How To Get Your Resume New York Ready

A killer resume may not be enough to get a job in New York, but it’s definitely a start. That one piece of paper will shape potential employers’ first impression of you. I recently had a chat on what makes a great resume with the fabulous Jennifer Novak, Global Head of Creative Recruiting at DDB Worldwide. Based on her experience in spotting talents in the advertising world and my own New York job-hunting struggles, I compiled some advice that will help you make a difference in the most competitive city in the world.

One resume isn’t enough

The perfect resume doesn’t exist, simply because each job that you apply to is unique, and so should be the resume you are sending along. Re-creating one for every single opportunity isn’t the point, but having a few different versions based on the type of industry, company and position you are pursuing is essential. “Your resume has to look like the job you’re applying to. Simple is always better for a corporate job, and of course you have more freedom for creative positions,” explains Jen Novak.

Know who you are and show it

Standing out is definitely the Holy Grail of building a resume. Applicants always wonder what could make theirs different from the pile sitting on employers’ desk. But the real question should probably be: what makes ME different? A resume is nothing but a reflection of your own personality and background. Whether it’s a hobby, the languages you speak, or countries you lived in, don’t be afraid to reveal who you are outside of the professional world. Even a fun fact about you can go a long way, and Jen is no stranger to this: “I will always remember this one resume of a girl who always dresses as a Saved By The Bell character on Halloween. I still check on her every year.” You never know how you will connect with people!

Don’t make it easy for people to say “no”

Setting clear goals for yourself is crucial, but you don’t want anyone to think that you are not open to more. Instead of stating an objective on top of your resume such as “Seeking a position as an branded-content manager” just describe yourself and the areas you are interested in: “Dynamic advertising professional looking for opportunities in branding.” Jen Novak speaks from experience: “If you’re too specific, I’m going to think you are not open for other positions.” If there’s something you don’t want in New York, is to miss an opportunity to meet face to face with employers. The same thing goes to the email that accompanies your resume. Instead of inquiring on a particular job that might not be open, engage your contact on a subject he or she can relate to, whether it’s learning about the company, or offering to present your work.

The more the better

Don’t be scared to over-sell yourself, you are in the city of extremes after all! One great resume can only get you so far, it’s always better to show your skills instead of just claiming them. Any professional material that showcases your talent is worth sharing: from a personal website, to a portfolio or links to articles you wrote…the extra effort will be appreciated and show your determination.

Be a part of it

Job-hunting for foreigners trying to make it in New York is stressful to say the least, so we tend to think that applying to jobs as early as possible – even prior to arriving in the City – is the way to go. Although it’s good to get the ball rolling, nothing is more efficient than being physically present, like Jen reminded me: “I’m not going to keep up with your travel schedule, if you email me while you are away, I am going to ask you to email me when you are here in New York.” Another tip for international people is to save employers’ time when it comes to visa issues: do your own research and be ready to answer any questions, so that no paperwork gets in the way of your success.

Thanks to Jennifer Novak, Global Head of Creative Recruiting at DDB Worldwide for the great tips!

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5 Things You Should Know While Visiting New York

Any foreigner takes the same pledge the day they move to the City: thou shalt show a good time to every single friend visiting you. I am no exception to the rule. I’ve definitely been missing in action for the past couple of weeks, but I have the ultimate New York reason for it: first time visitors!

In ten days, I feel like I got a complete tourist experience with my guests: I went to a Brooklyn Nets game, Motown The Musical, Top of the Rock, a Gospel mass in Harlem, and ate out every single night. If I didn’t have to work during the day, I would have felt on vacation myself.

So while it’s still fresh, I thought I’d share some “Hustler in Heels” advice with those of you planning a trip to New York:

#1 You can’t see everything

Even if you are in New York for a good amount of time, there will always be something that you are going to miss and it’s okay…just make your peace with it. Sight-seeing is one thing, but walking around the City and making random discoveries is EVERYTHING: “Oh my God, this is where Big and Carrie went on a date in Episode 5 Season 4!” Of course, some touristic spots are really worth it – I would put the Brooklyn Bridge at the top of my list – but if you spend your whole trip chasing the next attraction, you will miss the “real” New York. So instead of waiting in line for two hours at the Empire State Building, why don’t you save your time and money and go to a rooftop bar like Jimmy’s? On top of a breathtaking view, you will sip delicious cocktails and won’t be surrounded by tourists. Just a thought…

#2 Travel guide books will only get you so far

Travel guides are definitely helpful, especially when you don’t have Wifi access while you are out and about. But remember that whatever Lonely Planet or Routard suggested – it was also recommended to thousands of others. If you stick to guide books, you should expect a line everywhere you go, and not just any line…a tourist line! The only constant thing about New York is change, and a guide that is published once a year can’t really convey that dynamic. By the time it gets in your hands, that so called must-go restaurant may have changed owner, chef, or scene. The web is your best friends when it comes to picking the perfect event, brunch place or plan a fun night out. Use the same websites that New Yorkers swear by: Yelp, Time Out, or the Gothamist…and you should be good.

#3 Fast food doesn’t always equal junk food

Just because McDonald’s or Burger Kings are American doesn’t mean that they are part of the New York experience. For one thing, McDonald’s is better in Europe, I don’t know how to explain it, but every single friend who tasted it in the US confirmed it was garbage. Most importantly, New York is the ultimate city for Foodies and there are so many ways to eat cheap and fast quality food if you are on a budget or on a schedule. Whether you have a crave for bagels, burgers, dumplings, or pizza…New York can feed it to you! For a fast yet delicious meal, try Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, Mamoun’s falafels, Asia Dog, Shake Shack, or Naruto‘s authentic  ramen.

#4 Follow the New Yorkers

The presence of New Yorkers is a great indicator of the level of interest of a place. The amount of options in the City can be confusing for first time visitors, but the people of New York pretty much tested everything already, so following them can save you a lot of time and guarantee the fun. For example, The High Line might be a famous destination for tourists, but you will also find a lot of  locals in the summer time, enjoying a cold Newyorkina popsicle and catching some sun – unlike Times Square, that 99% of New Yorkers try to avoid. Don’t get me wrong, it is a must see destination despite the chaos that comes with it, but it’s not the most enjoyable area where you should hang out if you want to get a good feel of the City.

#5 Being alone in New York City is underrated

One of my theories about New York is that the best things happen when you are hanging out by yourself – or as I like to put it… WITH yourself. New Yorkers are easy to talk to and making friends with the person sitting next to you at the bar is not unusual. When you are traveling with a group, it can be difficult to experience that, so don’t be scared to step out of your comfort zone! While your friends or family are on that 2 hour walking tour, why don’t you get lost in the City? Pretty much all Manhattan is safe for anyone and you can’t actually get lost because of the way streets intersect. From start up founders to Palestinian refugees, I met the most interesting people when I was wandering around New York, because being alone allows you to be open and connected to the environment around you. It’s up to you…

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