Four Steps You Need to Take to Land a Virtual Job, with Amanda Nachman

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Transcript

Mac Prichard:

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In spite of the COVID recession, employers continue to hire, especially for virtual jobs that you can do from your home.

Our guest today says to get one of these positions requires a different kind of job search.

Amanda Nachman is here today to talk about four steps you need to take to land a virtual job.

She’s the author of the new book, #Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize.  Amanda also hosts the podcast, Find Your Passion Career.

She joins us today from California.

Well, let’s get started, Amanda. Because of the pandemic, so many companies now are hiring 100% virtually. Do you think this is a permanent change?

Amanda Nachman:

Hmm, it’s hard to know what this pandemic will bring in terms of future hiring but we may be expecting virtual interviews to be more widely adopted and it’s good to be prepared for this shift.

Mac Prichard:

Do you think, for candidates, virtual hiring is harder, a harder process to go through?

Amanda Nachman:

I think it just depends on what you’re most comfortable with. In running College Magazine, we always recruited virtually because the position in itself was virtual, and so for some students that weren’t as comfortable with virtual interviewing, it showed. They weren’t as prepared in terms of their background, which showed up on their screen, we’d see messy beds in the background. We even had a student show up in a robe, I kid you not.

I think that it’s important to be really intentional about how you’re going to show up virtually and that includes what shows up behind you, what does your background look like, and can you make sure that it’s professional so that you can really shine on the screen when you’re in that interview.

Mac Prichard:

Well, I have to ask, in that interview where the candidate was in that robe, what happened? Did the person proceed with the next stage, or how did you and your colleague handle that?

Amanda Nachman:

He totally had the wonderful chutzpah to follow up about his application. We do get back to all applicants, either way, to let them know, but we did mention that we do encourage him in the future to show up wearing business casual, professional wear, for his next interview in the future because College Magazine is an experience for students so we do want to help them be successful in their future roles, so we want to be a guide for them.

Mac Prichard:

Are there advantages that come to candidates when they’re applying for jobs virtually, or rather, applying for virtual jobs?

Amanda Nachman:

Oh yeah, that just brings me back to that…I remember I was applying for a job in DC and I remember I wasn’t familiar with the city, I was coming from the University of Maryland, and I was driving around looking for a parking spot and feeling all nervous and hoping that I wasn’t sweating through my outfit, and then finding the location, exactly, so you get to take out that part of it all. There’s no commuting, there’s no stress on being late because you’re coming in from your home. But I think that interviewing virtually comes with its own version of stresses which could be, carving out the right space for your interview, making sure that it’s going to be quiet, and then also, making sure that you are prepared to make that connection even though you won’t have some of those real in life connections that you’re going to have when you interview in-person.

Mac Prichard:

Well, let’s talk about what candidates can do and you’ve got four steps that you recommend someone take to land a virtual job, and your first step, Amanda, is, you say, “Feed your hangry soul.” What do you mean by this?

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, well, when it comes to applying for a job, I think that the first step happens well before you hit those job boards. And we all know that 85% of jobs are found through networking, so why are we spending all of our time on the boards? Get out there and make those connections but even before you make those connections, the very first step is to think about what you’re passionate about.

And I call it feeding your hangry soul because it is human nature to go after something that is meaningful, that does feed your soul, and so I really encourage any applicant starting out in their job search to take that moment, hit the pause button, and really think about, what do you enjoy? What makes you light up when you talk about it? What’s something you would be able to do for hours on end and not even know that the time has passed?

It is human nature to seek meaningful work, and when you really take that time to consider what you’re passionate about, whether it’s a level 1 passion or a level 10 passion, when you really take that moment to identify what you care about, you are setting yourself up for greater success in communicating your interests, your strengths, your values, your skillsets, and making a greater impression come interview day.

Mac Prichard:

Why is that especially important when you’re pursuing a virtual job?

Amanda Nachman:

Well, I don’t know if it’s necessarily important for virtual versus in real life, but for today’s competitive job world, I do believe that passionate people are more likely to get the role because there are less roles available and so employers can be more selective. And don’t you think that they’re going to want someone to work for their organization that has a greater connection to what they do?

For example, if you’re applying for a role in health and wellness, and you feel very passionately about yoga and you read a lot of wellness magazines, and maybe you’ve created an Instagram dedicated to a new yoga pose each week, that really shows that you’re very connected to their mission and it makes you stand out as an applicant.

Mac Prichard:

What about mindset, Amanda, I know you’ve written that that’s an important part of doing a search like this; tell us more about that.

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, on the job journey, it’s not often talked about how much rejection happens. We’ve all experienced it, not hearing back from a job opportunity or getting that rejection letter, and in order to be prepared for that rejection, my message is for applicants to set themselves up with a qualified mindset.

It’s why I wrote my book, #Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize. And my message here is that if you are set up with a qualified mindset, and what I mean by that is if you fully realize that you have the interests, strengths, values, skillset, and passion needed to go after the career of your dreams, then you will be prepared for any rejection that comes your way.

You will be armored up because when you do experience that rejection, science tells us that rejection hurts, and your self-esteem plummets, and that’s why you need to be able to bounce back from that rejection, to keep going after what you really are passionate about.

Mac Prichard:

How does your mindset help you manage that rejection? What’s happening there?

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, you start to tell yourself a different story. Instead of, “I didn’t get that job and I’m not good enough.” It’s, “I didn’t get that job and it’s not personal, and I should still go after what I’m passionate about.”

And when you start making connections with people in your field, which is another one of my pieces of my advice, you’ll start to see that that one job isn’t the only way to go after your passion, that there are so many opportunities out there that you probably haven’t heard of yet.

Mac Prichard:

How do you recommend a listener work on their mindset and build that mindset that will help you deal with rejection?

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, well, I mean, that brings me into my next step, which is, “Tell me like your BFF would.” Which is identifying your strengths. When you take the time, and I encourage all of your listeners to carve out, I dare you, 20 minutes today, to write down your strengths, and not just one or two. I challenge you to write down 20 of your strengths.

When you take that time to identify where you shine, and sometimes you might need to ask a BFF what those strengths may be because you may not be able to see it yourself, but when you take that time to do it, you start to further armor up your mindset around how you are qualified to go after this opportunity. And in writing down your strengths, you also want to think about times when you’ve demonstrated them.

Stories that show off your strengths. Is your strength being a great writer, or that you are great at project management or leading a team, or maybe that you’re just very dependable? And maybe a way to tell that story is that you could be depended on for picking up a friend from the airport. It could be as simple as that. Of course, it can be more complex, like that time that you led your team in a PowerPoint presentation, and you helped collect the research and bring everyone together and divide up the roles, and you really excelled in that public speaking moment.

When you are able to frame your strengths in a story, you are further armoring yourself up for that qualified mindset and you are better able to speak to how you are qualified to go after what it is that you want.

Mac Prichard:

Why do those stories matter to recruiters?

Amanda Nachman:

Those stories are very important because we all kind of, we live in our lives day-to-day and we’re kind of bored with our own stories. We’re like, “Oh, this is me. This is what my life is like, and it’s pretty same old, same old.” But when you’re applying for something and you’re maybe talking about what you do, whether it’s for class projects or whether it’s for something that you did in a previous job or internship, you might think it’s not that exciting but the person who’s hearing the story for the first time is going to think that it’s pretty interesting. And if you aren’t telling that story with all of the details that it deserves and shining that spotlight on your strengths, that person isn’t going to pick up on that.

They’re going to miss out on all of this key information on how these experiences are transferable to the role that you’re applying for and make you the best candidate.

Mac Prichard:

I’m curious, you mentioned the importance of asking your BFF, your best friends forever, to help you understand your strengths, why is it important to ask others? Why can’t you do this on your own, Amanda?

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, I mean, we call it the humble brag for a reason. It’s not always easy for everyone to do that. Some of us out there are like, “Oh yeah, I could list off all my strengths. No problem.” But others may have more difficulty. And I think it’s important to take a moment to think about how you would describe your own BFF, and oftentimes, we see all the ways in which they shine. So, it’s a lot easier to compliment our friends, and so the same goes for your friend complimenting you.

You may discover some of your strengths that you just haven’t thought about when you interview your BFF, and I’ve done this myself and it’s pretty illuminating. My friend mentioned, you know, I asked her, “Could you tell me about what my strengths are?” And one thing that she said was that I make everything fun. And this isn’t something that is, maybe, directly related to a career opportunity but it’s something great to know about myself and maybe it does. I can see ways in which it actually does connect, in ways that I build partnerships. I really try to make all of these new relationships that I have in business a fun experience for everyone.

Mac Prichard:

We’re going to take a break. When we come back, Amanda, I want to talk more about your four steps that you need to take to land a virtual job.

Please, stay with us. We’ll be back in a moment.

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Now, let’s get back to the show.

We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Amanda Nachman.

She’s the author of the new book, #Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize,  She also hosts the podcast, Find Your Passion Career.

Now, Amanda, before the break we were walking through a list of 4 steps that you recommend job seekers take to get a virtual job and your ideas are also relevant to in-person job searches, as well.

Your third of your four recommended steps is to send a DM a day. What do you mean by that?

Amanda Nachman:

Sending a DM a day, that’s making connections with people who are in your dream field. So, reaching out to someone who’s doing something that you think is interesting and saying, “I’d love to interview you. Do you have 15 minutes for an informational interview?” And letting them know, “I’m also passionate about what you’re doing.”

Let’s say it’s graphic design. “I’m also passionate about graphic design. I would love to hear how you got to where you are to today? Do you have time for a virtual interview?” And you might not hear back, you might hear, “I’m too busy.” But some of the times, you’re going to get that yes and you’re going to be able to connect with someone who’s doing what you want to do, and through that conversation, staying curious, asking those questions, you’re going to learn the blueprint for how they got to where they are today so that you can follow those steps, too.

Mac Prichard:

Why do you recommend doing it once a day?

Amanda Nachman:

I like to break it down to a DM a day because a courageous connection, and yes, it is courageous, we’ve all been there, about to send that LinkedIn message and it is scary to hit that send button…it’s intense. So, if you can break it down to a DM a day, slightly chipping away at making those connections, you’re going to be building your connections over time. That’s really what a DM a day is, is building your network, and if 85% of jobs are found through networking, then that’s where you want to be spending 85% of your time.

Mac Prichard:

Who do you recommend targeting? Should it be the CEO of a company or someone else?

Amanda Nachman:

Wouldn’t you just love that, if you could send a LinkedIn message to the CEO and suddenly you’re hearing back from every CEO and you just have those interviews lined up for your month?

Mac Prichard:

They’re standing by waiting for your message, aren’t they, Amanda?

Amanda Nachman:

I think the CEOs are going to be a little busy but you never know; hey, shoot for the stars. I think it’s good to mix it up and I also encourage to message someone who’s maybe just one or two steps ahead. Someone that may have a little less on their plate and have more time to give you in that informational interview. They’re also going to be really honored to hear from you because they’re not getting these requests on a regular basis.

Mac Prichard:

Are these people that are already in your network, they might be people that you connected with on LinkedIn, for example, or these people outside of your network?

Amanda Nachman:

It can be both, I think it’s smart to start with your current network, so looking to people that went to your university, people that were part of a student organization that you were part of, friends of friends, and that way you have a nice ice breaker and a good start. For me, if I reach out to anybody who went to the University of Maryland, I’m going to say, “It’s really exciting to speak to another Terp. I’d love to hear about your career journey.” And that’s a great way to make that connection.

Your passion alone can be the connecting dot.

Mac Prichard:

Is this something that you recommend that people do just during a job search, Amanda, or should it be a career habit?

Amanda Nachman:

Oh, well, I mean, I think it should definitely be a career habit, easier said than done. I had one student though, she was currently in a job and just wasn’t really feeling that she was feeding her hangry soul, she didn’t feel passion about the work, and so I encouraged her to send a DM a day and she did, and she would text me actually. I became her accountability partner. She texted me one person that she reached out to every day and before she knew it…she was very passionate about creative writing, and she was speaking to an editor at Wayfair, and a digital copy editor, and someone who wrote for Forbes, and then other smaller publications that I hadn’t even heard of, but she said that she felt more inspired and less lonely when it came to her career journey, and I think that’s just so important to know.

No matter where you are in your career journey, you are not alone. And there are people out there that want to help you.

Mac Prichard:

What difference did those daily contacts make in the case of the person that you just described? How did her job search end?

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, she felt opened up to new opportunities that she hadn’t heard of before, and each woman, she spoke mainly to women in these fields, wanted to introduce her to somebody else. And so, everyone was just thinking of ways to help her and she ended up finding a role that she is now in that she loves, where she is able to flex her creative writing in anew job.

Mac Prichard:

Your fourth and final step for landing a job virtually is to apply from the upside-down and Zoom like a boss. What do you mean here, Amanda?

Amanda Nachman:

I call it the upside-down application because it’s the reverse of what you think you should be doing. A lot of times what we think we should be doing, applying to jobs, and getting those applications in, often our first instinct is to hit the job boards and to send in our resume and cover letter. But I think it’s unrealistic to believe that on the day that you start job searching, that the exact right role is going to be open for you on that day. And instead, I take it, I flip it on its head and I call it the upside-down job application because instead of applying for the job like you think you should, instead I want you to make those connections with people who are in your field, or look for people that work for companies that align with your interests strengths and values, and start building those connections, so that when something does become available, you’re top of mind, or they may be able to connect you with some opportunity that may not be listed yet. Which is often the case.

Mac Prichard:

How do you Zoom like a boss?

Amanda Nachman:

Zooming like a boss is being really intentional with how you show up on Zoom. So, thinking about your background, considering what can be heard around you, so if you have roommates, you have family around, letting them know you’re on an interview, and that you’re going to be taking it very seriously, this comes across in your interview. Making sure that you’re centered on the screen, you have some good lighting, all good things to consider, so that way nothing takes away from your message and your opportunity to connect with the person who you’re interviewing with.

Mac Prichard:

You mentioned earlier something that you describe as a courageous connection. What do you mean by that, Amanda?

Amanda Nachman:

Courageous connections are connecting with anyone that is in your field or connects with your passion and sending that message, whether it’s on LinkedIn or sending an email or picking up the phone and making that call. It takes courage to reach out. It’s something that we’re not all that comfortable doing. I still get nervous to this day and I’ve been in journalism for years, reaching out to my sources even. But it’s something that, it’s like a muscle and as you flex it, it gets stronger but the more courageous connections you make, the more you’re building your network and the more that you’re learning how to be successful in your career.

Mac Prichard:

What difference can those courageous connections make in a job search?

Amanda Nachman:

They make all the difference. When you are connected, you are opening doors that were previously closed, you are learning about jobs that you probably haven’t heard of. A lot of times, I ask students or recent grads to name 5 companies, and often times, they’re naming these grand, consumer product companies, like the Googles of this world, that have thousands of employees. But there are over fourteen million with under 100 employees, so just imagine all of these companies that you’ve just never heard of. Taking the time to discover them, and the way to discover them is through people. You know, someone didn’t just…a lot of the times, you’re going to interview someone that’s maybe working at your dream job and it turns out that there were a lot of smaller companies that they worked at before they got to that role.

Mac Prichard:

Do you find that people that you work with face less competition when they’re exploring opportunities at those smaller companies versus a Google or Nike or an Apple?

Amanda Nachman:

Oh, for sure, and you are able to make…it’s easier to you to get those connections, to get your foot in the door, and to make clear cases for why your passion is your differentiator. Because yeah, there’s going to be fewer applicants, they’re going to be dedicating more time to you and your application, and yeah, the Googles and the Nikes of this world have so much talent to choose from that it’s going to be tough to stand out, and the way to stand out is going to be through connection. So, if you’re not connected there, it’s going to be a tougher journey and you might face a lot of rejection.

Although the career journey, in general, is a journey of rejection, and I think a lot of people glaze over that and that is what I want to draw attention to in “#Qualified.” Of course, that sounds very dark, you know. “You’re going to face a lot of rejection. Good luck.” It’s not that dark, it’s that, if you do armor up and you have a qualified mindset, it won’t feel as personal when you do face that rejection.

Mac Prichard:

Rejection is a fact, it’s going to happen frequently throughout a job search, isn’t it, Amanda?

Amanda Nachman:

Oh yeah, and, hey, ask people when you’re making those courageous connections, about the rejection that they faced and they’ll be able to share those stories with you and those learnings. I remember I applied for 3 magazine internships and was rejected from all three, and then I held an informational interview with someone that worked at Washingtonian Magazine, and she told me that she had started her journey by writing for her on-campus magazine and that was something that I hadn’t even considered to do. So, I mean, here I was kind of kicking myself, oh my gosh, I thought I was so qualified for these other opportunities. But I was applying with my essays on Shakespeare, and other kids were applying with their clips, their magazine clips. And so that next day I went to my campus magazine and applied and started writing articles for my campus magazine and started building my portfolio, and for that next magazine internship, I got the role.

Mac Prichard:

Well, I’ve enjoyed our conversation about these four steps, Amanda. Now, tell us, what’s next for you?

Amanda Nachman:

Yeah, so what’s next is, the book just released; it’s called #Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize, and right now I am taking the book on a virtual campus tour. So, if you’re a college student, if you book students and you’d like to have a workshop or keynote speaker at your university, let me know. You can reach out to me at amandanachman.com. Of course, you can also follow me on Instagram, if you’re looking for more tips and inspiration on how you can feel qualified to go after your dream career.

Mac Prichard:

Now, Amanda, given all the great advice you’ve shared today, what’s the one thing you want a listener to remember about these four steps you recommend taking to land a virtual job?

Amanda Nachman:

I would tell listeners, first off, you are more qualified than you realize, and secondly, to think about a time when someone told you that you were qualified, that you were good enough. Think about how that made you feel and then pass it on. Let somebody else know that they’re qualified to go after their dreams. And when we all go after something that we’re passionate about, we make a greater impact on the world and there’s a ripple effect.

When you do something that you love, you change the world.

Mac Prichard:

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Next week, our guest will be Tiffany Waddell Tate. She’s the CEO and founder of Career Maven Consulting.

When you graduate from college, you get a diploma. You also become part of an alumni network.

Tiffany says you can leverage these connections to understand employer’s needs, get introductions to hiring managers, and attract the attention of recruiters.

Tiffany and I will talk about these and other ways to make the most of your alumni network in a job search.

I hope you’ll join us. Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.

Due to COVID-19, companies are now hiring for more virtual positions than ever before. But how do you prepare to find one of these virtual jobs? Your first step is to figure out what lights you up, according to Find Your Dream Job guest Amanda Nachman. Amanda says passionate people are more likely to snag one of the few jobs available in this economy. She also shares specific ways to build your network, not only while seeking your next job but as a daily practice. And lastly, make sure your background for virtual interviews is clean, and that you’re dressed professionally. 

About Our Guest:

Amanda Nachman is the author of the new book,#Qualified: You Are More Impressive Than You Realize.”  Amanda also hosts the podcast, Find Your Passion Career.

Resources in This Episode: