response.

  1. Think back over anyone in your life that you were trying to impress. Any of these people are in the position to comment on your qualifications, abilities, and/or personal attributes. For example, did you ever baby-sit/house-sit/pet watch? These people obviously trusted you enough with their children/belongings and are probably willing to give a great reference.
  2. Are there any teachers with whom you really connected? Did you even talk with any of them? Even if you didn’t, try writing to one that you thought knew what they were talking about. Let them know why you trusted what they had to say, specifically, and start a correspondence. At the very least, they can serve as a future networking tool.
  3.  Ask a friend that you worked with frequently either in a class or an organization that you were a part of together. They will know your initiative, abilities, productivity and how you handled yourself. Remember, however, that this should not be someone you know strictly in a social manner.  They must have examples to site and be able to answer whatever questions are asked about you from an employers point of view.
  4. Last but not least, you can always use personal references. Limit these if possible because they are not as qualified to answer the probable questions the employer may ask. Chances are, they don’t know how you handle stress at work or what skill set you have to offer an employer.
  •  Remember, always ask the reference first and send a written Thank-you afterward.  

 If, for some insane, crazy reason they do not hire you, then you’ll have lots of time on your hands. Volunteer! Join a club! Give back to the community— it’s good for everyone and will not only enhance your résumé, but give you plenty of possible references for the future.  

Building a Network

As established in my earlier blog, if you want a job you need a network. Networks account for the vast majority of new hires every year. Your greatest chance at successfully getting a new job is through a network.

Great, so how do you get one of those network things?

A network consists of everyone you know and have a relationship with. So, if your only acquaintance in the world is thorshammer1701, and that world happens to be World of Warcraft, then your job hunt may be a bit tricky.

But, if you went to school and received a degree, that’s a good place to start. Your former classmates are in the same field as you are which puts them in the best position to recommend you for jobs. Even if you’re just out of school, many of those schoolmates had internships that led to full-time positions and possibly know of other opportunities within their companies. If not, perhaps they’re being headhunted and can pass your name along to the hunter. They may have passed on another job recently that you can take advantage of instead.

If you’re looking to switch careers, then your school network might not be as helpful. You’ll have to start building relationships with the myriad of people you meet in your everyday life. Start by throwing your hand out to people and introducing yourself. Hand out business cards and collect them as well. Contact these people to follow up on your conversations and keep contacting them every few weeks. Let them know you are in the market for a new job, but don’t ask them specifically if they know of openings. All you need to do is plant the seed in their head that you’re out there. You’ll also want to keep these contacts fresh, nothing annoys a person more than not hearing from a friend for two years and then only when they need something.

The best time to build a network is before you’re looking for a job. You’ll want it in place for when you do start the hunt, that way it’ll be so much easier for you when you do. Also, even after you land that new job continue to keep the network active. You never know when you may need it again.