Ryan Khan is a career coach for Dream Careers Inc. – a California-based company that helps college graduates through networking and internships. Over 10 years, he has helped thousands of students attain internships and dream jobs in various industries, from sports to music.
He has been part of the MTV show “Hired,” where people are paired up with dream jobs.
From Los Angeles, Khan took time to offer advice, tips and tricks to make a job hunt and interview successful.
Q: How important is keeping a positive outlook while job searching?
A: “You have to keep a positive attitude or it can be very frustrating. What I think the best advice is go after companies that you’re truly qualified for. Just pick out the handful that you’re truly qualified for and do everything you can to go after those specific opportunities. One of the mistakes I see a lot is people are not getting much reaction by putting their resume out there because they are just blasting it to every job opening that’s online.”
“You’ll have a much better experience trying to go after those few positions you’re actually really fit for, you should be putting all your energy into those. What I mean by that is doing everything you can to meet people at that company, whether it’s adding them on Linkedin, Facebook or Twitter. Get connected with them.”
Q: How important is social media? If you went to apply for a job and you weren’t on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc., would that be a big problem?
A: “Yeah, you know the thing that’s so exciting about college students is they’re on the forefront of social media. They live it every day and they know it better than anyone else, that’s a really valuable tool for them to sell going into a job interview. Companies realize the importance of social media, but they’re not as good at it as you are, so you have to make sure you leverage that in your interview.”
“Everybody is going to be checking your social media. So what you have to do is clean shop by googling your name and checking out all of your social media.
“The misconception is you need to be all buttoned up on your social media – that’s not true. It’s okay if you have some pictures of you and your best friend hanging out at the pub drinking some beer. That’s fine because that makes you real, that makes you human and that’s relatable. Employees of the company, they do that, too, and they want to be around people that are real and that they could relate with. So don’t feel like you need to hide any of those photos.
“Now if you have a photo of you doing a keg stand … that’s a different story.”
Q: If you lived in Michigan and couldn’t find a job, would you get discouraged and consider migrating, or would you end up staying and toughing it out?
A: “You will have a lot better chance getting a job in a city where you actually live. If you’re considering moving to a different city to look for work, one of the most important things is what’s at the top of your resume, your name, your phone number and your address. It’s the first thing employers look at.
“Very few companies will want to hire someone coming into their city for the first time. When they say, ‘Hey will you go pick this up at the local grocery store?’ they want someone who knows exactly where that is and what they’re talking about. So if you’re migrating, then make sure you’re changing your resume heading to where you currently reside in that city.”
Q: How long should a graduate hold out for a dream job?
A: “Here’s the thing about a dream job: There’s not always a straight path right to it. You know a lot of people don’t go straight from graduating to getting that big CEO position at the record label. It takes a while to get there and sometimes it’s a windy path. The most important thing is always be traveling in the direction of your dream.
“So if you want to work in the music industry, maybe work in marketing, social media or public relations. Start building those types of experiences. Now, those aren’t specifically music, but all of those skill sets transfer into the music industry. So as soon as that job opens up in a marketing music industry position, you’re able to jump right in, because you’ve already got the marketing experience, and you’ve got the passion for music.”
Q: Resumes are a big part of being ready for success as well. What are future employers looking for in a resume?
A: “I think the most important thing employers are looking for is work experience. And by doing an internship you’re getting that work experience. On top of that, once you get into the interview, having an interesting story backs up why you’re unique and why you’re a great value to their company.”
Q: When you are in those interviews, what are some great ways to stand out and at the same time calm your nerves?
*A:*“You have to be an expert at two things. The first thing is know yourself; that means know all about your work experience, your background, what you learned in school and what your skills are. Know them perfectly, and know how to talk about yourself. You can bet in the interview they’ll be asking you a lot of questions about yourself.
“The second thing is know the company you’re going after. Know the specific position that you’re going after, know the hiring managers that you’re interviewing with. Learn as much as you can about the position, the person your interviewing with and the company, because if you know a lot about them, you’re going to be really comfortable when they ask you questions about why you want to work there and what makes you a good candidate for their company.
“You’re going to be doing interviews all your life. It’s not like it’s going to be the last interview you do, so why not spend as much time as possible to be an expert at it, and be an exceptional interviewer?”
Q: After submitting a resume, or doing an interview, is it appropriate in the professional world to do call backs from time to time, to see if you’ve either gotten the interview, or the job?
A: “I think sometimes what happens is people get a little timid about following up. Don’t worry about it – do a follow up, that’s important. Show your eagerness. I’m not saying to send an email and call everyday checking up on the status, but every week or every couple days, whatever seems appropriate for the specific position, check back in.
“One suggestion I have is always leaving an action step at the end of your conversation. For example, if you just did an interview, then end the interview by saying, ‘Hey, would it be okay if I call you next Monday to follow up?’ And of course they’re going to say, ‘Yeah, no problem, feel free to.’
“That way when you’re following up on Monday, it’s not as awkward and it doesn’t feel like you’re bugging them, because they’ve already given you permission to.”