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How These Gen Zers Used Social Media To Land Jobs At Google, Microsoft, And NASA

Written by: Snježana “Ana” Billian, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

When you’re on a job hunt, you’ll often hear that landing your dream job starts with making your resume stand out in the sea of job applications. But what if you don’t have the best technical skills and a degree from Harvard?

I had the pleasure of interviewing three job seekers from Generation Z—born during the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s—without a traditional background who recently landed jobs at Google, Microsoft, and NASA.


Here are their best tips on how you can land your dream job, too, without even applying online:


1. Understand the networking game

Research shows that up to 80% of jobs are filled through professional and personal connections. Stephanie Nuesi, a LinkedIn influencer who recently landed a job at Google, knows this fact very well.


“Even before the application launch, I was already networking and meeting people from the firm. The application itself is not the first step; you need to do a lot of work before applying. Especially if you’re a nontraditional candidate like me—I came from another country five years ago, and I don’t have a technical background,” Nuesi explained.


Gary Pierre, an intern at NASA, applied a similar strategy. “I focused on networking because I was not coming from a space industry background. Through LinkedIn, I connected with an amazing guy who was working at NASA and who shared his story with me. We had a lot in common, and our virtual relationship soon evolved into a friendship. His story inspired me to apply as well, and I started reaching out to other people. That’s how I got my internship.”


One mistake many people make during the networking stage is to ask for a referral right away. “Get to know that person before you ask for a referral, and always add value,” Nuesi suggested. “I’m just wondering how many job seekers took the time to ask the professionals they are networking with how they felt while working during the pandemic. For many people, it took an emotional toll on them. When you show that you care, it’s those small details that make a difference.”

2. Turn rejections into your fuel for growth


Rejection is an integral part of the job search game, but that doesn’t make it easy to handle. Ami Patel received three rejections from Microsoft before landing her dream job as a company product manager. Although the job search process took an emotional toll on her, Patel decided to use the rejections she received as fuel to grow stronger.


“When I share my story about how I got into Microsoft, it may seem like I got in easily, but there’s a lot of work behind the scenes,” Patel said. “When I was preparing for the first interview, I bought an interview book and did a small mock interview, and I thought it would be enough.” When she received her first rejection, she realized it wasn’t.


“I realized that I needed to change something about myself. There’s a reason why the opportunities haven’t worked out for meI hadn’t put enough time into preparation. After I got rejected, I decided to write down all the questions they asked me about the product life cycle, and I studied them thoroughly. On top of that, I conducted mock interviews with random people, asking them to roast me, no matter how cringing. I asked others for hard criticism on what they thought was lacking in my resume. With each feedback, I noticed my confidence level go up. Even if I got rejected again, I would know I did my best.”


When she got her chance to interview with Microsoft again, Patel felt more enthusiastic, excited, and confident. “These were all the aspects I lacked the first time I went in,” she recalled, “and this time, I was more confident about my abilities, and I think that’s what changed the game.”


Nuesi added: “When I reached out to people at Google to connect with me, I got many noes, and sometimes I didn’t get a response at all. Eventually, I found people who wanted to do those calls with me, and I learned a lot from their experience. Many employees who currently work at the company that you want to work for were rejected by that same company a couple of times before they got a job offer. It’s just a matter of being persistent and consistent.”


3. Build your brand


Nuesi has been active on LinkedIn for less than two years, and within this time, she grew her audience from 3,000 to over 60,000 engaged followers. “Your brand is one of the most important things you have. No matter what company you work for, no matter what role you are in, your brand and reputation will follow you everywhere you go,” Nuesi said.


“Recruiters and hiring managers are on LinkedIn. To get more visibility, start creating content about your story and expertise. Creating content on social media platforms helps you gain visibility. It’s is a long-term investment that pays off big time,” she added.


A strong personal brand will not only help you land the job you want, but it will also help you stand out in your role once you’re hired. When Patel took on an internship at Splunk, she decided to build her brand on LinkedIn by posting weekly reflections on her internship experience. She soon built a community of students who were following her content. “As a student myself, I was very relatable,” Patel said.


Patel didn’t only inspire other students. Her mentor at Splunk was impressed when she noticed how much engagement Patel’s content was receiving. “But it didn’t stop there,” Patel recalled. Her readiness to put herself out there inspired her mentor to enroll in a stretch assignment at work—she signed up to be a speaker at an important company event. “I signed up for this because I was inspired by you doing all of this on LinkedIn. I wouldn’t normally do this, but I thought I should do the same and put myself out there,” she had told Patel.

4. Give back to others


“I learned about LinkedIn networking strategies from Jonathan Javier, the CEO of Wonsulting,” Pierre, the intern at NASA, said. “I wanted to give back, and so I reached out to him to become a mentor for Wonsulting. I’ve gone through what other people are going through right now, and I want to help.”


Pierre is also on the Board of Advisors of Second Serve, a youth organization that uses sports as a tool to get children out of poverty. “I want to make sure that while I’m following my dream, I help others realize their dreams too,” Pierre explained.


To him, a fulfilling career means having a positive impact on other people’s lives. “I don’t want to plan my future by sticking to titles and companies,” he said. “I don’t want to say: In five years from now, I’m going be the finance guy working at company X. COVID taught us that we can’t always plan what the future brings. I understand that in the future, many things can change for me. Whatever happens, I’ll make sure that I’m in a role that has a positive impact on people’s lives.”


Like Pierre, Patel and Nuesi give back by being active mentors to job seekers and sharing their experience and career advice on LinkedIn. “When COVID hit, there were many people out there who needed career guidance,” Nuesi said.

“I would do a LinkedIn live series every single month with five to twenty professional recruiters from top companies. We were showing all those job seekers what they needed to do to get a job. Helping people realize their potential is one of the most satisfying things I have done and one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken.”

For more information, visit my website and connect with me on LinkedIn and Instagram.


 

Snjezana Ana Billian, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Snježana Ana Billian is a career coach and the founder of Workmazing, an online career platform for people looking to create a meaningful career.

Workmazing's vlog and online summits are devoted to sharing thought-provoking interviews with authorities in the field of career, leadership, and happiness at work.

Ana is the co-author of the bestseller "Inspired By The Passion Test – The 1 Tool For Discovering Your Passion And Purpose."

She was featured in Business Insider, Thrive Global, Brainz Magazine, and other media outlets.

In the past decade, Ana has led numerous human resources programs for large-sized multinational corporations, helping executives and high-potential professionals step into more prominent roles.

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