The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Job Search | Section One: Assessment

The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Job Search | Section One: Assessment

eBook: The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Job Search

Section One: Assessment

What’s inside

A step-by-step guide to starting your job search

Helpful templates to get you started

Quotes from various industry experts

And more

Subscribe to our blog

Stay in the know for the latest career tips, tricks, and advice.

Travis B. Smith | Director of Product Design, Grubhub

Travis B. Smith | Director of Product Design, Grubhub

Travis B. Smith

“I have never had a career coach before. I have talked about my career plans with mentors, friends, and recruiters, but never anyone that was just there to help me make the best decision. I am always looking to engage with experts in their field, and this time around, it felt right to get some professional career guidance.”

Details

  

Started: Director of Product Design

Landed: Senior UX Manager, Shopify

Location: remote

Services: Career Advisory

Overview:
Travis Smith, an accomplished product design leader, came to Discover Podium in pursuit of a more fulfilling opportunity. After close to a year of selectively searching, Travis decided to engage a strategic partner in his job search.

Challenges

When Travis came to Discover Podium he was no stranger to the job-search process. He had already received a few offers that weren’t the right fit. His challenge was he was attracting attention, but it wasn’t the right kind of attention. Discover Podium helped Travis narrow down exactly what his needs and wants were so that he could more accurately target, define, and attract the right opportunity.  He was having trouble finding the trifecta of location, compensation, and fulfilling work. 

“I had been looking on and off for about eight months, the final months were the beginning of the COVID crisis, so I had a lot of questions. When I started talking to Laurel [a Career Advisor on the Discover Podium Team], I had a handful of offers that I had walked away from and was in talks with a few other companies.”

“The main issue I was having was trying to find the right balance of an interesting product, the right location, and the right comp level. After turning down a few offers, my current work situation was not getting any better. —”

Approach

Travis met with the Discover Podium team weekly for one month to review his career objectives. After several phone conversations and few emails, Discover Podium was able to guide Travis towards a career fit that met the trifecta that he was looking for. 

“First and foremost, just having an objective person to talk to was incredibly valuable to me. I spoke with my wife, friends, colleagues, parents, and kids about what I was looking for and what I wanted to do next. Each of them had their perspective, but it was hard for me to fully articulate my position with all of them. Working with Laurel allowed me to talk out what I was feeling and have someone poke holes in my approach. Getting information about what other job seekers were doing in interviews and negotiations was also helpful. That type of market-specific knowledge helped me a lot.”

Discover Podium offered an outside objective perspective and an impartial audience. We served as a sounding board through the tough decisions and guided him to ultimately make a decision that was best for him and his family. Travis also used Discover Podium to help him exit his previous position strategically and start strong in his new role.

Growth

At first glance, Travis was reluctant about the role because the title appeared to be a step back. Ultimately he realized the offered position had more growth potential and was overall more fulfilling. Thinking about his career holistically instead of singularly allowed him to take steps towards overall happiness as well as positive career growth.

“I have significantly benefited from Podium. I feel much more confident in my job search, and I was also able to get a great new gig!”

“I have already recommended the service to several friends. —”

“—You have to understand what you are trying to achieve so that you can continue to take steps in the right direction.”

“I want to add my thanks and gratitude for your work and the service you are providing people. I am very grateful that I found it. Also, thank you to Laurel for being the best!”

How Does Travis Define Fulfillment at Work?

“I define it on two levels. The first is getting to the job that you have always wanted. For me, that is leading a talented team of designers. The second is finding a job and company that fit you and your way of working. This one is trickier and also ever-changing.”

Final Testimonial

LinkedIn Recruiter Test

“The most rewarding thing about Podium was the confidence it gave me when I was talking to companies. I had more knowledge at hand and a better strategy going into these critical conversations.”

Travis B. Smith
Senior UX Manager, Shopify

The job market is an isolating, broken system. Professionals are often left to fend for themselves while employers hold all the cards. Discover Podium puts the professional back in the driver’s seat. We are your biggest cheerleaders when you need encouragement and we’re the coach that never lets you down.

Subscribe to our blog

Stay in the know for the latest career tips, tricks, and advice.

Resume Guide and Template

Resume Guide and Template

Resume Guide and Template

Land the Interview.

What’s inside

A downloadable resume template

A 4-page guided walkthrough of exactly how to use the resume

Tips for each section to maximize your efficacy

Subscribe to our blog

Stay in the know for the latest career tips, tricks, and advice.

Job Application Guide and Template

Job Application Guide and Template

Job Application Guide and Template

Stay organized and never lose track of where you’ve applied.

What’s inside

A two-page guide that explains exactly how to use the Job Application Template

Printable and online version to keep track of every application you’ve submitted.

BONUS RESUME BEST PRACTICES GUIDE INCLUDED

Subscribe to our blog

Stay in the know for the latest career tips, tricks, and advice.

Create the Perfect Cover Letter: How to Connect in 1 Page or Less

Create the Perfect Cover Letter: How to Connect in 1 Page or Less

Create the Perfect Cover Letter: How to Connect in 1 Page or Less

By Discover Podium | June 8, 2020

The cover letter has become a point of contention in the most recent decade. It can be a tricky piece of your application to get right, and there’s evidence that most hiring managers today don’t even read them. According to the 2017 edition of Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation Study, only 26% of recruiters consider the cover letter an important part of the hiring process. 

Putting it another way, though, that means that 1 in 4 people on the other side of your applications will expect a cover letter to go along with it. For the remaining 74%, a cover letter could be your chance to separate yourself from the pack. A cover letter is the best way to prepare yourself and the hiring manager for the interview process, an opportunity to describe yourself in your own terms and create the beginnings of a working relationship. 

Put simply, the best cover letters answer the question every recruiter wants to know: why are you the best person for the job?

Your Opening Address

That’s right: you haven’t even begun talking about yourself yet, and you’re already being scrutinized. How you open your letter and address the people reading it is an important part of the cover letter and is the first way to make a great first impression. 

When addressing a cover letter, you want to be as specific as possible. In an ideal world, you would address your letter directly to the hiring manager by name (“Dear Jane Doe…”). This information isn’t always readily available, so taking the time to do your research and identify the correct person to speak to shows initiative and a commitment to securing the job at hand. This is where your professional network can come in handy. Reach out to colleagues who might have connections to the company you’re applying for, or search around on LinkedIn to see if you can gather any information. 

If, after your research, you still don’t know who the hiring manager is, you can address the department of the role you’re applying for. Try to be as specific as possible.

Your Opening Paragraph

This part of your cover letter is likely the one that will change the most, depending on the position you’re applying for. The information you want to communicate includes:

^

The title of the job you’re applying for

^

The skills you have that are necessary for the role, and

^

An aspect of the job that’s interesting to you

The way you organize this information can change depending on what kind of company you’re applying for. Whether you’re applying for a job in an established, professional environment or a more casual, down-to-earth start-up, jump right in and let the hiring manager know why you’re the best fit.

The Body Paragraph

In your next paragraph, you should discuss your most recent full-time position and how that has prepared you for the role you’re applying for. The best way to do this is to pick a specific project you’ve worked on in the recent past and discuss not only the skills you used to complete it, but how the company benefited as a result. 

A good strategy is to think of a challenge you had to overcome during the process. Maybe some last-minute obstacles appeared to hamper progress, or your team came across a unique roadblock that they’d never been tested against. You have the chance in a cover letter to showcase a brief, specific example of how you approach and overcome conflict, as well as the positive results of your actions. Be detailed, but not overly so. Ideally you’re saying just enough to make the reader curious and ask further questions in an interview setting.

The Second Body Paragraph

You won’t always need this paragraph, but if you’d like to showcase another aspect of your work or leadership style, or discuss an achievement from earlier in your career, you may do so here. The same rules as the previous paragraph apply. If the job you’re applying for requires that you’re proficient in a number of tools or technologies, you can also create a brief bulleted list to draw the hiring manager’s eye and assure them that you have the basic knowledge required for the role.

The Conclusion

Your sign-off should be confident and to-the-point, briefly reiterating why you’re a good fit for the role. Thank the hiring manager for their time, and express an interest in a formal interview.  

Ultimately, the most important part of a cover letter is that you’re framing your accomplishments in a way that sounds natural to you. Certain companies may be more comfortable with casual language than others, and a good way to gauge this is by reading the job description. A company that’s asking for an “organizational ninja” might be put off if you sound too formal, and a corporate company might dismiss you if you start cracking jokes. Do as much research as you can on the company beforehand, and use the extra space the cover letter provides to let them know why you should work together. 

Remember: at its best, a cover letter is all about making a connection.