3 Entry-Level Tips and a Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

Over the past few months, there has been many questions from individuals who are thinking of joining the real estate field. The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories and a Licensed Real Estate Advisor, Leah Azizian has created a short guide and provided 3 entry-level tips for job seekers to consider below.


Leah’s 3 Entry Level Tips

  1. Consider whether you want to join the Residential field or the Commercial field.
    In a nutshell, the Residential route tends to be a lot more emotional based. There’s a lot more hand holding involved, so you’re helping people find their homes. You really need to put yourself in their shoes and understand their current living situation, and it’s a totally different ballpark.
    Commercial, on the other hand, you’re working with investors or you’re generally working with clients who are usually focused on the PRACTICALITY of a space and on the level of return that they will be achieving.
  2. Do a lot of research on the firms and brokerages that you want to join. Keep in mind that when you’re going on those interviews, you are learning from them as much as they are learning from you. So be sure to ask the right questions.
    You really want to be able to understand the level of training that they will be offering, you want to understand the culture of the company, and you want to understand what they will expect from you.
    Sometimes, they expect certain GCIs (Gross Commission Income) to be met, so keep that in mind.
  3. Whether you are a beginner agent or a seasoned agent, you might understand this. Think about whether you want to be an independent agent or if you want to join a team. There’s a lot to learn from both ends.
    Generally, when you are joining a team, you’re really shadowing experienced agents more and you’re helping them more just with the efficiency of their day, but you’re also learning a ton.
    As an independent agent, it’s a lot more hands on and initiative involved. There are a lot more mistakes you’ll likely incur, but there will be a lot more that you will be learning from.
    There are pluses to both, but if you can find a brokerage that incorporates both elements, and where you could lean towards both sides, and join a team that offers both – even better.

Leah’s Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

1. Complete 72 Hours at a NYS Real Estate School – Do some research and look into different real estate schools nearby that you can attend. Schools usually offer in-person classes and online classes. Personally, the difference I experienced was that it was difficult to grasp the information during the online classes. The online instructors placed a lot of information on the slides and it was also not copy & paste-able, so a lot of time was spent typing notes from the slides and it wasn’t clear what was key information. But again, this was just my experience…

2. Take your School & State Exams – The rule of thumb is that the school exam will generally be more difficult than the state. The school does this in order to prep you for the state exam. In New York State, the passing measurement is 70% on the exam.

3. Associate with a Brokerage – Just as in step 1, it’s important that you do your research, interview, and speak to agents at different firms. The way I see it, there are usually two routes that an agent can take:

  • Option 1: Associate as an “Independent Agent” – which means starting off essentially on your own, building and relying on your own network, and taking on all essential tasks solo.
  • Option 2: Join a team that is already established and/or form a partnership with another agent you trust. Joining a team that is already established allows you to lean the ropes of the game and rely on a more developed network and steady cash flow. People tend to underestimate how much activity is involved with being a real estate agent. You are the CEO of your business; you are responsible for all tasks from marketing to creating your newsletter to growing your clientele to answering all emails to attending viewings, pitches, meetings etc. Having a team or forming a partnership with another agent, will allow you to juggle more and be more efficient.

Questions to keep in mind when interviewing with different brokerages, or teams:

1. What is the brokerage’s goals in the next year and 5-10 years? How is the brokerage planning to grow? This will help you get a better understanding of the company mission, and whether there is any potential opportunity for you to be directly involved in the company’s growth (this last part is for the overachievers & ambitious ones out there).

2. If interviewing a specific team, what role do they expect you take on when joining the team? What kind of schedules or systems do they have in place as a team to keep themselves organized and productive? What can you expect to learn most from joining the team?

3. As an independent agent, who will you be reporting to (who is your floor manager)? And, how often will you be touching base with them? 

4. As an independent agent, does the brokerage have any expectations from you as to what to produce in gross sales volume?

5. What resources does the brokerage or team offer to its agents; in terms of agent training, tech support, or marketing? (For new agents, understanding what type of training you can expect will be valuable when choosing a brokerage).

6. Does the brokerage or team supply client leads to its agents?

7. What is the commission split? (It’s important to understand this for leads provided by the firm v. leads closed from an agent’s network)

8. Are there any fees that you will be expected to pay (such as, desk fees, technical support, transactional fees)?


Personal Tip:

I can’t stress enough that if you’re thinking to joining the industry for a quick buck, think again. 

Being in the real estate field requires a lot of patience, hard work and hustle. Believe me when I say that clients will easily recognize if you’re in this to make your commission, or in it to genuinely help in their investment. NY has the most dense population of real estate agents, and it’s so easy to filter out which are in it for the long run and which aren’t.

I also get a lot of questions from people who aspire to be developers, investors, or “flippers”. In this case, I always suggest working for the person who holds the position you desire. If your goal is to become a developer, reach out to a development firm and see what they need help with (as an internship or volunteer work). While it isn’t a bad idea to become a salesperson and understand the buy/sell process, I believe you will learn a lot more in the field that you are specifically looking to be in. 


Hopefully, the tips that Leah has provided were helpful to readers who are considering to enter the field or are intrigued to learn more about the field. If you have any other questions or would like to speak more about what it’s like to be in the field, reach out to Leah at lazizian@lgfairmont.com or connect with Leah on LinkedIn.

The Lantern House | 4 Stories Development

The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories, the Marketing and Consulting Division for New Developments at LG Fairmont, Leah Azizian speaks about The Lantern House, “an exquisite project in West Chelsea that was developed by Related Companies. The Architect on the project was Heatherwick Studio & the Interior Designers (also British Influence) were March and White Design.”

Data used in this video is from MarketProof New Developments

Now what I love about Heatherwick Studios’ vision here is that he was inspired by the big windows in the Victorian homes in the UK. So he wanted to create a project that essentially when you are standing by the windows, you almost feel as if you’re immersed in the city and in the skyline of New York City.

Last week, we spoke about 124 West 16th Street – which is another project in Chelsea that managed to sell out in one year. This week, we’re going to speak about the Lantern House.

Since July of 2020, they’ve managed to put over 40 units into contract. Keep in mind that Chelsea is a neighborhood that’s extremely congested. There is over 750 units available amongst new developments for sale, and over 580 units in just West Chelsea alone. So let’s dive into what makes this project stand out from them all.

Tell me the specs…

The Lantern House is a 2 tower project that’s comprised of 180 units – mostly of one bedrooms and two bedrooms. The one beds are starting at $1.4 million, the 2 bedrooms are starting at right under $2 and a half million, and there’s an average offering price per square foot of right under $2,750.

What’s so awesome about The Lantern House is that the 2 towers actually connect right underneath the High Line, which is an area that’s been seeing a ton of development in the past few years and a lot more to come.

Another awesome feature about The Lantern House is that they offer purchasers the choice between a darker finish and a lighter finish.

Finishing thoughts …

Overall, The Lantern House has a handful of unique qualities that really stands out from them all. The first being the facade. It leads us to question, “Should we be seeing more projects being built with unique facades in the years to come?” and also, “Should buyers have more of a hand in their finishes and more of a choice in what’s going to be installed in their home?”


If you have any questions for Leah regarding New Developments, learning more about the real estate field, or even working in the real estate field, please reach out to her via LinkedIn or lazizian@lgfairmont.com!
LG Fairmont is hiring a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson and if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, then you may be the ideal candidate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

New Development Spotlight of the Week – featuring MarketProof Data

According to the Head of Business Development at 4 Stories, the Marketing and Consulting Division for New Developments at LG Fairmont, Leah Azizian states that “there were only a handful of projects that saw major success. And, one of these projects was 124 W 16th Street in Chelsea.” Watch her video more below to learn more about this project.

Data used in this video is from MarketProof New Developments

124 West 16th Street is a 15-unit, 11 story building that was officially launched in February of 2020 – exactly one year ago. And just this past month, they sold out on all their units. Twelve months! Keep in mind, we went through a pandemic where from March through June, they weren’t able to do in person showings. They managed to sell out their building completely.

Why is this so remarkable?

Almost every feature about it was kind of rooting it against itself. The developers bought it in 2012. They acquired from the church which is right next door, which they ended up actually building above. But they bought it in 2012. I’m sure it wasn’t their intention to launch a building during the year of 2020, and when you look at the building specifically, you’ll find that the majority of the 15 units… 9 of the 15 units are 4 bedrooms or more. Square footages were starting at 1,500 square feet. The average selling price according to MarketProof was over $2,600, with the average price of $5.8 million, so this takes a very specific buyer. And usually in buildings like this where they’re luxury buildings – especially boutique buildings, we see a lot of international buyers flooding the gates and acquiring these properties. But considering that we weren’t able to have these type of buyers coming in, it’s so incredible to see that regardless, they were able to sell out completely in one year.

So how did they do it?

Every single one of these units have these gorgeous, great rooms with fireplaces. Every single one of the units featured private outdoor space, no more than two homes on every floor share a private elevator landing. They couldn’t have launched this building in a more perfect time. They launched a building that checked off the boxes of every single buyer during COVID. And because of that, they were incredibly successful with their launch.


If you have any questions for Leah regarding New Developments, learning more about the real estate field, or even working in the real estate field, please reach out to her via LinkedIn or lazizian@lgfairmont.com!
LG Fairmont is hiring a Real Estate Salesperson and if you have an entrepreneurial mindset, then you may be the ideal candidate. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

3 Follow Up Email Templates to Send After Job Interviews (by Recruiter, Lee Ann Chan)

“What’s the best way to follow up with an employer after a job interview?” Recruiters like Lee Ann Chan and I personally receive this question a lot from job seekers that we coach and place, and according to Lee Ann, “most candidates don’t want to come off as desperate or annoying (their words, not mine!) but they also don’t know the best way to approach employers for their interview updates.”

Below are the recommended follow-up emails and templates from Lee Ann to use when you want to check on your status and keep establishing a professional presence.

Effective Virtual Interviewing (Spectrum Edition)

Image via Charter

During the interview process, there are many ideal competencies and traits that Spectrum is looking for. Spectrum likes their employees to be great communicators, problem solvers, adaptable, detail-oriented among others, enthusiastic efficient and don’t forget – technologically savvy! These are what make a successful employee at Spectrum.

Spectrum’s Talent Acquisition Senior Recruiter of 15 years in the Greater NYC area speaks and shares his 9 tips in this article to job seekers.


When preparing for that interview, a hiring manager typically reaches out to Talent Acquisition and asks to schedule an interview. In most cases nowadays since 2020, that interview will most likely be virtual instead of being in person. This scenario is becoming increasingly more common. Nearly 75% of executives use real time video to interview their leading candidates and 50% of them leverage it to narrow down their applicants. The process enables employers to open up their talent pool to interview candidates who live all around the globe, and not just the ones who live down the street. It also cuts down on traveling expenses.

So with that virtual interview or video interview, well it’s a normal job interview that leverages video technology where a lot of conversations take place remotely. So rather than meeting face to face, the manager and the candidate are going to connect with each other online using video softwares. The tools typically required for these types of meetings involves a computer, a built-in external/internal video/camera and a microphone, a reliable internet connection (try not to do it wirelessly because most of the time that won’t work very well), and headphones if desired.

So generally a video interview follows the style of a traditional in-person interview. Here’s going to be a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  • For perspective employee, try to make that pitch by a video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangout. It may be a bit daunting, especially if you are not accustomed to it.

I will give you 9 virtual interviewing tips to reduce the stress, aid in helping you stand out of the crowd, and in the end hopefully help you land a job – whether that is with Spectrum or with another company, these tips still work.


1. Test your technology. The minute you agree to a virtual interview, you need to ensure that you test your technology and ensure that you are set up for success. You want to also check your internet connectivity, you’re going to confirm that your camera and microphone is working. If the picture is blurry or you’re experiencing an echo, you might need to buy a different webcam, you might need to not use the computer’s built-in microphone – but use the speaker phone instead or a separate phone. So this is going to be hard to do 5 minutes before so you don’t want to wait until the day of the interview to figure it out. Most computers these days will allow you to use the audio and video connection. Some of them, will have a choice of using just one single device for this video and the audio. But when you have the option to use separate devices, that is the option you ought to take (one phone for the video portion and one phone for the audio portion – like a phone, laptop or tablet).

Of course in some instances, you are able to just only use that one single device but that’s only going to work if everybody is on the same network – for example, if you are doing internal interviews. But when everyone is on separate networks, the best practice is ensuring you don’t lose the connection altogether – if you prefer to use separate devices.

Here’s a note to keep in mind. On the day of your virtual interview, you will also want to test your internet connection again even though you tested it a few days before. Make sure you do it on the morning of.

Being technologically savvy is one of the 10 traits that employers are going to look for. If you come onto the virtual interview fumbling around with your audio or your lighting during the call, you’re giving the hiring manager a reason to question if you’re the right candidate for the job. Make sure you do not only test it beforehand, but on the day of, you’re going to test it again.


2. Be aware of the surroundings. You’re going to set the scene, minimize the amount of distractions while testing your technology, determines where the interview is going to take place. You want to find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window or a wall. Somehow, you’ll be able to guarantee that you are the focal point of the conversation. So the best practice in relation to lighting is to simply set up a bright light that is focused on your face. This should at least as bright as or be brighter than the background behind you. Therefore, this will help you and your personality stand out. It will minimize the background. Also, if you are using window lights as the light changes, because sometimes it gets very bright and sometimes it gets very dark – where in some cases it will cause your camera to start struggling and it will become a distraction to the interviewer instead of the help you thought it might be. Choose the lamp effectively.

Whether you sit on your living room couch or home office, be sure to tidy up your surroundings. It is hard to convince the employers that you are detail-oriented or you are organized, when they are looking behind you and they visibly see papers all over your desk. This might sound remedial, but trust me – as a recruiter, we see this all the time. You need to think, sit in front of your computer and look at yourself and behind you – what the hiring manager will be seeing in the background.

Once you have all of that settled, you are going to want to limit your distractions. This means turning off the TV, turning off the stereo, closing any nearby windows just so you can muffle traffic and neighborhood noise.


3. Sit down and be prepared to engage. Just because you’re in front of a computer, doesn’t mean you can search the web for answers in a middle of an interview OR avoid to start clicking around when a hiring manager asks you a question. So you want to appear focused and ready to answer the question without the help of the internet. No one wants to think that you are cheating on your answers. Trust me, it happens.

You want to do your research on the company ahead of time before you sit down. Print out a copy of your resume and have it near by so you don’t get the key talking points that you want to bring up. However, as with any interview, you’re going to come prepared with answers to any coming questions. This isn’t particularly an interviewing conference call, but there are some that you are going to know how to answer. For example, “why are you interested in the role?”, “what do you know about the company that you are interviewing with?”, “what do you consider your greatest weakness?”, “what do you consider your greatest professional achievement?”, “tell me about some of your challenges and how you dealt with them”, “what are you looking for in a new role and why are leaving your current role?”

The key here is, you want to avoid memorizing each response. That’s not engaging. You don’t want to over rehearse. Instead, write some high level thoughts down on a post-it and stick it to your computer. So being aware of how far your eyes are moving from the screen, because if your notes are far away, it will appear that you are searching for your answers and reading them instead of engaging in that dialogue.Note that you don’t want your notes resting on your lap or from a place where you want to look far away from the screen. In that case, it is going to come quite apparent that every time you are answering a question, you are looking away from your interviewer for an answer. Of course, that is not a good plan.

You want to come prepared and engaged. And how do you engage? You will do that by practicing our next tip below.


4. You have to come mentally thinking about this being a “dialog”, not something that is memorized. So you are going to have to practice. Practice on your dialog that you will have with your interviewer. Don’t focus on trying to memorize all of your anticipated responses. You’re not going to get all of your questions asked anyway. When you have an interview, you want to have a good conversation. Not rehearsing the points that you memorized, because you are going to sound like a robot throughout the interview, whether you are answering, asking or even giving your quick elevator pitch. It is easy to tell that you do not sound genuine.

It is a good practice to run through a practice with your friend. Pull your family members in and have that conversation. This is going to give you a chance to rehearse with different personalities since each person will be asking you a question or answering you a bit differently and it will throw you off so that you will be more ready when you begin to interview with your employer.

So while you are practicing your interview with your friends and family, it might seem a little awkward. But one of the keys that will benefit you from doing that though is you will have a safe atmosphere where it is okay to make mistakes. You can learn from them. You may not have answered the way you thought you should have or you didn’t come across the way you anticipated. That’s where you can hone in your interview skills so that you are better prepared for the real thing.

It is really important that when you are interviewing, you’ve got to keep it really simple. You don’t want to feel like you have to give a long-winded answer if a short answer will do. You won’t know that until you practice some of those answers. So being able to be clear and concise is the most important thing that you are going to need to do in a job interview. So a great answer will always tell your interviewer at least 3 things. Every one of those answers put it on the back of your mind. That answer ought to say what you did on the job. You don’t want to say how well you did what you did on the job. And the very important one you ought not to leave out, because most people do, is your answer ought to tell what was the impact of the action you had on the business or project. So what you did, how well you did it, and the impact it had.

When you prepare those types of answers and you are able to give them freely without memorizing them, or at least not sounding like you memorized them, now you are ready to have a dialogue with your interviewer – and not just a rehearsed, memorized set of answers.

Well that in fact, brings us to our next point. First impressions still count, even in a virtual environment. In with that in mind, there will be 2 tips that I’m going to mention.


5. Monitor your body language.  Obviously, you can’t firmly shake a hiring manager’s hand or easily exude enthusiasm through the video, but what you can do is monitor your body language. The main way to communicate confidence during these interviews; well, you’re going to sit up straight, you’re going to smile, you’re going to keep your camera at eye level. You want to avoid the tendency to look at yourself on the computer monitor while you talk. I would suggest you put your computer/laptop on a box so that your eyes are right on the center of the screen and you’re not looking down on yourself, or having to look far up because research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you say if you are maintaining eye contact. So you want to keep your focus on your camera when you’re talking – not looking at the hiring manager. The time when you look at the hiring manager is when he/she is talking.

This brings us to the 6th tip here. You gotta make those first impressions count.


6. Dress for success. So you might be sitting on your bed, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of the bed. You want to dress like you’re going for an in-person interview. Just because a person can’t see what you are wearing from waist level, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best to dress. For men, you’re going to wear a button up shirt and dress pants. For women, you might want to consider a dress, skirt and/or a blouse. Besides not knowing if for some reason you’re going to have to suddenly stand up in the middle of an interview, well professional clothing will show that you are serious about the job.

Well, there are personal benefits as well. Studies show that people feel the most authoritative, trustworthy and confident when they are wearing formal business attire. So when you feel good about yourself, it is easier to execute a lot of these tips especially our next one.


7. Connect on a Personal Level. You never know how many interviews a company may conduct for a position. You may be at a long list of people that the hiring manager or recruiter spoke to that day. That’s why it is important to make that small connection. So don’t be afraid to have a short aside about a common interest when you’re in an interview. The recruiter or hiring manager might enjoy the break from the routine questions that they have gone through that day.

You and I know that it is not easy to connect with everyone, but it is a crucial part of the interview. Don’t be afraid to share about yourself or connect about that one thing you discovered that you both like. Take a moment and touch on it, because you want the interviewer to be able to remember a story you told or a common interest that you both share. That is one of the best ways to prevent you from simply blending in with everyone else who came in and interviewed for the same spot.

Trust me, these little tips are what we as recruiters go through each and everyday. We trust that that investment in your time and you will be able to remember these. Use them on yourself and you will see the difference in your own interviewer.

Now, making that connection will really come from a predetermined mindset to employ this next to last tip.


8. Be Yourself. The hiring team is essentially looking for the interviewee to answer 2 major questions. The whole point of the interview: 1) Can you do the work that they need? But guess what, there’s another side. 2) Will you be able to fit into the company culture and department that the hiring manager has as well?

A key task for the recruiting and hiring team is in determining whether in fact, yes – you can do the work, but how will you fit in the team/company’s culture? This can be challenging during your virtual interview because there’s this physical disconnect. We don’t get to see your whole body and we don’t see how you reply to every question, or are your feet moving around a lot, or are you twirling your fingers. We don’t get to see a lot of those verbal or visual cues that helps to go along with your comfort level. So it’s more difficult for your interviewer to understand your enthusiasm or screen them, so make sure that you are more expressive when you are answering the questions.

If you want to use your hands, you may want to do that freely. Let your expressions be bold. If you are a more of a straightforward kind of person, be sure that you’re using those active listing techniques so that your dialogue is free and flowing between you and the interviewer.

Some people are great interviewers. They’re going to be able to tell your vibe. They’re going to be able to tell if you’re going to fit the company culture right off the bat. With that being said, you want to be able to walk away and give your interviewer a reason to push you to the second round of the interview, by shining a light on how you can help the organization grow.

This begins with not just with can you just do the work, but can you fit into the company culture. They are not looking for a robot. They are looking for you. So be sure that you are being yourself on these interviews.

This is going to lead us to our last point.


9. Don’t forget the Professional Graces. As soon as that interview is done, you’re going to do some immediate follow up within at least 24 hours of the interview. You’re going to send an individual Thank You Email to everyone you met. Sometimes they don’t provide you with that information so you should send that Thank You Note to your recruiter and they will forward it to the leadership team. But, make sure you’re taking that extra step.

Put it in a Word Document so you can upload it to your profile so the next recruiter can see that you’re communicative and that you possess those professional graces. It’s not only going to show that you valued your interviewer’s time, but it’s going to give you the opportunity to resell yourself and express your unique traits that you can bring to the role, or share any talking points that you forgot to address.

If there was something specific that you have bonded over during the interview, you want to mention it briefly and follow up in the Thank You Email so you can keep it on the top of your mind.

Or, if the interviewer brought up a particular business challenge, you’re going to use that to follow up; as a way to propose that potential solution – saying something to the affect of: “It was fantastic to have met you today and I remembered one of the challenges that the business had was ITEM A and here’s what I have done in the past that I can do to help.”

You want to keep the email concise of course. It is not a paragraph. You want to just leave a short note and leave a lasting impression, not one that will immediately end up in the circular file because it was too large or too long.


These are the key tips that we as recruiters have seen either in people that are not employed OR employed effectively. It helps them stand out and be remembered. They bring the right successful profile, but if they’re not able to get the hiring manager to remember it, then that becomes a challenge.

New Year’s Resolution for Job Seekers

Image via Ashley Brooke Photography

Job searching in the middle of a pandemic has been the most challenging for job seekers. Job seekers have been blindly applying for 10 months or more and building their network. Some have been plugging away and applying to jobs since March and have had little success with interviews and no offers with no feedback. And some have been forced (by the pandemic) into starting their own businesses/side hustles to pay off student loans, rent, debt, etc.

Whatever the case may be, job searching has always been challenging. However, the best way for it to be a success is to remain positive, and to not give up. Giving up is not an option. Show employers that you are willing, wanting and able to work!

Here are some New Year’s resolutions to help jump start your motivation and pave way to a successful job search.


  1. Connections can help a great deal. Spend more time talking to people than submitting your application to posted job ads.
    • The quickest way to get back into the job market will be your network and your referrals. Who knows that a 30 minute coffee chat could turn into an opportunity of a lifetime.
    • You would be surprised that you will have connections in your circle who know about the existing job vacancies that aren’t posted on job boards. In other words, the hidden job market.
    • When reaching out to your connections, you may want to follow the email template below:
      • “Hi [Connection’s Name],

        I hope this email finds you well. How was your holiday season and New Year’s? It is shocking how 2020 flew by.

        I wanted to reach out because things have changed at [Current Company] and am specifically looking to transition to [Job Title] at [Industry/Sector/Company] where I can utilize my [Insert Relevant Skills] to be able to do [Insert Desired Activities].

        I wanted to reach out to see if you know of anyone who could connect me to such an opportunity. I understand that this is a big ask and your time is valuable. If it is too much right now, don’t feel any pressure as I totally understand.

        Either way, I hope you are staying healthy and safe. I look forward to catching up with you soon!

        Best Regards,
        [Your Name]”
  2. Update your resume.
    • Your resume should always be different and tailored based on the job description. Study the job description carefully and proofread your resume before uploading it on the job board because you want to get past the Applicant Tracking System.
      • Education: Don’t just focus on the schools and institutions that you have attended. Include organizations that you were involved with as well! If you had a GPA that is higher than a 3.0, showcase it and be proud of that achievement!
      • Work Experience: I mention this all the time but make sure your duties are not only duties, however make it into an accomplishment by incorporating quantifiable metrics using numbers and percentages. Also, tailor it towards the field that you are interested in.
      • Leadership Experience: This is important whether you are looking for a job or internship. If you were active in many organizations and clubs, list it and highlight that leadership because that is always going to be a plus.
      • Skills and Projects: Again, just like your work experience, tailor your relevant skills towards the field of interest. If you have worked on special projects that were tailored towards the specific field of interest, include that as well.
    • Have your peer, mentor, career coach or a professional critique your resume.
  3. Hone your interview skills.
    • Have a friend or family member interview you and provide feedback.
    • Participate in mock interviews. Especially during this pandemic, many virtual platforms are partnering with big companies (such as Moody’s, Google, McKinsey & Company, Credit Suisse) to connect with nonprofit organizations and social ventures to give back and provide these free services to job seekers.
  4. Sharpen your skills.
    • If there is a specific field you are looking to go into or a job that you want to apply for, study the job description closely and discover if your educations and skills are going to be a good match.
    • If you do not have the skills that the employers are looking for, you should look into taking online classes that will help you move forward in your intended field.
  5. Map out what you are looking for.
    • Don’t just randomly apply for jobs because you need a job. Seek purpose in the kind of job you want. Make sure your job search has a path. What is it that you really want in your job? Do you want to work entirely remote? Do you want to work on-site? Do you want to work flexible or set hours?
    • Follow the SMART goal outline via FlexJobs.
      • (S)pecific: What industry or sector do you want to work in? Do you want to stay local, or are you willing to move? How much do you need to earn?
      • (M)easurable: To meet your goal, how many resumes will you send out per week? How many networking events will you attend each month?
      • (A)ttainable: Do you understand the difference between your dreams and your goals? Keep in mind that some things are beyond your sphere of influence. You cannot control how many interviews or offers you get, but you can set a goal for the number of business connections you’ll make each month.
      • (R)ealistic: What can you achieve in this moment? If you have little experience, it’s unlikely you can move directly into a C-level job. Be honest with yourself about what you can achieve right now, but also plan for bigger and better goals in the future.
      • (T)imely: When is your deadline? This aspect of goal setting is often overlooked, but deadlines—even arbitrary ones—are important motivators. Since you can’t control when you’ll get hired, you may find that a resolution such as “I will find a job within the next six months” is less effective than “I will apply to at least five vacancies this week.”
  6. Target specific companies that you are interested in working for.
    • Make a list of your top target companies
    • Research, research, research them!!! Anything you can find such as articles, interviews with executives, surveys, podcasts, etc.
    • LinkedIn is a valuable platform for you to use in landing your dream job at your target company. From there, you may want to locate contacts who can refer you into your target role such as a hiring manager, team lead, recruiter or a friend who was hired there.
    • Reach out and cold email them.

4 Holiday Out-of-Office Templates By Recruiter, Lee Ann Chan

Lee Ann Chan, the Americas Campus & Diversity Recruiting Program Manager at Agilent Technologies (the Santa Clara, California office), has reminded all of us that while we are away during the holidays to spend time with our family members and loved ones, it is crucial to maintain that relationship — whether you are going to be away for a few weeks or even a month.

Lee Ann Chan is a huge people-person and spent several years in Acquisitions before being inspired by her mentor to change career paths and be a Recruiter, which she absolutely loves! She finds that it is an amazing feeling to help job seekers find opportunities for smart people to do awesome things, and she is grateful that she can be a part of it.

Lee Ann brings in her 13+ years of combined experience working with professionals in both the private and public industries and have placed over 1,200 individuals in permanent opportunities across the United States. The roles Lee Ann have recruited for include: Finance, Analytics, Accounting, Engineering, Human Resources, R&D, Data Science, Legal, Supply Chain Management, Security, Procurement, Facilities Management, Clandestine Service, Product Management, and Life Sciences.

In addition, Lee Ann provides career coaching services to those who are job searching, soul searching, leading and managing, or trying to find new ways to advance within their careers. She supports her clients by helping them revamp their resume, interview style, and job search strategies; make seamless career transitions out of specific industries or professions; develop powerful relationships with recruiters, hiring managers, bosses, and co-workers; and elevate their personal brand in the workplace and market.

Lee Ann’s specialties include the following: Talent Acquisition | Diversity & Inclusion Strategies | Campus Recruiting | Technical Recruiting | University Relations | Career Consultant | Career Coaching | Resume and Cover Letter Reviews | LinkedIn Training | Networking | Public Speaking | Professional Development | Social Media | Personal Branding | Program & Event Management | Relationship Management | Metrics & Data | Sourcing | Interviewing

If you feel that you are seeking for these kinds of services, please feel free to connect with Lee Ann on LinkedIn and shoot her an InMail and connect.

Below are some really insightful out-of-office templates that Lee Ann has created for employees that I will share below for you guys, which are free to use depending on what is best suited for you and your company — “while we are all finishing up some tasks and preparing for the holidays.”

Wishing you all a safe and wonderful holiday season and a prosperous New Year!


Staying Engaged In Your Job Search During the Holiday Season

Image via Woman’s Day

Although the holiday season is the most exciting time of the year, don’t be fooled. It is also the busiest time for many people. The job market is indeed, the most active during this season.

While COVID-19 has caused considerable disruption to services for many employers, you may be thinking — Will this impact holiday hiring?

According to iCIMS’s Monthly Snapshot Report for September, “During the height of the pandemic, hiring for full-time retail roles dropped to account for only 28% of hiring activity during April and May. In August, we’re seeing an increase in the demand for full-time employees, now making up 34% of all hires—still 10 percentage points away from pre-pandemic levels.” The retail industry is going to be busy as they are in dire need of seasonal workers especially during the holiday season.

This is a good time to apply for jobs since job seekers often suspend their job search during the holidays and will be spending time with their loved ones. This often means that there is less competition for jobs however, this can also lead to missed opportunities. This also means that there will be fewer resumes to compete with, and your skills/experience may be a potential match to the employer (since many employers are STILL looking to fill their roles before the New Year).

It is completely understandable that job searching during the holidays are not meant for everyone. If you are one of the job seekers who are planning to suspend your job search for the season, you want to take this time to stay on top of your organizational skills. Revamp your resume and cover letter so that when you are back in your job hunt, you won’t have to stress over proofreading and overlooking the little details. Set yourself reminders, organize your notes/folders and prioritize your goals so that you can avoid making the same mistakes that you have previously made throughout your job search.

While it is important to spend quality time with your family and loved ones, if you are one of the job seekers who has too much free time — during your downtime, don’t forget to stay productive and continue your job search in hopes that your holiday gift will be landing a new job!


So, what if you were interviewed right before the holidays and are in the process of waiting to hear back? This is the most stressful stage for job seekers, especially for those who anticipate that they may not have gotten the job. But then, you don’t want to come off pushy. What is the best way to follow up? If you were out of the workforce for a while and want to reconnect/network, how do I approach them during the holiday season?

❄ Send Holiday Greeting Cards to Recruiters/Hiring Managers
࿏࿏ Not all recruiters/hiring managers will remember you since they have met a lot of other faces as well. Be sure to include a brief reminder of who you are, your point of contact at the company.
࿏࿏ As you pick out your holiday card, please be sure that the card is appropriate and generic.
࿏࿏ Not all job seekers will invest their time and effort to do this, so this can potentially set you apart from others.

❄ Discuss About Your Employment Status / Job Search At Holiday Gatherings
࿏࿏ It is important to let your friends, family and distant relatives know that you are looking for a job. You will never know who they may know. They may know of someone who is working at your target employer. Or, they may even be an employee of your target employer.
࿏࿏ Making new connections or re-establishing old connections can actually land you a job offer even by just casually speaking to them about what you are looking for.

❄ Use This Time As a Networking Opportunity
࿏࿏ Virtual fundraisers and virtual Zoom holiday parties with friends during this time allows you to connect and mingle with many like-minded individuals that you connect you to potential jobs that you want to work at.
࿏࿏ While it is a holiday party, make sure you don’t come off as too professional and stiff. Remember, this is a time to gather and enjoy your time with friends. You do not want to come off as desperate, however you just want this topic to casually arise in the conversation.

The Changing Landscape and Job Outlook in the Media and Entertainment Industry

Image via ShingShing

Since pre-COVID-19, in this industry today — it is certain that digital will replace print. With consumers seeking for simple and swift methods of accessing content, this has led technology to advance rapidly. Many companies, let alone media giants and tech giants — are shifting toward Internet delivery, which will heavily increase online streaming and smart media more than it ever did before. According to Srijan, “apart from leading players like Netflix and Amazon, several others like Apple, Disney, HBO Max and WarnerMedia are joining the streaming domain, making it even more complex. There’s an increasing competition, coupled with the need to meet customer expectations.

Moving forward from this point on, Deloitte highlights three critical issues to consider in 2021 for the industry — “1) Renewing the focus on customers’ needs; 2) Converging and remixing entertainment experiences; 3) Repositioning to monetize advanced wireless networks.Check out their full report for more great insights on the job outlook for the telecommunications, media and entertainment industry!

While the trends in the industry are swiftly shifting, so will the career trends. Job seekers, if you are looking to pursue a career in the field — please refer to the chart I have created below regarding the job outlook between 2019 to 2029.
Disclaimer: All information are obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (I have included links for more information)

OccupationJob DutiesEntry-Level Education2019 Median PayJob Outlook between 2019 – 2029What To Do
Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators“Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate moving images that entertain or inform an audience.”Bachelor’s Degree
– $59,810 per year
– $28.76 per hour
“Overall employment of film and video editors and camera operators is projected to grow 18 percent (+12,400) from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The number of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, is likely to increase, along with the number of shows produced for these platforms. This growth may lead to more work for editors and camera operators.”How To Become One
Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians“Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate, and maintain the electrical equipment for media programs.”Post-secondary non-degree award or certificate– $45,510 per year
– $21.88 per hour
“Overall employment of broadcast and sound engineering technicians is projected to grow 9 (+13,200) percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected to stem from businesses, schools, and entertainment industries seeking to improve their audio and video capabilities. They will need technicians to set up, operate, and maintain equipment.”How To Become One
Editors“Editors plan, review, and revise content for publication.”Bachelor’s Degree– $61,370 per year
– $29.50 per hour
“Employment of editors is projected to decline 7 percent (-8,700) from 2019 to 2029. Despite some job growth in online media, declines in traditional print magazines and newspapers will temper employment growth.”How To Become One
Multimedia Artists and Animators“Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.”Bachelor’s Degree– $75,270 per year
– $36.19 per hour
“Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 4 percent (+2,800) from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television.”How To Become One
Photographers“Photographers use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images.”High School Diploma or Equivalent– $36,280 per year
– $17.44 per hour
“Employment of photographers is projected to decline 4 percent (-4,800) from 2019 to 2029.”How To Become One
Producers and Directors“Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions.”Bachelor’s Degree– $74,420 per year
– $35.78 per hour
“Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 10 percent (+16,000) from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth in the motion picture and video industry is expected to stem from strong demand from the public for more movies and television shows, as well as an increased demand from foreign audiences for U.S.-produced films.”How To Become One
Reporters, Correspondents and Broadcast News Analysts“Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events.”Bachelor’s Degree
– $46,270 per year
– $22.25 per hour
“Overall employment of reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts is projected to decline 11 percent (-5,800) from 2019 to 2029. Declining advertising revenue in radio, newspapers, and television will have a negative impact on employment growth for these occupations.”How To Become One
Art Directors“Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions.”Bachelor’s Degree– $94,220 per year
– $45.30 per hour
“Employment of art directors is projected to decline 2 percent (-1,800) from 2019 to 2029. As traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms, employment of art directors is projected to decrease in the newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishers industry.”How To Become One
Writers and Authors“Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media.”Bachelor’s Degree
$63,200 per year
– $30.39 per hour
“Employment of writers and authors is projected to decline 2 percent (-3,100) from 2019 to 2029.”How To Become One
Announcers“Announcers present music, news, and sports and may provide commentary or interview guests.”Educational requirements for announcers vary. Radio and television announcers typically need a bachelor’s degree in journalism, broadcasting, or communications, along with other experience gained from internships or working at their college radio or television station. Public address announcers typically need a high school diploma with some short-term on-the-job training.– $39,790 per year
– $19.13 per hour
Overall employment of announcers is projected to grow 1 percent (+700) from 2019 to 2029, slower than the average for all occupations.How To Become One
Interpreters and Translators“Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language.”Bachelor’s Degree– $51,830 per year
– $24.92 per hour
“Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 20 percent (+15,500) from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization and large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States will drive employment growth. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification.”How To Become One
Public Relations Specialists“Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent.”Bachelor’s Degree– $61,150 per year
– $29.40 per hour
“Employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow 7 percent (+19,700) from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The need for organizations to maintain their public image will continue to drive employment growth. Candidates can expect strong competition for jobs at advertising and public relations firms and organizations with large media exposure.”How To Become One
Technical Writers“Technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.”Bachelor’s Degree– $72,850 per year
– $35.03 per hour
“Employment of technical writers is projected to grow 7 percent (+4,300) from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the continuing expansion of scientific and technical products. An increase in Web-based product support should also increase demand for technical writers. Job opportunities, especially for applicants with technical skills, are expected to be good.”How To Become One
via U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistic’s Occupational Handbook

Below I have asked a recruiting professional to provide some insight and updates about the media and entertainment industry as of today. Danny Gonzalez has been in the Recruiting industry since 2016. He started his recruiting career at Univision, a broadcast media company, where he has recruited for several roles within the business, i.e. Accounting, Finance, Public Relations, Sales, etc. He continued on with his experience and talent at JP Morgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, Amazon Web Services, LiveRamp and CyraCom.

Feel free to connect with Danny afterwards on LinkedIn.


Michelle: What does the future of the Media and Entertainment Industry look like in a post-pandemic world?

Danny: From a half glass full standpoint and depending on which services are being provided; both good and bad. Whether you are a TikTok influencer or a company like Netflix, the script has been flipped. Nielsen, a known and reliable resource for media giants, announced their plan to combine traditional and digital TV ratings, to accurately reflect a world in which audiences are watching TV both live and on-demand, across a variety of different streaming services and devices. I anticipate Marketing to be a very demanding profession in the next coming years.


Michelle: Many aspects of this industry heavily hinged on physical attendance to produce profits – such as sports arenas, concerts and movie theaters. But because of COVID-19, it has imposed restrictions on public gatherings. How will this affect their services?

Danny: Great question! It is true that these type of services that rely heavily on physical attendance, i.e. movie theaters. AMC took a huge hit and is still suffering from this, however, another company like Universal, are striking while the iron is hot. For example, their digital marketing has picked up through social media, and are inclined to the option to share their movies-on-demand. Streaming Services, i.e. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max more than ever are bringing in exclusive movies that you can only watch through their services. Most notably, Wonder Woman 1984 will be going straight to HBO Max with fans excited about this.


Michelle: What are the pros and cons of media shifting fully virtual?

Danny:

  • Pros — On-demand and access mean exactly that. No longer the need to wait in queues or tickets being sold out for events. 
  • Cons — While the price of a movie ticket may be on the high side, as a consumer, is the trade-off worth paying the same price to watch at home? There are certain experiences that are worth in-person vs. digitally. 

Michelle: On the bright side, the digital takeover makes a positive impact for consumers who are still committed to their TVs and online shows. Today, many consumers are viewing, sharing and listening to more online content and with COVID-19, it is forcing those who don’t use technology, to use technology. Do you think artificial intelligence and automated jobs will take over many existing jobs in the industry?

Danny: This has always been the thought/concern for several years now, however, it will take some time before we get there. In any event, I recommend folks to brush up on their communications skills now more than ever and see which tools are and have been the most efficient and effective, i.e. e-mail, phone, conferencing platforms, and whether to go with audio only or audio and visual.


Michelle: Where do you see opportunities for advancement/growth for this industry moving forward?

Danny: Personally, the opportunities that I see for advancement/growth in this industry moving forward are in —

  • Digital Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Conferencing Platforms

Michelle: What is your advice for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the industry?

Danny: I totally encourage it!! In fact, there is a great organization, T. Howard Foundation, whose mission is to promote diversity in media and entertainment for underrepresented groups and underserved communities within the media and entertainment industry. Check them out!  I have personally engaged with the T. Howard Foundation and some of my family members and friends have secured job placements through T. Howard. Good luck!!!

Breaking Into the Tech Industry (Microsoft)

Image via Dribbble

Emily Chan is a Talent Sourcer for Engineering and Operations at Microsoft. In Emily’s role, she pipelines top engineering talent through various online sourcing methods (her favorite one being LinkedIn) and find these candidates a home at Microsoft.

During her free time, you can find Emily drinking coffee, buying (too many) plants, and working on a passion project called Sparkline! Sparkline (formerly CEO Mindsets) is an initiative that focuses on empowering students to secure their dream jobs and internships through practical resume, interview, and networking tips. Recently, they have been hosting different workshops on personal branding, LinkedIn, etc. at different colleges and it’s really great to have the opportunity to interact with their audience.

Sparkline is looking forward to expanding their reach to more colleges in the new year! If you’re interested in collaborating with them, feel free to reach out at hello@sparklineco.com and they’ll work together to bring your idea to life!

Emily Chan (Talent Sourcer for Engineering and Operations at Microsoft)

Now, we will delve deeper into the Q&A below where I have asked Emily to provide her input for those who are looking to pursue a career in tech or those who are interested in heading into tech. Emily is excited to share a bit about the tech industry and offer some insight for those who are interested in breaking into this dynamic industry!


What are the kinds of careers that Microsoft offers for those who are interested in applying for a tech role there? What are the specific digital skills needed?

Microsoft offers a lot of different kinds of careers in tech – some examples are software engineering, mechanical engineering, hardware engineering, etc. You name it, Microsoft probably has a role. I specifically focus on recruiting for software engineers. In terms of skills needed for it, most of my roles require working knowledge of an object-oriented language like Java, C++, or C# and experience working with highly available and scalable distributed systems. There aren’t too many hard requirements because we recognize everyone has a different story and we want to focus on hiring engineers with a growth mindset and good potential!


Last month, Microsoft announced that they want to help create millions of tech jobs in the UK. How do you think this will help shape the industry?

This is an amazing initiative that will not only boost the tech industry, but help the UK’s economy as well. Technology is the future and businesses will only be able to sustain themselves if they include tech in their business strategies. This initiative will not only help expand and accelerate the path into the tech industry but will also aid in creating a more diverse talent pipeline in tech.


Is training offered for those who are looking to pivot their career direction or those with zero experience in tech?

Although Microsoft offers extensive training for new employees to learn our tech stack, we do expect candidates to know the fundamentals of computer science and to have some experience working in tech.

If you are a recent graduate with no experience in tech, I encourage you to apply to our amazing internship programs! That’ll help you get your foot in the door for full time opportunities.

If you’re in the middle of your career looking to switch into tech, I recommend either 1) going back to school to learn the basic fundamentals of computer science and then applying for our internships/full time roles or 2) taking a coding boot camp and gaining some industry experience at smaller tech companies before applying to Microsoft. 


How do you get your foot in the door?

Network, network, network! LinkedIn is a great place to get in touch with people working at your dream companies. Do some research about them and reach out for a coffee chat to learn more about them, the role, and the company. Build and maintain that relationship and more often than not, they’ll be happy to give you a referral. 

One disclaimer I want to make for this is that you want to make sure you meet all the basic qualifications first! If you don’t, you can network all you want, but it’ll be very hard to land the role. This is because those are the basic skills you need to succeed in that role and companies are not going to bring a candidate into situations where they won’t succeed.


What should a job seeker be aware of when working at a tech company?

Be comfortable with ambiguity and be able to adapt quickly. Things are always changing whether it be a customer requirement or a new technology.


How does the job market look currently for tech?

More now than ever, the tech space is growing at an increasingly fast rate. Especially with the pandemic, everything has shifted to virtual and people are relying more and more on tech. Companies are working on innovative products to adjust to the modern workplace and modern society so there is such a high demand for good engineers in the tech industry. It’s a really exciting time to be in this space!


Technology is one of the top growing industries currently. How much has it grown compared to pre-pandemic? What are the most in-demand careers and skills right now?

As I discussed earlier, tech is in demand now more than ever. Everything is virtual now and even after the world goes back to “normal,” a lot of things will remain virtual.

I can’t speak for different companies since the tech stack varies, but overall, Microsoft looks for working knowledge of an object-oriented programming language and industry experience with highly available and scalable distributed systems.