#267) Why to Consider a Value Validation Project & Are Resumes Ineffective Tools? | Austin Belcak
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Today I brought on Austin Belcak.
Austin is the founder of CultivatedCulture.com where he helps people land jobs they love without traditional experience and without applying online. He was also recently named a LinkedIn Top Voice of 2022!
So as you can see, Austin is going to be just awesome, and this episode is going to really help you out if you’re struggling with standing out from the pack.
Chris Villanueva 0:04
Welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast.
And welcome to the Let’s Eat, Grandma Career Warrior Podcast where our goal is not only to help you land your dream job, but to help you live your best life. Today we’re going to talk about how to create a value validation project. This is a concept that many of you listeners probably have not heard about if you’ve been listening to this podcast. So listen up, because this could be the one thing that could help you to get hired. Today I brought on Austin ballsack. Austin is the founder of cultivated culture.com, where he helps people land jobs they love without traditional experience, and without applying online. Austin is also a LinkedIn Top Voice of 2022, and has a pretty massive following as well. So as you can see, this episode is going to be amazing in terms of getting you to stand out as a job seeker. And this may be the one thing missing in order for you to move forward in job search. Without further ado, this is episode 267 of the career for your podcast. Austin, welcome to the show,
Austin Belcak 1:11
Chris. Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Chris Villanueva 1:14
It’s great to have you on. And actually, before we get into the value validation project, I wanted to hear a little bit about how you got into the career space yourself. I know, this is something we may not have gotten into before this episode. But I think listeners do deserve to hear that.
Austin Belcak 1:29
Absolutely. So I’ll try to keep it tight and concise. But essentially, I got into the career space for two reasons. The first was my own experience, job searching and my own experience trying to navigate you know, my own career and achieve the goals that I have for myself. And the second being the advice that I found through that experience and how I didn’t really feel like it was clear, and that it was suited for me and what I wanted to do. And so to basically flush out that story a little bit in college, I was a biology major. And I came into school with the goal of being a doctor. But I quickly realized that I didn’t want to be a doctor, I failed a couple of classes early on. And I realized that my true passion wasn’t really in the space that I thought it was, you know, I had chosen this path because my parents and their friends and anybody else who I kind of looked up to for approval, they all smiled and nodded when I said that I wanted to be a doctor. But I didn’t really think about what I wanted. And I didn’t even really know what I wanted. But I did know that I wanted approval from these people. So I kind of chose this path, not for myself, but because it made other folks happy. And so naturally, whenever we do that, in anything in life, we tend to kind of fall off the wagon as soon as the going gets tough. And that’s what happened to me. So to kind of fast forward a bit. I’m getting towards the end of college, his junior year, I ended up getting an internship that just falls into my lap more or less. And I say yes, because I don’t really want to think about the future. Still, I’m kind of in that boat, and I go through the whole summer, they offer me a job at the end of the summer, I say yes. Which basically means that I don’t have the job search my whole senior year. Amazing, right? So I go through my whole senior year, I don’t job search, all my friends are out here interviewing, you know, they’re studying for their interviews, they’re applying to all these companies they’re doing, you know what you’re supposed to be doing. And I was basically doing the opposite. So no surprise, I graduate, I end up in this job. And it’s paying me far less than I need to make ends meet. And on top of that, my boss just wasn’t a very nice person. And all of these things combined with the fact that this wasn’t really the field that I was passionate in, that led me to realize that I needed to make a change. And so I took a step back. And I looked around and I thought you know, what do I want to do. And basically to kind of cut to the chase, I decided that tech was the area that I wanted to be in. So I went to the same people for advice, right? I went to my parents, I went to my friends, career counselors at school, you know, blogs online, and everybody was telling me the same thing, which was to basically tweak my resume or you know, hire somebody like you to do my resume and get out there and start applying for jobs and basically cross my fingers and you know, hope that somebody got back to me. Yeah, spray and pray technique. Exactly. And that’s exactly what I did. And as you well know, that didn’t work out so well for me. So I applied to about 100 jobs in the first month. Nothing came of that. So I went back to all these folks. And I said, You know what gifts like, you’re supposed to have the answers like you’re my parents, you’re the Career Counselor what’s going on? And they basically told me that it’s a numbers game, right? I’m sure you’ve heard that probably a million times from a million job seekers. And I was one of those people. But that didn’t seem to make sense to me. So I said, Alright, if that’s the case, let me go back. And let me invest in this for another month and double down and see what happens. So a month later and an additional 200 apps later, you know, here I am with 300 Total applications out there and basically nothing to show for it. And I knew that this path wasn’t going to be the one for me. Even if it was the traditional path, even if it was the one, you know, were taught, and the one that just always been that way, that’s how you get a job, I knew that it wasn’t working for me and I had to find a different way in the door. And so essentially, I had to go create my own career system, I had to create my own process for getting in the door for these jobs. And a lot of that revolved around networking and building relationships with people and then finding unique and creative ways, like the value validation project to illustrate my value, because coming from a non traditional background, you know, as we kind of talked about in the pre show, it’s really hard to get your value recognized on a resume. So that’s kind of the long and short of of my story is a job seeker. And then eventually, I got in the door with Google, Microsoft, and Twitter accepted the offer for Microsoft. And after that happened, I had a bunch of people coming to me asking me how I did it. And after, you know, the 20th, person asked me, I thought, well, there might be something here. And so that’s when I started cultivating culture. And that was about six years ago. And the rest is history.
Chris Villanueva 5:56
That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing that story to always find the path that it takes to get here to be. So it’s interesting for a lot of people who are in the career space, because a lot of it is derived from empathy, having gone through it ourselves, we know the pain and struggle. So we want to help people get through the pain that so many jobseekers are experiencing right now. And so there’s one thing that you mentioned that I want to dig into a little bit more, which is the concept of showcasing value? Why are so many people having a tough time showcasing value and no offense taken? If you want to call it the resume and discuss how the resume it’s hard to showcase value? And I think we can have a really good conversation there. But why is it so tough to showcase value and to get interviews that matter?
Austin Belcak 6:39
Well, I think it really comes down to a couple of things. And first is education. So when we think about the stuff that we’re taught, and as we go through kind of those formative years, where we’re really starting to think of the job search, and in many cases, even you know, after we get into the professional world, you know, I see this from people who are even mid managers or directors, were never really taught how to sell ourselves in a way that feels authentic. And so when we look at a resume, most of the time, the folks who are writing these resumes, they don’t have a good idea of of what it takes to really illustrate their value. And what I see. And you can tell me if you see the same, but so many people are simply summarizing their actions instead of actually selling them. And so what I mean by that is on the resume, we see a lot of you know, responsible for doing this, or, you know, I took these actions, or I develop this plan, or I gathered this data, and it’s all about the actions that we took, and nothing at all around the outcomes. And when we put ourselves in the, you know, on the other side of the table, and the hiring managers see, if I have 10 resumes in front of me and all 10 people are saying that they were responsible for, let’s say, designing and implementing social media campaigns. That’s awesome. I’m really, really excited about that experience. But what I don’t know, is what came out of that, did you grow that social account by 30,000 followers in 30 days? Or did you lose 30,000 followers in 30 days, I have no idea because you haven’t showed that to me in your resume. And so that’s the biggest piece is for the individual job seekers themselves. And the way that you know, they can kind of control this is they’re just not necessarily taught how to sell themselves. And so they don’t, yeah, and then they get lost in the mix. The second reason is the resume itself. And the big issue here is just the way that the resume is designed, both in the content that we’re sort of quote, allowed to put on it. And then also the language that we use, it’s just really, really hard to sell your value. And to go a little bit deeper there, you know, first, my backgrounds in sales. So on the first day, you know, what they teach you is that if you want to win, you need to make it about the other person, right? Stop talking about yourself and start talking about, you know, the person you’re selling to and what they’re interested in and their pain points. Yeah. And the problem with the resume is that it’s essentially the opposite, right? I can’t write a resume and say, you know, oh, you know, you’re a Microsoft. And here’s the research that I’ve done on you. And here’s what I know, you need. And here’s some ideas I have. And here’s how we could solve for that. Instead, I’m forced to say, hey, Microsoft, here’s my background. And I’m crossing my fingers that you can read between the lines and somehow understand how what I’ve done in the past translates to what you need. And that’s a really tough place to sell from. So that’s the first issue. And then the second issue is the language that we use, right? The resume language, the way resumes are written. It’s a language that we don’t use literally anywhere else. Like there isn’t any other professional space or document or literally anything where we use this type of language. So naturally for job seekers, and anybody else, if we’re trying to do something, using a medium that we’re unfamiliar with, it’s gonna be really, really hard to successfully convey our message and our value in the in the way that we would hope or in the way that we kind of see it in our own minds. But then the additional piece there is that you know, recruiters read a lot of resumes and they kind of understand this language. But hiring managers, hiring managers are not paid to read resumes, they’re paid to do the job that they do, right. And so the language is is almost just as foreign to them as it is to the job seekers. And so especially with these technical positions, oh, 100% and technical positions, niche positions like and there’s even some translation stuff, that’s, that’s getting lost there, where you might have a technical hiring manager for a technical role, and the recruiter may not necessarily be well versed in that technical language. And so now we’re sort of putting the recruiter in a tough position, and not really in a place to succeed. And then there’s frustration from both the job seeker and the hiring manager, again, because the job seeker is like, well, the recruiter is not recognizing my value. And the hiring manager is like, why aren’t you giving me any qualified candidates like these people don’t have what we want. And the recruiters like, Oh, my God, like, this isn’t even my expertise. So for all of these reasons, it’s really tough. And kind of the, the way that I like to frame it up to our clients is that, you know, I kind of cut my teeth and spend a lot of time in New York early on in my career. And the best part about New York is just how much diversity there is you can show up to a restaurant or a bar, and there’s people from all over the world. And so naturally, you know, let’s say you have two people who are having a drink or having a meal, or coffee or whatever. And for them English is both of their third language, but it’s the only language that they have in common. Maybe they strike up a conversation, you know, they’re just naturally going to be things that are a little bit harder to understand, or things that just get lost in translation, simply because English is both a third languages. And so that’s neither of their fault. But that’s the reality of the situation. And the same thing is kind of happening on resumes, where this isn’t even the language that we use, like there’s, let’s say, our conversational language, then there’s kind of like our professional language, where we’re talking in jargon and stuff. And then there’s the resume language coming in third, and we just don’t use it at all. So it’s really, really hard to communicate our value there. So I think for those two overarching reasons, both job seekers not necessarily being well educated on how to sell themselves, and then also the resume being a really tough medium through which to sell our value. Both of those things are contributing to a lot of the frustration that job seekers see when they show up to the job search. And they go through this traditional process, which is very, very heavily weighted towards you know, the resume being the single thing that you need to, quote, achieve the outcome you want, according to you know, most of the people that you speak to,
Chris Villanueva 12:19
yeah, I will say I haven’t really found a single thing I disagree with you there. I mean, having founded and run a resume company for eight years, those core problems are so true, the fact that if you write a resume, and it’s generic, and it’s not about the specific company you’re applying for, you’re so much less likely to get the position if it’s like this very generic resume. And so that’s why we advocate for targeted resumes and knowing specifically what the other company is looking for, which is easier said than done. I do understand that. But I would say that’s the number one problem in which makes most resumes that most people are sending are mediocre at best, I think because it’s oftentimes this spray and pray method and where people will develop their own generic resume that says, me, me, me, these are all the things that I’ve done in the history of my professional experiences. And I’m going to use the same resume for every single position I’m applying for regardless of what those needs are. And so I think therein lies the problem, and why a lot of resumes are bad. And I do agree with the whole resume speak. It’s not a common language that we use in the day to day conversation. And so that does make it a little bit awkward. And so perhaps at the end of this podcast, we can tie in these resume and value validation project principles, but I think people need to hear first just to get an idea what is exactly a value validation project. What is it at its foundation?
Austin Belcak 13:43
Yeah, so in its simplest form, a value validation project is some sort of deliverable that you put together, that allows you to convey your value on your own terms and in your own words. So really, if we distill it down, that’s kind of the core definition. Now, that’s going to be abstract to a lot of people. And there are many, many different ways to go about this, which is kind of the beauty of the strategy in and of itself. But yeah, if we distill it down to its its roots, it’s basically us saying, Okay, I know what I can bring to the table for this company, my resume, my cover letter, my LinkedIn profile, I don’t feel like those things are enabling me to showcase the value that I bring to the table in the way that I want. So let me go build out this thing where I truly own every aspect of it. And let me bring that to the table. And let me use that as an illustration of my value in addition to all of these other materials that are sort of requirements in order to to even you know, have a seat at the table.
Chris Villanueva 14:39
Okay? So it’s supplementary in not necessarily replacing the resume.
Austin Belcak 14:44
Definitely. So I think it’s really important. I’m glad you asked this question, because I’m not going to sit here and say, and this isn’t just because of what you do either, Chris, but in general, like, resumes are still a very central part of the job search and if you want to win, you still need to have it Write resume, regardless of the avenues you go, you know, for me, I’m a big advocate of shifting your energy away from online applications and more towards building relationships. But if we build a relationship and we get a referral, you know, the first question out of that referrals mouth is, can you pass along your resume, so I can send it to the hiring manager, and then the hiring manager is going to read it. And if they don’t see what they want, you’re still going to struggle to get in the door. And so all of these things, you know, cover letters, kind of a different story, you know, we can go down that path do you want, but I truly think, you know, LinkedIn profile resume, those are two core things that you absolutely need to have, you want to be successful in the job search. But everybody else is going to have those too. And so when literally all of your competition is using the same exact thing, when they’re playing in the same arena, it’s really hard to stand out within that arena. And so having this additional supplementary thing that you bring to the table that’s really going to elevate you and differentiate you for so many different reasons, which we can dive more into. But yes, it’s absolutely a supplement and not a replacement for these traditional materials.
Chris Villanueva 16:02
I would love to hear and thanks for the clarification, because we once had somebody come on the podcast, and I thought this insight was so brilliant about how to stand out in an interview, which is every single person who shows up to an interview is doing the same exact thing. They’re just answering the questions that are given to the best of their ability, they’re not really doing anything to stand above and beyond the other candidates. And so they recommended coming prepared to the interview. And I thought this was first I thought this was extra, I’m like this is going to take a lot of time. But the way she explained it, I thought it was brilliant. But she says come prepared with a portfolio of a few different documents to show why you really are a good match for that company, which included this thing called the suitability map, which draws direct connections between what you’ve done and what the company needs to see. And so I think these are the things that get jobseekers to stand up at the top 1% of the candidate pool to end up getting the best jobs out there. And so I love it. I say bring it on in anything, anything that a job seeker could do to end up getting the standout, I think is a good thing. And so just getting a little into the technical nitty gritty. So how is a resume different than a value validation project? Like what are some of the elements that I might see in a VVP?
Austin Belcak 17:19
Yeah, so in most cases, they’re going to be pretty drastically different. You know, with a resume, we’re sort of working on an eight and a half by 11 sheet of paper, typically built in Microsoft Word, or Google Docs, or or resume builder. Maybe we have some, you know, stylistic elements, but but more or less, it’s kind of, you know, black ink on white paper, and it’s heavily text driven for VPS. There’s a whole range of how you might put these together. So I’ve had clients create videos for VPS. I’ve had clients create websites, I’ve had clients do all sorts of different things. But the medium that I found to be most successful across the largest number of people, I think, mainly because of familiarity, but also because of the medium itself would be a slide deck, the slide deck, okay. Yeah, exactly. Most people know how to put together slide deck. Like we’ve all had to do that at some point in our careers, either as professionals or even students, right, we all know what PowerPoint is, we all know what Google Slides is like. That’s familiar. But then the slide deck opens up, this is additional avenue for visuals, and just different types of content that you’re probably not going to find on a resume and probably wouldn’t be recommended to include in your resume. So that’s the first thing is just the stylistic difference. The other thing I really like about value validation projects, especially for going this slide deck route is that we can actually tailor them. So one thing I have all my clients do is we actually go look up the company’s brand guide, like what are your hex colors for your brand, let me grab your logos, let me grab the font that you use, like all these things, and we build out the slide deck in essentially matching the brand of the company. And now when we present this deck to them, they see a presentation that looks very similar to something that they might see internally. And so you know, a lot of people, I’m sure, as you see, they write, you know, attention to details a skill on their resume. Well, in my experience, actions tend to speak louder than words and so show exactly, Show, don’t tell. So when somebody opens that up, and they see that they’re thinking, wow, this presentation looks really good. And it looks like it’s something we would put together internally. So that’s another thing. And then the value validation project content is typically focused on the company. So rather than focusing on ourselves as the job seeker, what we do instead is we go research this company, and we try to find areas of opportunity or challenges that the company is facing, or just anything generally that the company is and the role specifically would be focused on. And then we build out some ideas that either support, you know, an initiative or might help them overcome a challenge or, you know, bring a new idea to the table. And so I can absolutely, you know, walk you through a full example of what this might look like. But basically, you know, the way that I like to set it up and we can go deeper on this too, but I like to have kind of a catchy headline slide that will let The reader No, hey, here’s exactly what you’re gonna get out of this. So maybe you know, three ways that Microsoft Teams can capture more market share in six months, right? If I’m at Microsoft Teams, and I read that, probably going to be interesting to me. So now we’ve kind of captured their attention, the next couple of slides I use to essentially provide evidence and kind of validate the plausibility of what’s to come. So I’ll typically go find quotes or data, or you know, anything from a reputable source that says, hey, this challenge that I’m about to talk to you, or speak to you about, or this opportunity that I’m about to highlight, this isn’t something I came up with in the shower, this is like a legit thing that, you know, I found that’s backed by data or that your CEO is talking about, and then I’ll go into the ideas themselves. And then I’ll usually cap it at the end with a little bit of a slide that speaks to, you know, my background, essentially saying, Hey, here’s why I’m qualified to be the person to help you execute on all of these things. Here’s some, here’s a little bit about my background, here’s some results that I’ve achieved, here’s a link to my resume, my LinkedIn, etc. That’s kind of the the setup there
Chris Villanueva 21:00
sounds really interactive, it sounds really engaging. And so what I would say is, it almost seems like this is something that a job secure would use in order to apply for a company that they were certainly interested in. And so my question for you would be, you know, if I am applying for 100, different job, it’d be time consuming to the sense to where I wouldn’t be able to create one of these for every single different position I’m applying for. But maybe that’s what you’re recommending against in the first place, which is to apply to 100 Different companies, but to go deeper into a few, or how would you recommend using this within the job application process?
Austin Belcak 21:34
Yeah, so there are two specific criteria that I have for creating a value validation project. But even before getting to those two criteria, the way that I approached the job search with my clients is that we typically pick around 15 companies to start, and then we go really, really deep Yeah, with those 15 companies. And that’s not to say there can’t be more than we kind of have in like an on deck circle, if you will. Because as we go through the process, we’ll learn more about these companies. And maybe we learn that they’re no longer of interest to us. And so we can swap them out. But the whole goal with our searches rather than going, you know, you mentioned 100 apps. So using that, you know, rather than going 100 apps wide, and maybe you know a couple of miles deep on each of those apps, instead, let’s narrow that. So we’re going, you know, 10 to 15 apps wide, and we’re going super, super deep on that much more narrow set of companies,
Chris Villanueva 22:20
I see way too many people on either end of the spectrum that go really hard into one, they’re like a really want to get that job at Google, I really want that Google job. And so they’ll basically make their entire job search about this one event for applying for Google. And then on the other end, you have people who are will take anything that will hire them. And so you’re more like the 10 to 15 range generally.
Austin Belcak 22:42
Yeah, we’re trying to kind of get the best of both, right. Like, if you’re only focused on one company, obviously, you know, you’re kind of setting yourself up for disappointment, because even at, you know, Chris, I don’t know what your kind of career path look like, and you know what your job searches have looked like in the past. But for me, like, I was rejected from Google, like 12 times before I finally got on the door for an interview. And Microsoft was similar. And all these companies, I was rejected time and again, and over a period of years before I finally kind of got in. And so if you’re only focused on the one company, and your timeline is what most jobseekers timeline is, which is, you know, now rather than later, you’re kind of set up for disappointment. And then on the flip side, you know, 100 companies or more, I see some crazy stuff on LinkedIn. Now, some people are like, Yeah, I’ve applied to 1000 companies. And it’s like, it just kind of like blows my mind. So you’re not really doing yourself any favors there. So we try to meet in the middle, where we’re giving ourselves a good sample size, so we can have some options. But we’re, it’s small enough, where we’re able to go really deep on those companies. And to take that, you know, a layer deeper, you know, our clients don’t create value validation projects, even for the 15 companies that we choose. So instead, they don’t, ya know, they only do it if they meet the two criteria that I mentioned at the beginning of the answer. And so to get into those, basically, there’s two things I want to happen that will kind of trigger the greenlight for the value validation project. So the first is getting a formal interview. And that’s kind of obvious, right? If you’re already in the door for the interview, great, you should do this. The second is more common, but less obvious, which is if you have a conversation, or an engagement with a connection at the company, who can influence your ability to get hired, who you also believe will be an advocate for you throughout the process. So to kind of simplify that a little bit, you know, let’s say we’re reaching out to a bunch of people, and we have an email exchange with one person at this company who works, you know, on the team that we’re hoping to get hired for, and things are just flowing really well, you know, they seem engaged with us, they’re responding to our questions, they seem really helpful. I might say to myself, This person seems like they would advocate for me if they knew I was interested, and if they knew the value that I brought to the table, so let me make that clear to this person, and I’m gonna go create this value validation project. Okay, so those are kind of the two major criteria and what that ends up being is, you know, when we think of those 10 to 15 companies, our process also revolves like I said mostly around referrals. So rather than submitting applications, we’re kind of reaching out to people cold and working to build relationships. Typically, you’re ending up with that criteria at maybe three, four or five of the companies that are on your list. And so that’s typically the amount of VPS that I see our average client putting together. So it’s it’s not 15. It’s not 100. But it’s also not just one, it’s it’s typically about three to five range.
Chris Villanueva 25:24
Thank you for clarifying. I can just see the questions come up.
Austin Belcak 25:27
Oh, totally. That’s the number one question I get.
Chris Villanueva 25:31
No, but that’s fantastic. Because that shows how to go deeper and how to invest more in a company in a way that’s going to way increase your chances of getting hired, versus just going through the job search process like every other candidate. So I think that’s genius. And that’s one of the reasons why I was so excited to bring you on the show. So thank you for the clarification there. So I will of course, for listeners, I think it might be a lot, especially if it’s the first time hearing what an EVP is I’ll include a link on this podcast description with a link to Austin’s website, if you want to find out more about what an EVP is and how it works. But Alaska general Job Search Optimization question, which is like how do I connect with the right people at these companies? And you even mentioned, like finding that one advocate who can help kind of push your application along. But let’s say that I’m not really that far down the line and building that network, how would you recommend finding and connecting with these people, Austin? Yeah,
Austin Belcak 26:26
so it’s still going to be a bit of a numbers game. But the rationale behind going down this path instead of the online application path is just the outcomes that we see. So you know, there’s a bunch of numbers thrown around out there. And nobody’s done the peer reviewed scientific analysis of this yet. So that the numbers I’ll share based on the anecdotal data that I’ve seen from various sources, but typically, when we apply for a job online, we have roughly about a 2% chance of getting in the door for just an interview. So not even an offer, right. And then, you know, once you get in the door, you still have to go through all those phases to then get to the offer stage. But about 75% of applicants are using online applications as their primary means for kind of chasing these new opportunities, these jobs. So basically, if you’re applying online, you’re competing with 75% of your competition for that 2% chance of just simply sitting down for a conversation. So for me, when I kind of saw this data for the first time when I was job searching, that kind of explained everything to me that explained why I wasn’t seeing the success. And so my next question was, well, if that’s the case, where are the hires coming from? And so the answer is referrals. Really, if we look at the data there, roughly about 10% of total applicants are coming through referrals, but they make up anywhere from 40 to 80%, of hires, and that’s really dependent on the company, and even the team, who’s your manager is and what their processes are. But even on the low end there, you know, we’re still substantially higher in terms of our chances of success. So the way that we spin this up to our clients is, we have our 15 companies, what we’re going to work to do is go find about 10 to 15 people who can influence our ability to get hired for the role that we want, we’re likely going to use LinkedIn to do that. So we’re going to look up people who have the title that might align with our manager have the title that matches the one that we’re applying for. So basically, people who might be our colleagues or peers, and they’re just generally anybody else who looks like they might be on an adjacent team in a supportive or collaborative role. And we’re basically going to make a list of those people, and we’re going to start reaching out to them. And so, you know, somebody may sit here and say, well, if I’m applying to 150 companies, and you’re telling me that’s maybe a silly way to go about it, why would I then go reach out to 150? People? And the answer is that we’re not looking for a better response rate, like I’m not looking to, and you might get a better response rate. But really, at the end of the day is what we’re optimizing for is is the end goal that everybody wants, which is the job offer. And so if
Chris Villanueva 28:46
you explain it better to focus on that, instead of the prior there, that makes a lot more sense,
Austin Belcak 28:51
exactly. Referrals just give you a higher chance of getting the job offer. And so that’s why we focus on those. But it’s still a numbers game.
Chris Villanueva 28:59
Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense to me. And so method of contact, though, what are like the ways that I would look to start doing that is just in my phonebook or LinkedIn and other ways, I’m just trying to think of the person who may not already be that well connected in the beginning, who needs to kind of start fresh and building those connections.
Austin Belcak 29:16
That’s pretty much everybody, you know, I don’t know too many job seekers who have the robust network that that they’re tapping into, right, because if they have it, they either have already talked to those people and haven’t gotten anything out of it, or they just don’t have it at all. Like we’d all love to have, you know, the person at Google to continue with that example, who you know, has just been waiting in the wings to refer us in, but that’s not typically the case. So we’re usually starting from a blank canvas and LinkedIn is easily the best place to find these people. You can just look up the titles, use the company filters, and all that mentioned, but then in terms of reaching out, it’s really gonna look different for every person. And what I encourage our clients to do and what I kind of work with them on is building what I call engagement plans for each person. So we’ll put a person on the list and we’ll look through their entire online presence if They have one. And we’ll try to meet them in a way that makes it interesting to them and also makes it about them. So if they’re actively posting on LinkedIn, we might engage with them and in the comments first, before reaching out, if they have a personal blog, where they write about, you know, whatever it is resume optimization, maybe we’ll engage with them on that front first, basically, what we’re looking to do is, how can I show up and make my engagement about the other person and start that conversation in a way that’s not just me coming to the table and saying, Hey, Chris, you know, I want a job from you, can you refer me because that really never works, we need to start on the right foot. And we need to create the space for that relationship to continue. So it’s going to look different for pretty much everybody that we engage with. But the core tenant is basically viewing it like a bank account, you know, if I try to make a withdrawal, which is asking you for a referral, with no deposits in the relationship, you know, I’m gonna overdraw my account. Whereas if I show up, and I start to make a few little deposits, eventually, you know, I’ll have accrued enough social capital with you to then make the asset that I was originally looking for.
Chris Villanueva 30:59
I love that. Austin Belcak, everyone. Austin, you’ve been so enlightening, and I can’t thank you enough for coming on the show. I want to ask, first of all, if you could tattoo any message on a career warriors arm, what message would that be?
Austin Belcak 31:13
I would say, I mean, so many of us are, whether it’s we’re not clear on the path that we want to go down, or we’re afraid of, you know, doing something, whether it’s networking, or whether it’s doing this other thing, if it’s, you know, trying to change careers, but we’re putting it off, because we don’t know if it’s possible. Any of these things, like the best thing you can do is just start all of your questions, all the doubts that you have, like all those things will be answered, all those things will be kind of relief, once you just begin to take action and take steps down the path. That’s what any and all of us have done. You know, anybody you’re looking up to as a role model, anybody that you’re emulating, they just got started. And so I would say that that’s probably the best piece of advice for job seekers, and just generally for life and for business.
Chris Villanueva 31:55
I love it. Thank you so much for the words. And can you tell us about your podcast?
Austin Belcak 31:59
Absolutely. So obviously, we’re listening to a podcast now. And so I also have one, which is a little bit shorter form. So basically, I share three episodes a week, they’re all less than 15 minutes. And they just dive into a very tactical strategy or concept about the job search. So you get a wide variety of topics. It’s all focused on, you know, under the umbrella of landing jobs, you know, without traditional experience without applying online. And again, they’re just kind of bite sized episodes three times a week. So it’s called the dream job system podcast. You can find it at cultivated culture.com forward slash podcast, anywhere podcasts are found anywhere you listen to them. And I assume also in the show notes below.
Perfect. Austin, thanks so much for joining us on the show. And I knew this was going to be a really interesting episode, because you and I share so many of the same views about what can get people hired. And I think, really, at the end of the day, people need jobs that matter. And in order to get those jobs, they have to stand out, because the ones that really are going to be the jobs for them, they can get competitive sometimes. And so we need to do things like value validation projects, and writing good targeted resumes and preparing for interviews in order to get those jobs. And so I thank you for coming on the show and sharing those insights. listeners. I think you’re doing great work, man.
Thanks for having me, Chris. The feeling is mutual 100%. And I’m grateful for the offer and for the conversation. So appreciate you. I’m wishing you all a ton of success in the future, and wishing everybody who’s listening a ton of success in their job search.
Perfect. Well, thanks so much. And listeners. This wraps up episode 267 of the career warrior podcast, really enjoyed this one. And remember, we’re doing bi weekly episodes now. And so you’ll hear from us on our next episode two minutes from now. And as we’ve mentioned several times already, we’ll include all the links, including Austin’s LinkedIn profile, his website and more information about the value validation project on the description of this podcast. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for tuning in. This wraps up episode 267. I’ll see you next time career warrior podcast. And before you go remember, if you’re not seeing the results you want and your job search, our highly trained team of professional resume writers here at Let’s see, grandma can help head on over to www.letseatgrandma.com/podcast to get a free resume critique and $70 off any one of our resume writing packages. We talk all the time on the show about the importance of being targeted in your job search and with our unique writing process and focus on individual attention. You’ll get a resume cover letter and LinkedIn profile that are highly customized and tailored to your goals to help you get hired faster. Again, head on over to www.letseatgrandma.com/podcast Thanks and I’ll see you next time
Transcribed by https://otter.ai