After graduating from university, I was super stressed.
I had majored in Finance but had no idea how to find a job in the field, make a stand-out resume or prepare for interviews.
I had 3 different versions of my resume - a simple one in word, one in Canva, and another using a resume builder.
This was going to be my first job out of university, but I only had internship experience to put in.
I spent hours improving the descriptions, testing new keywords and asking friends and teachers for feedback. Sometimes I even exaggerated my work experience.
And to make matters worse, I was spending hours personalising resumes and cover letter for each job. I sent over 100 job applications in a month.
The responses I got? Rejection emails. No job interviews.
My resume wasn’t telling my full story. It wasn’t a clear depiction of who I was.
I was applying for jobs at big banks and consultancies who were receiving thousands of applications every week - and to them, my resume was like a drop in the ocean.
Their resume screening tools left me out before I could even get an interview and tell my story.
That’s when I decided to switch up my strategy. Instead of going for huge organisations, I decided to go for Small Giants - companies that choose to be great instead of big.
Small Giants are companies that look beyond the standard definitions of success (like money and size) and focus on goals they consider more important.
Many of these companies don’t give a damn about an individual’s resume. They just want someone passionate about the industry, who is willing to learn the skills and perform.
For example, a Small Giant could be a crowdfunding platform that focuses on social impact campaigns - rather than crowdfunding for new product launches.
And once I realised this, things started to change..
I met the founder of StartSomeGood at a mentoring event for young entrepreneurs in Sydney. I spoke to him for two minutes and added him on LinkedIn later that day.
About a year later, StartSomeGood were hiring. I sent a personal message to the founder and two interviews later, I got the job.
Lesson - A personal connection can give you a huge advantage. Connect with founders and senior team members at companies you like early - before you need the job.
When I moved back to India in 2019, I saw a post on a Facebook group hiring for Associates at Techstars - one of the largest global startup accelerators.
I thought the job was out of my league. So, instead of applying directly on their platform I sent a cold message to the manager on LinkedIn.
To my surprise, she replied and we got on a call to chat about the role and my experience. She invited me over for an interview and asked me to prepare a presentation on a topic.
And that was it - I was offered the job a few days later. No resume, no lengthy processes, just a simple LinkedIn DM.
Lesson - Learn how to cold email and use LinkedIn. A simple DM can open doors.
And finally, how did I get my job at EntryLevel? I was writing a newsletter on learning design in 2020. Caleb, Head of Programs, was a friend of mine who read my posts.
While building EntryLevel, he invited me as a freelancer to edit the course content. This helped the company look at my work and allowed me to get a trial run on the job.
Six months later, EntryLevel was hiring. Caleb sent me the job description and I applied instantly. I was asked to do some real-life tasks and an interview later, I got the job.
Lesson - Share your passions and work online. You never know who is following your work, and what that can lead to.
While these stories don’t have a step-by-step model for you to follow, here are four things you can do now to find interesting jobs and not waste hours on applications, resumes and cover letters:
If you do these four things, you will start to find the best jobs without needing to compete against thousands of others.
So, starting with step one - what’s a Small Giant company you want to work for? Let us know 👇