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18 Sep 2018 Austin Belcak

Frank Reveals The Research Strategy That Got Him Hired At Zapier

Do you ever wish there was some sort of resource that would give you all the inside info about a company?

Something that broke down their challenges, their needs, descriptions of each role, etc.

That would basically be a cheat for job searching, right? You'd know exactly what angle to take and what value to add.

Problem is, in most cases, we only have access to a vague job description and a few answers a contact gave us on the phone.

That's where Frank comes in.

Frank was dead set on being a Customer Champion at Zapier, a startup out of Sunnyvale, CA. Instead of settling for the same information every other candidate got, he created his own process for tearing and apart and understanding a company from top to bottom.

Frank didn't just read blog posts and articles. He took it a step further, learning about the company by actually dealing with the problems he'd face day-to-day if he were hired. Here are just a few of the exercises he used:

  • ​Create a list of at least 5-10 potential support tickets based on questions you’ve seen, and answer them!
  • Create a list of 2-3 apps supported by Zapier that don’t have lots of documentation and write it out​
  • Come up with 10 ideas for tools that could speed up/improve customer support workflow​ for Zapier

By putting himself in a position to solve problems that Zapier was already dealing with, he was able to learn a ton about the company and find major ways to add value – two birds with one stone!

In today's interview, he walk us through some of the tactics he used to dissect the company and add massive value, including:

  • Finding the right people and their contact information
  • Actually performing the role before he was hired by fielding questions about Zapier that he found on Reddit and other forums (documenting the Q&A as he went)
  • Three strategies Frank used to learn everything he needed to know about the company in record time
  • How Frank spun all of this information into his interview process and a value validation project that eventually got him hired

Video Interview

Note: The video is slightly choppy due to the connection we had while recording. The audio version is crystal clear though.


Audio Interview

Full Interview Transcript

Austin: Hey, everyone, welcome back to another Cultivated Culture success story. I have Frank Leng with me here. Frank is a customer champion at Zapier, which is an incredibly cool company for me being an online business nerd. You, guys, do some crazy integrations that are incredibly helpful for the entrepreneurs out there that are using 600 million tools and trying to wrangle them all together. Frank, first of all, welcome, thanks so much for taking the time to do this.

Frank: Absolutely, I appreciate it. I'm happy to be here.

Austin: I appreciate you joining me. I am really excited about your story because you're a DJS student in the Dream Job System. You followed that system to a tee, especially with the value validation project. I love what you put together and we'll link to it below the video. I wanted to take us back because you've been at Zapier for about three months now.

I know the job search process was definitely longer and a little bit more stressful while you were going through it. I'd love to step back to the very beginning and have you tell us where you were when you started this job search that ended up at Zapier. What caused that move? Were you coming out of college, were you at another company, and were you just not happy, ready to make a move, ready to make a change? What did that look like?

Frank: I was based in Austin, Texas at the time. I had been in tech for a little bit. I've had a little bit of a random career. I've dabbled in teaching. I thought I might go to medical school which I think, Austin, maybe you had a little bit of a pre-med major before too. I ended up in tech and I was actually working at a tiny startup. I realized I was wearing a lot of hats, which I know that a lot of people do, and honestly, I still do. I wanted to work at a little bigger of a company and just something that maybe aligned my long-term career goals a little bit more.

I started looking and, as you know and probably most people that are listening to this now, it's really really hard to find a job for most people. I think for me, I like to have a process or a structure that I follow whenever I am doing something especially a big project. I came across DJS, and it really laid it out really really well for me I liked that I was going to follow it step by step. I didn't do exactly everything but the main tenets I really enjoyed and all that first philosophy so looking around and Zapier's product is really cool in my humble non-bias opinion.

Austin: Non-bias for sure.

Frank: [chuckles] Non-bias, of course. Also, I really like their culture, and their 100% remote. Everything I had read about them had been really positive. They immediately got [unintelligible 00:02:50]. That's how that started.

Austin: Awesome, I didn't realize they were 100% remote. That's interesting, maybe something we can touch on a little bit more. Take us back, DJS, for the people who are listening who aren't familiar with it, it's my flagship course. You have to be subscribed to the email list to get there. You found the site some other way, I assume, either through an article or something else that you read. What I'm really curious to know is, when you started out this job search, how were you approaching it initially before you found my site, before you found the strategies? What were some of the biggest obstacles that you were running into that had you frustrated?

Frank: I think this is not symptom but I see this a lot of different places in that with the age of the internet and all the things that we have now, there's such a plethora of stuff out there, it's really hard to wade through all the stuff. Especially stuff that's relevant to you. I don't even mean just googling stuff. Even with friends and family, I found that it's hard asking other people for advice because, one, everyone has different advice because they're a different type of person. Two, you may not have the same experience with them, you may not be going after the same job as them. I think just trying to parse out what is actually important and relevant and what fits in with your personal philosophy.

In the interview process, I definitely used a lot more [unintelligible 00:04:15] than most people would. All my friends told me not to do it, but I felt that it matched my personality and the culture at Zapier. It ended up working out, knock on wood, for me. I think it was just hard to figure out what process or what advice I really wanted to take and take action on. That was tough.

Austin: Awesome, that's one of the biggest things that I found too during my job search. Those are the people we've always gone to advice for, right? Growing up, you go to your parents or your friends or teachers. Then maybe you have a dedicated career counselor, and they're supposed to be the experts. Then you apply some of that stuff and it doesn't work and you feel like you're running on a treadmill and not getting results. I totally feel your pain there. How did you sift through all the noise then, if that was the biggest obstacle? How did you decide what was right and what was going to work? Did you apply everything and then just see what happened? Did you have a methodology for weeding out the good advice from the bad?

Frank: That's a great question. I think at the very beginning, I was trying to do a shotgun approach so whatever I heard, I was like, “I'll try that. That sounds like a good idea. That sounds like a good idea so I'll try that too.” It gets really disheartening when you do that for awhile you don't really see results. I think that was also tough too, that you could work really hard. If you work really hard on an assignment at school or on a project at work, you see reasonably quick feedback and you get validation for the work you put in.

With job hunting, it's almost part of it that you just don't hear back. You might do incredibly well, you might even get really close and provide a lot of value, but you may get a rejection, or you may not get any feedback. That is pretty tough as well. I like to work things backwards. I try to figure out, and I think you talk about this in DJS too, what is your end goal? Then even outside of that is, what is your life goal? What are you trying to move towards and what aligns with that? I think when I took a little bit of time to think about that, it became a little bit easier for me to make decisions on what advice I wanted to take action on, if that make sense.

Austin: Yes, absolutely. I know a lot of people feel the same way because there's so many different resources out there. Even if you take all friends and family and the in-person stuff out, and you just go look online, there's millions and millions of sites and everybody has a different opinion, there's guest posts and all that. Being able to cut through the noise is huge. You're in this job search, you're wading through the advice, were you applying online at first? I assume you were putting together your resume and your cover letter and firing off applications. How did that work out for you? Did you land some interviews through that? Did you hear crickets? What did that look like?

Frank: There was a lot of crickets at first because I definitely just shotgunning stuff out, not really customizing my resume. I'm still getting indeed emails I think somewhere in my inbox. It really wasn't a lot of stuff that I was hearing. It's really hard, even going through your DJS, it was really hard for me to make that shift that you really should try to make a personal connection first. I did start to see that that– I'm trying to think where it was? I realized somewhere I got a call back, or I got an email back, I realized the person that had got back to me was someone that I actually talked to in person. I was like, “Actually, it does make more sense.”

Actually, what also helped is I was recruiting for my company on my way out, trying to help them fill that position and help them build a team, and I realized as the recruiter, which I was really lucky to be, I was like, if I like someone, not that I'm trying to be biased, but I just remember that person a little bit better and more inclined to maybe look at it a little bit deeper. I was like, “Hey, that probably would work similarly for me.” That's a change shift approach.

Austin: Awesome, when you started making this shift, did you begin reaching out to people and trying to build relationships? Is that how you got started once you went through DJS and all that?

Frank: Definitely, that was really big for me. In Zapier in particular, I was really lucky because I eventually would love to do something related to product. I'd taken class and I was scouring LinkedIn and it just turns out one of my teachers knew in some way that I was living in Austin at the time that I worked for Zapier. I basically pulled out all the stops [unintelligible 00:08:54] coffee with him. Now, I'm really happy I told him that.

Going through DJS and then being pretty meticulous and honestly pretty ruthless in scaling back the amount of companies I was focusing on, was also really big because I think a lot of times it is like, “Hey, you should be applying to 10 companies a day no matter what.” That was necessarily not a good idea. It is also it's really draining. It's really hard to focus deep on a job when you do that sort of thing. I definitely changed that.

Austin: That's a great piece of advice. I think a lot of people are used to or have been told they need to be applying to 10 companies a day or something similar. To your point, it's really really hard to know the job very, very well when you're applying to that many companies. I think you throw a bunch of stuff out there and then if something hits you get a call back then you're like, “All right, shit, I need to go research this company over the next 48 hours hours and cram it all in there If you scale it back to a couple of companies maybe three to five max then you can really go deep on learning about the company, the people who are there, and you can start emailing 10 people a day instead of submitting 10 applications a day. I absolutely love that. What were some of the other companies? At the same time, was Zapier [unintelligible 00:10:22] just like you found this connection and then it took off or were you also involved with some other companies and going through the process there? What did that look like?

Frank: I think it didn't happen immediately, which I don't think it does for most people but as soon as I applied more of the DJS philosophy, I suppose. Zapier was always at the very top because I knew, for me personally, being able to work remotely was really important, knowing that there was a career path that I wanted to follow was really important, and I like having a product that's really important and that I really liked was crucial for me.

They were definitely a couple of other companies that I reached out to too, but for me, I realized that there were [inaudible 00:11:07] places that I should be looking. Angeles is really big for me because I am more into the tech field. That may not necessarily be everybody. I found that, indeed, it was tough actually for me to make that personal connection. I think LinkedIn was really, really great too. I did end up talking to a few startups, and I actually did get one or two other offers as well.

Everything happens in waves, I feel like, too. You get a week or so where you don't hear anything. You get a week [inaudible 00:11:40], “Yes, all that stuff I did five weeks ago and four weeks ago and two months ago, finally paying off for some reason.” [unintelligible 00:11:45] Wednesday, I got [inaudible 00:11:46] also, but yes-

Austin: That's too funny because I'm sure other people have seen the same thing where you go stretches with nothing and then everything, ‘when it rains, it pours' kind of deal. That's awesome. For Zapier, was that one connection like the only person that you channeled through or did you send a bunch of emails to other people too? Were you able to build some relationships outside of just that one or was that really your main funnel in the door?

Frank: The one contact I'm talking about he was really, really helpful and I really connected with him a lot. I leaned on him because I was just lucky enough that I think we had a good connection. I did reach out to a couple of other people and they were all super kind in responding as well. I think you talked about this, it's really powerful to make that personal connection that isn't related to this sort of thing.

In this particular case, I was really into the NBA. We started talking about the NBA and that is the thing that we'll even talk about now and that lends itself to as long as I don't know him too much, which I don't know if he thought that. I felt comfortable asking questions during the process [inaudible 00:13:01] as well. Yes, it was mostly him.

Austin: Before the contact you had at Zapier, you said that, when we took it all the way back, it came from a course that you took, is that correct?

Frank: I took a General Assembly course. I took a General Assembly course in Austin, and it was for product management. I ended up connecting with one of the teachers that was there. While I was scouring LinkedIn, I don't [inaudible 00:13:31] they were connections and I basically, very kindly begged for instruction. He was kind enough to do that.

Austin: I think that's huge to note because a lot of people here, not only are they struggling to land a job, but I think many people are also looking to break into something new, be it a new job title or a new industry or whatever. One of the best ways to make connections with people that isn't just like a cold email or seems transactional, is to get out there and build your skill set. I personally took a couple of courses at General Assembly.

The instructor, the teacher, they're usually guys or girls who are working at these startups like a Zapier or something similar. They have their company that they work at but then, they're also probably pretty connected within the space especially if they're willing to get up there and teach a whole bunch of people. Then not only that, but they have all these students that they teach who then probably go on to land jobs at companies or are probably working at a company.

Then you have your classmates. There's an automatic connection if you get in with them, but that also works for online courses too. A lot of these Coursera courses, you can meet the professor. You can exchange emails, or I know a couple of folks for the– Breaking Into Startups is another site that I'm close friends with the guys who founded it. They basically have– I lost my train of thought, what was- [crosstalk]

Frank: Is it Jeremy?

Austin: What's that?

Frank: Jeremy S., is it Jeremy S. like Breaking Into Startups? [unintelligible 00:15:13]

Austin: It's Artur, Timur, and Ruben, are the guys. I got my train of thought back. The couple of friends that I have who founded Breaking Into Startups, they run podcasts that, basically, talk to people who broke into tech, but they brought on a couple of folks as interns more or less. They paid them I think a couple hundred bucks a month, but those guys, one, got to build a relationship with Artur, Timur, and Ruben who are incredibly well-connected. They just had Gary Vaynerchuk on their podcast.

Now, that intern is two steps away from Gary V, which is amazing. Anybody that's in their network in Artur, Timur, and Ruben's network, now you're immediately connected to those people and you're building the skills on top of that. Even if you're not necessarily getting paid, finding somebody who is doing something cool in the industry that you're hoping to break into and just saying, “Hey, I'll help you out. I'll offer up your services, paid or free.” That's another great way to build these connections.

I love the way that you went back because the other thing people are worried about, I think, is taking these courses. They're like, “What if I try a project management course and it's not for me? Did I waste a couple thousand bucks? Did I waste 10 weeks of my time or however long it is?” They get super afraid of that happening, and they don't take action. I've personally found that I took a front-end development course there and I use a little bit of that for Cultivated Culture in the website.

By no means would I say that I've gotten $3,000 worth of stuff back from the actual knowledge, which is what it costs, but I most definitely have gotten $3,000 worth in terms of speaking opportunities at General Assembly, guest posts, people, other professors, students, et cetera. It definitely came back full circle even though a year after I took it, I was like, “Great, I never went into front-end development that was a total waste of money.” I always find that it comes back. That is awesome.

Going back to you, I'm stealing the spotlight over here. You get this connection. What was that initial conversation like? You had this person who taught the course, introduced you to somebody at Zapier, how did you frame up the conversation? Did you immediately say, “I want a job at Zapier?” Did you make it about them and talk about their career? How did you initiate that and how did you prepare for that conversation?

Frank: I do want to preface with this a lot of how I make connections with people, I'm genuinely interested in a lot of what other people do and what their passion is. I try to preface with– This isn't like I'm coming at this like, because I calculate that I'll be interested in you like a little bit. You'll be interested in me and then help me out. That's not really that when I'm going in with a mindset of. But, honestly, most of the conversation was about him and Zapier, most of it. I made it almost 0% about me.

I try to make it very minimally about me. I think it was pretty clear what I was going for. I made it pretty clear that I was interested in Zapier and was applying to Zapier. A lot of it really was, “How did your career bring you here?” Not unsimilar to the conversation that we're having now maybe, but I was genuinely interested because his background was interesting to me. Like I said, there was some personal connection because we talked a lot about basketball and such, as well.

Then at the very end, of course, I to make that ask, like, “Would you mind giving me a recommendation if you're willing to do it or a reference if you're willing to do it?” Obviously, “Thank you for your time.” I honestly learned a lot from him. There's stuff I learned from him while we were talking that very first time that I'm even using now in my job, because it was a really valuable thing that he told me. Yes, I really appreciate it. It's a favor that he's doing for me just to be able to take time out of his day to talk to me about this job. That's how I treated. I think we have a good relationship for it. Yes, I did it and I'm getting referenced. It ended up working out, that's what I was thinking.

Austin: Did you prepare at all for that conversation? Did you do some research on him? Did you prepare questions or did you just go in and wing it?

Frank: You mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk before and I think he always talks about you can't just walk into somewhere and do no research and try to get a reference or a connection with someone. I'm looking at it right now, actually. I have note after note after note in my Evernote about Zapier like literally any podcasts I could find, any article I could find, a little history about him specifically, of course, but yes, definitely did a lot of research before I showed up.

Austin: What would you say are the top couple of resources or tactics you use to research the company?

Frank: I think LinkedIn is a big one. It does depend on your company because I think maybe for startups Linkedin's a little bit less of a platform. [unintelligible 00:20:24] was really, really big, and, obviously, their company website. But if you've got a company that's a reasonable size, I think just looking, honestly, even a quick Google and looking to see if there's blog posts that are featuring them or there's articles all over the place. I like one of the pointers you have in DJS is set up a google alert, and I still have that coming in for Zapier as well. That's just a good way to like keep the pulse on things.

Austin: Awesome, sweet, you have this conversation, you get the referral and now you enter the interview process. Tell me a little bit about what you did to get ready for the interview process. I assume at this point you hadn't created your value validation project yet, right?

Frank: I had not, but I did try to approach it like that. We talked a little bit before about working backwards, I really enjoyed that. I, basically, copy-pasted their job description and every single bullet point that they had, this might be going a little overboard, but it's just how I do it. I copy pasted it into every note that I have and actually looking at right now and under every single bullet point I wrote down a brainstorm like what are ways that I can show value, and the fact that I can do X thing for them. I listed that a bunch of times. It's almost like writing an essay, Zapier has a little bit of a different process in that they actually have a written essay application portion before you actually get to an in person.

I listed all that out and then I slept on it, came back, revised it, did it probably four or five times to probably something polished that I knew I could go through. I think that lent itself to when you are really prepared, I feel like I'm a little bit less nervous and more things come up, and I think that helped, not only my Zapier interview but honestly every interview that I had after that was really nice to do because I had to flesh out exactly what it is. I think it just does that too, really, where it's like you flesh out your goals, you flesh out your elevator pitch, all that stuff. That way when an opportunity does come up, you're ready. You don't have to think about it.

Austin: Definitely, and the project that you put together was awesome. I think that you said going overboard, but the more detailed you can get, and the more value you can add the better because that's really what they're looking for. In terms of the interview itself, how did you go about preparing? Did you do anything specific? Were there any strategies or tactics that you found really, really helpful? How did you just get to a point of being as comfortable as you could be when you stepped up to the plate, walked in the room and had the conversation?

Frank: I think one thing because I had made a good connection with the person who referred me. I definitely reached out and said, hey, if you have any advice, I'd love to hear it. Here's the things that I'm thinking, showing him that I had also done the groundwork before I was asking. I think the other thing is I'm just going to give away your entire DJS system by the way-

Austin: That's good.

Frank: -on Glassdloor. I think you mentioned it, but I went on Glassdloor and you can, a lot of people, especially if it's a company of any size as will say, hey, here's some interview questions that I had. Here are things that they asked about, here's things you should expect. So I looked there as well. Honestly, anywhere I could find interview questions for past interviews I was looking for too, and I made sure that I had every one of those.

It's a different Evernote that I have. It's going to be an Evernote pitch at the end of this, but, basically, I have answers for each one that I also wrote as well. Then in practice, I think that's huge. I must've gone through having my girlfriend and my friends and my cousin all ask me interview questions. I think like sports if I practice it over and over again and it becomes the same thing, when I show up the day of it definitely helped. I was still nervous, don't get me wrong, but it helped.

Austin: Definitely, and that's the number one thing because when you get nervous you kick into your habits. I think we've all experienced that. Whether it's giving a presentation in front of your class in college or in front of a 100 person room, we've all had that moment where our mind goes blank and then you're like, oh crap, and that's when we revert back to the habits and if you get these answers down to the point where they're almost habitual, where you can just recite them in your sleep, then regardless, you still the butterflies, you'll still have the sweaty palms and all that, but as soon as you get the first couple of words out, then the habit kicks in and your brain just spews out the rest and you're good to go.

Did you have a specific regimen for practicing or did you just every day you're like, I'm going to go ahead and go through these or did you do like five different answers a day? How, how did you frame that up?

Frank: I wish I had a better answer for you. I didn't really have a regimen, but it was trying to go through all the questions every day in general. I think it was, basically, just every day at least take a look at the answers. Even if I didn't have someone, I'd just say it out loud. If you don't have someone next to you, I think you're recording it listen to yourself because you sound very, very different than maybe what you think you sound like, I feel like. It's good to be able to see yourself and hear yourself talk because that's how somebody else is hearing you as well.

It's funny, I think, also that regimen. I was just talking to my cousin, and my cousin actually just got a job in nursing, and it's a very, very different field than what I am in, but we talked about DJS because he's talking to me about interviews and such. We got to talking, and I think a lot of it also is while you may be nervous on the interview, being able to make a lot of your answers a habit or maybe even memorizing a lot of the stuff that you can memorize, reduces a lot of the mental load that you have in the interview, especially if they ask you really challenging question, maybe that you have to use your brain power for.

He gave me a little bit of push back. I was like, “Why should I practice all these answers over and over again?” I'd say, “Well, if they ask you a tough question, you don't want a part of your brain working on trying to just remember all the things you were trying to remember for this. You want that to be just already set, you want to be able to fully focus, and be able to react on however the interview goes.

Austin: I think you just quoted the course verbatim. I love it. That's an exact philosophy around it. If you're trying to make up answers on the spot to the basic stuff, if they throw a curve ball your way in your head you've of been rehearsing the answer, and then now you have to stop, pivot and start thinking about something else, but now there's awkward silence and then you start rambling and that's when things get dicey. That's absolutely one of the biggest advantages to rehearsing beforehand.

It seems tedious, right? You're like, okay, I've rehearsed this answer 15 times, but rehearse it 15 more times, as many times as many reps as you can get in. It's like lifting weights in the gym. It's all about volume. The more volume you can get in, the better your performance will be at the end of the day. So that's awesome. You're prepared for these interviews. I'd love to hear a little bit more about how you put together this value validation project. You had what amounts to, you called it an essay, more like a blog post.

You did it in Google Doc and you copied and pasted in the job description you went through for each bullet and you basically wrote out where you could add value for those things. Did you research the problems they were having at all, and try to include that? Then also, how did you relate your experience? Because a lot of people could say like, all right, they're looking for somebody to drive results and you could be like, yes, I drove results in my last job. But it's more effective if you're saying, yes, I drove X number of results by doing X, Y, and Z. How did you translate your past experience into something on paper that was compelling? Then also, how did you research and set this whole thing up?

Frank: I will be totally frank. I'm not sure how many people actually saw the value-added project, but what I will say is, I'll have to ask them, but even if they didn't see it, I also think that it helps flesh out a lot of your answers, and it really forces you to think about what's important, and what your impression is going to be towards that company. Again, Zapier is a little bit different in that they actually require an application very upfront. So that forced me to actually write a lot of this stuff out. But, honestly, I think every interview I was asking for, what are you looking for? What problem are you solving because you're, obviously, hiring for some sort of problem, right?

You don't hire unless you need more people for something to go after. I was pretty mindful about asking what are challenges you are facing? Again, another DJS giveaway. But also, I mentioned before that I listed all of the different bullet points for the job description and wrote things that I did under it. I did know– I'm trying to remember if it was based on research or asking someone, but in the, in the process of gathering information, I realized that some of the things that you do, for us it's like we help people through email, we will write up some documentation, and so I honestly just took pieces of that once, well, if day-to-day I'll be doing this, week-to-week I'll be doing this, why don't I just do it before I even get the job. I did a lot of that stuff on my own and then ended up submitting a sample. That's how I decided what value validation projects and how I went about it.

Austin: Awesome and you handled it perfectly. I think the mentality that a lot of people take upfront is that they don't want to do that kind of thing. They don't want to do the job before they have the job, because you should be paid for your work and what if the company steals it. I understand why they think that but also my counterpoint is you could also do that and get this job and you'll get X more dollars and you'll get out of this situation. What's more worthwhile? Putting together this project that shows your value or applying to 15 more jobs online when you haven't heard back from the last 15?

It is an occupational hazard, but I would say that most of the success stories that I've heard from the people I've talked to a lot of them revolve around figuring out a way to basically do the job before they have it. In your case, figuring out how do I clearly communicate and answer a question that I'm fielding. There's a whole bunch of different ways to do that whether it's taking screenshots of past communications or coming up with a sample prompt maybe that you learned from your contact or something and then walking people through how you would handle that.

For sales I know a lot of people have just gone out and generated leads without working for the company and then brought the list of leads into the interview. A lot of people will say [unintelligible 00:31:49] I don't know what their biggest challenge is. If you don't know exactly, think about what you would do if you get hired and then go out and do that and say, “Here is what I did and here are the results.” You did that to a tee. Your medium was the Google Doc. I like to put together decks. Everybody's different but I do like to share the mediums that people use to give folks out there an idea of what's available and maybe give them some inspiration. That is awesome.

You, basically, took the DJS System and you molded it to your situation and you got the results, so you ended up with the offer. I assume you’re loving it so far. The remote work is great. What would be, in closing, you shared a lot of awesome info, what would be your number one piece of advice to people who are listening to this, who are basically where you were when you started? They're trying to take all this advice and distill it down to what matters and they're applying online and they're not hearing back. What would you recommend to them?

Frank: I would recommend, again, everyone's knowledge may vary of course depending on your industry or every company that it is. I would recommend taking really seriously thinking about what you want truly. I don't, I like that about DJS because I think that aligns with what I think about just life in general not just for jobs. I think that your day-to-day should align with what you want long-term. I think that part is really, really important and maybe not as obvious as some of the other stuff that maybe that's out there. You can always improve your resume.

There are great tips for it and there are different types of resumes you can put out that are all really great, cover letters, how you reach out to people. There's different nuances how you might do that. If you don't know truly what you want as far as in a job or what you want in your career, that makes it really tough for you to be passionate about going after [unintelligible 00:33:51] and if you're not that then it becomes a real, real grind. It'll probably be a grind no matter what. I think that part is really important just knowing what your priorities are and that'll shape a lot of the things that you do. I did something else but I also lost my train of thought. There is one other thing. I can't remember it.

Austin: I’ll give you a second to come up with it. But just to follow up on what you said, I think a lot of people don't know exactly what they want right off the bat, so my best piece of advice, and I think you nailed it with what you said, I just want to reiterate, that your day-to-day should reflect what you want long-term. So rather than thinking about what job title am I passionate about or am I meant to do, instead think about what do I want my life to look like five years from now? Do I want to be working at a company that's 100% remote? Do I want to be making X number of dollars? Or do I want to be in an office surrounded by people who I can make friends with and interact with every day?

Think about that stuff. How much time do I want to spend with my kids? What does my commute look like? All that and then take it back from there. If you want to end up being a world-famous fashion designer your next job should be one step closer to that. Whatever skills you need to build just figure out what the next obvious step is and then climb that rung and then next you'll climb the next rung, et cetera, et cetera until you get there.

Or if you want to be CEO of a tech company maybe you take a role that gets you there as well. Rather than thinking what am I passionate it about now or what should I be passionate it about, it's much easier to think what do I want my life to look like and then mold your career to that. I think that's great advice. Did you remember number two?

Frank: Yes, I think so. I think the other thing is really important. I think everyone, including myself, would be surprised to learn how much people are willing to help you. I think you have to do it in a good way. Don't [unintelligible 00:35:54] don't like, “Hey I'm getting this job.” That's really spammy and not cool at all. But if you're good about it and you genuinely show interest and you can provide value I think you'd be surprised how many people are willing to help. I think you're a great example of this, Austin, your personal story.

I think it was two days before I wanted to turn in my value validation project I emailed you're frantically like, “Hey, can I get some feedback and some [unintelligible 00:36:20] from someone that I really trust and you did get back to me and I appreciate that very much. But, again, a lot of people I've even [unintelligible 00:36:29] LinkedIn message which I don't know that I’ve checked my LinkedIn for the last like week or so.

But I was surprised, many people got back to me and said, “Hey, I'd be happy to chat,” or, “Here's what I think about this,” or “Here's some advice,” from someone that you've never met before. I think, you're going to get some people who'll ignore you or maybe turn you down but that's also part of life. It's totally okay. People are busy too but I think a numbers game at the end of it. If you're willing to reach out to people over and over again so many different people, there will definitely be people that are willing to talk to you and help you out. I think that's the other maybe piece of advice that I have.

Austin: That's it, that's one of the best pieces of advice out there. I think the hardest part about the system is sending the first few emails, just like jumping off the cliff. Because once you send a few and if you're using the email trackers and you're seeing that people are opening them and then some people respond, as soon as you get that first response, in my opinion, you're golden. You're like, “Oh, this can work,” and then you feel comfortable.

That is a fantastic piece of advice and I think that's the best next step for anybody listening, try and take a second, figure out what you want your life to look like five years from now not just career-wise but in general and then work your way back to the next logical step. Then find five people who are already in that next logical step and just send them an email. Just jump off the cliff and do it. Awesome, Frank, thank you so much for sharing all the wisdom, for stopping by today and we will talk to you again very soon.

Frank: Awesome, thanks, Austin. Appreciate it.

Austin: Take care.

Austin Belcak

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, and without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.



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