WORK IT!

Massie: Hey, did you see that new Ashton Kutcher movie?

You: No. It’s not out yet.

Massie: Then why is everyone talking about Jobs?

I hear ya, Massie. Everyone IS talking about jobs. My niece, a recent college graduate, is desperate for one. So are her friends. We got to talking. I offered advice they didn’t ask for. Some they loved, some they thought was weird, most they knew their parents would hate. All of which I will now share with you. Because the only thing worse that putting together a resume is having to read fifty of them and still not find the right girl for the job.

1. Dress for the job you’re applying for, only a bit nicer.  If you want to be a film production assistant, don’t wear high heels and a skirt to the interview. You’ll give off the impression that you won’t be able to run errands or get dirty. Clean jeans, flats, stylish top. Boobs in, thong tucked.

2. Prepare for the interview. Google the person you’re meeting with. Casually mention something they’ve done in the past. Tell them why you admire it. Not in a kiss-ass way. More in a small talk way. They will think you want to be there because of them, not because it’s a paycheck.

3. Ask questions. Questions you’ve prepared. Questions that will make them think you will make a difference.

“I admire those youth programs you started in 2010. Has there been any talk of creating something similar for pets?”

“I love reading blogs in my spare time. Do you think your employees would benefit from a weekly newsletter that highlights the best of the best? I’d be happy to add that to my job.”

“What advice would you give to someone starting out in this company?”

Basically turn the tables on the interviewer in a respectful way. You will stand apart from the dozens of other “people persons” waiting nervously in the lobby.

4. Never tell your interviewer what you really want to do with your life. If they sense you’re not in this for the long haul, they will pass on you immediately.

5. Here’s the one everyone thought was weird. It’s also the one I stand by the most. Say you’ve graduated. You’re desperate to work in advertising. It’s the dream. The problem is NO ONE is hiring. Then your mom’s friend offers you a job at her daycare center. The thought of wiping graham crackers off little mouths all day roils your stomach, but it’s a paycheck and you seriously need the money.  You know what I say? Write a ‘thank you’ note to the kind woman who offered you the daycare job and then set up a meeting at the ad firm of your dreams. Tell them you’ll work for free. You want to learn. You are obsessed with their company and you know they aren’t hiring but you want in anyway. Then go get a weekend job scooping ice cream or baby sitting or baking gluten-free muffins to pay the bills. You will get a top notch education working at the ad firm. Granted you won’t be making any money but you won’t be paying any for a graduate degree either. You will make contacts with people directly in your field. And you will probably be first in line when the hiring freeze thaws. Let’s say they hire someone else and not you? Quit and apply for a job with the competition. You will have months of experience now that you didn’t have before.

6. Let’s say you don’t know what you want to do. This is fine; it happens to a lot of us. Don’t buy time by buying classes. Don’t pay when you can be getting paid. Get real experience. Learn from real life. In this case take the job from your parent’s friend–IF, and only IF–it does not roil your stomach. That roiling says it’s not at all what you want to be doing and you will be depressed. But everything else means experience.

7. Get off your lazy butt and stop making excuses. I’m serious. You have to work hard. You have to do a lot of things for a lot of people you can’t stand. You will feel tired. Taken advantage of. Underpaid. Over-qualified. Bored. DEAL WITH IT. I could go on and on about how I worked 7 days a week for $450/week when I started at MTV but I don’t want to sound like one of those old people who blather on about the hardships of life back in the day. What I will say is, it’s a huge red flag. Excuses are for people who are afraid or lazy. Don’t regret what you have done. Regret what you have NOT done.

8. Get creative. I truly believe that creative people will rule the world. Back in the day (crap, I said I wouldn’t do it and I did) the math and science brains were the ‘smart ones.’ But now? They are being replaced by computers, search engines, and smart phones. (Sorry friends, that’ll teach you not to make fun of people who failed algebra–twice.) The only thing computers can’t do (yet) is think creatively. Hone those skills and use them to solve your problems. Forget the ‘rules.’ Think!

9. Thank people for their time after you meet with them. Make the note personal. I know that sounds like an old-fashioned, lame thing to do but a lot of the people you meet with will be older than you and they still value that stuff.

10. Create work for yourself. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE does this better than my assistant Alisha the office elf. She is so incredibly proactive, it’s mind blowing. She sends me blogs she thinks I’ll like. She researches places for me to sell my bracelets. She teaches herself new skills on a daily basis and is always looking for ways to save me money. I have never asked her to do these things. She just does them. I will do anything and everything in my power to keep her happy and with me for as long as possible.

I know a lot of you are too young to need this advice right now but it can apply to anything you take on that matters. I’ve been a boss for 12 years now. Through good economies and bad. No matter what, good people work. They find a way. Find yours…

TTYW,

Lisi

Comments

  1. I REALLY really loved this post. Thank you. My favorite is number #5 because it tells you to do what you want to do no matter what. Even if it means working for free. I want to be a fashion designer…it’s my dream, and one day, I will make it. My mom thinks it’s not a “safe” or stable major or anything, but I know I can do it if I work hard enough. I’m going to save this post so that when I’m applying for fashion design jobs one day, I can refer back to it for some ah-mazing advice. Thank you so much!

  2. Thanks!

  3. Anibal Carreon says:

    Dear Lisi remember about a year ago I wrote you that letter from Colorado? Well sorry I haven’t replied to your letter – Jackie 🙂

    Sent from my iPad

  4. I needed this advice now ^_^ Well, I mean, it will be applicable in a few months, but better to have it now, right?
    So thanks 🙂

  5. I’m not sure I agree with #5 – when I graduated from college you couldn’t stay on your parents’ health insurance, so I couldn’t work for free. I took the job I was offered. I still work on my writing in my free time though.

  6. Nice post 🙂 I really wnat to be a writer when I grow up so do you think that you can reqad my blog and teel me what you think???

  7. This is actually really good advice. I got hired on at GameStop not knowing hardly anything about video games by having a thirty minute conversation with the manager about Star Wars. That was my “interview”. And I dressed nice so it was refreshing for her to see a gamer girl who was willing to wear skirts and have some sort of style. To be honest, my job doesn’t pay me shit and I have been working there for two years and have been passed over for promotion nine times. I should quit and find another job, but I don’t because I know if I stick with it I’ll eventually get my own store and be able to make the good money. Yeah, I’m stressed, tired, and hate my life, but it’ll eventually get better.

    Or at least I’ll keep lying to myself that it will.

    LLAP,
    Arianna

  8. So which one did you follow to become a new york times best selling author lisi? I really want to know because i want to be a chef and a fiction writer when i grow up.

  9. that was some awesome advice 🙂 i haven’t posted here in a really long time which i can now tell was a really stupid thing to do :p anyway, loved the post lisi, youre amazing, as always.
    id love it if you guys could check out my blog. just click on my name 😉
    ciao

  10. LISI!
    I have a sort of request? The other day I was stalking through your tumblr, and you had some post on this movie called ‘Now and Then’… and I decided to take you up on your positive recommendation, and I watched it. I lurrr-v it now, and I was wondering if you have any other movie recommendations, the oldish kind, on growing up, friends, that sort of stuff?

  11. Hi!!
    Sorry for the late comment, I’ve been so busy all week! This is great advice, and although I’m not looking for a job just yet, I was so eager to rad this 🙂

    Thanks so much Lisi!
    Kathy

  12. It’s really been a while since I’ve commented 0_0 I have read every post, though……
    This is great advice and I will keep it in mind for when I’m old enough to get a job ^u^
    So…. How is everyone?

  13. This is perfect advice Lisi! I am actually going to be looking for a job soon too. I thought I commented on last wed. But when I just looked today I saw it wasn’t there so… Anyway I was wondering if maybe you could do a shout out next wed. because it will be my 16th birthday on the 28th! I am so excited!!! 😉

  14. Awesome advice. Some of these, such as #10, was a fresh reminder for me for my current job. Great post!

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