Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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How to Get a Dream Job Without a Resume

Most of my peers who graduated last year are either unemployed or underemployed. They’ve settled for jobs that are not tied to what they studied in school or present no clear path for career success. Just nine months after graduation, however, I’ve already catapulted into my second job in the intensely competitive field of real estate finance. It wasn’t easy getting here, but I’ve realized that it was a process that anyone with energy, focus and humility can follow.

My college career got off to a rocky start. I came from a divorced family and had average high school grades fueled by learning disabilities. I wanted to be successful but didn’t know how to get started. I enrolled in the undergraduate business school of a small southeastern college, and did the typical collegiate thing. I slept till noon, then went to classes and picked up girls.

A conversation with my uncle after freshman year changed everything. I was captivated by his success and asked him to teach me the real estate business. When he inquired about my lifestyle, I confessed to my after-twelve pattern. He just glared at me and said, “So, you’re wasting half your day? And, half your life?” That was my wake-up call.

I started getting up at 7:00am and reading the Wall Street Journal. I set short and long term goals for myself and regularly evaluated how I was meeting them. That summer, I took morning classes and started a tennis coaching business to earn cash. I spent all my free time with my uncle. I read through every real estate deal I could find in his office and earned a broker’s license. I soaked in the business.

During sophomore year, I began to take advantage of the resources at school. I went to every professor’s office hours to help improve my grades. I developed a special relationship with my advisor, who helped me navigate the institution and encouraged me to get more involved. I figured, you get out of college exactly what you put into it. So against all odds, I started a club for the business school to facilitate meaningful connections for students, faculty and administrators. This helped me create relationships beyond the classroom, and today, the club continues to grow in membership, programming and impact.

With better grades, I applied for a scholarship awarded to an outstanding student which pays tuition for junior and senior years. I won! With that, I set my sights on a summer internship in the top real estate market in the country—New York City. I’d done my resume before, but I knew it needed more punch. Enter Get What You Set, who gave a career development seminar at my school. Now, that was a shocker! I had no clue that my resume was generic and such an inaccurate picture of what I had to offer. It took me about two months of intense work with the GWYS tools—rethinking and revising—to get it right. The GWYS process gave me the insights, language and confidence to promote myself.

I got the internship of my dreams with a major real estate developer in New York. Not only did I learn the ropes from my boss, but an Asset Manager also took me under his wing and taught me tons after hours. This experience confirmed that real estate was the career for me. Even my uncle was impressed with what I learned in New York.

Knowing that I’d be competing against Ivy League grads in the job market, I ramped it up senior year. I maintained high grades and challenged my uncle to stretch my skills and imagination. I approached every guest speaker and alumnus who visited the school for advice. I served as a student representative on committees that influenced school polices. And, I applied for and won another scholarship given to the outstanding senior in the business school, which contributes towards my first year of graduate studies.

I spent winter break of senior year in NYC at the firm where I interned the previous summer, and started interviewing for post graduation jobs. I knew this firm wanted to hire me, but I needed to see what other opportunities were around. Thankfully I did because I ended up with several offers and eventually took an analyst position with a boutique real estate investment firm. In fact, I met them through an alumna of my college who was one of the guest speakers I developed a connection with. To top it off, I earned this coveted position over MBAs from Harvard and Wharton.

I believe this happened because I had a compelling story to tell. I went from an underwhelming freshman to a successful and confident student, entrepreneur and leader. I approached everything with unrelenting intensity, and refined my intellectual agility by often stepping out of my comfort zone. I capitalized on opportunities both on and off campus to learn and work hard. And, in networking and interview situations, I effectively communicated my experiences and the value I brought to the table.

Most importantly, I walked through every door, did not burn bridges and treated everyone with respect. That’s why I got a call in December from the Chairman of the firm where I interned during that summer between junior and senior year. He invited me to his office, then asked me to come back to the firm to manage a sizable real estate portfolio and source new deals. It was too good to be true!

It boils down to this: having quietly exceeded expectations and maintained relationships, I earned the opportunity to be the youngest Asset Manager to walk through the doors of one of the largest and most respected privately-held real estate companies. Not once in the process was I asked to submit a resume.

This article was written by a student who attended Get What You Set workshops on his college campus, then utilized GWYS tools and strategies to accelerate his internship and post-graduation job searches.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re interested in having GWYS come to your campus please contact robyn@getwhatyouset.com.