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Alan first started working in the retail industry while in college being a full time student and working 25+ hours weekly. After graduating at UC Davis with double major in Economics and Sociology, Alan got promoted to being one of the store managers at Best Buy. After putting in 7 years of work in retail, he realized that this industry wasn’t for him. Alan started from the bottom of the ladder in the tech recruiting industry at an agency called, Apex Systems. Fast forward 8 years later, Alan is now leading a technical recruiting team and working with Engineering & Product executives on hiring initiatives and recruiting strategies for Quip, a Salesforce Company.

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Automated Transcript

Editor’s Note: We provide a transcript of each episode to make it easy to search and read. Since robots are not ready to take over the world yet, the artificial intelligence isn’t perfect. There may be some typos in the automated transcript.

Vincent (00:30):
From Vyten career coaching, it’s How I Got Here, a show about business leaders, their resilience, and the stories behind the career moves. I’m Vincent Phamvan, and I’ve interviewed thousands of job candidates over the years in both recruiting and as a former corporate executive. Now I’m on a mission to help you take the next step in your career. A corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 resumes, and just one person is going to get hired. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was nervous and frustrated by my job search, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can navigate your career with competence, spend every day learning and drive to better yourself. You can be excited about the future. In today’s episode, we have the pleasure of meeting Alan Leon. Who’s a senior manager of technical recruiting at Quip, a Salesforce company,

Vincent (01:23):
Alan, like many kids growing up wanted to become a professional athlete for him, specifically a professional basketball player. After he graduated from UC Davis with a double major in economics and sociology, he spent a few years working in the retail industry. He realized that this wasn’t for him and he pivoted into a career in technology fast forward, eight years later, Allen’s now leading a technical recruiting team and working with engineering and product executives on hiring initiatives and recruiting strategies. His parent company, Salesforce is known as being one of the largest and fastest growth software companies.

Alan (01:59):
My parents actually growing up, I never got to see them too often. They came over to America. They own their own business and the jewelry company over it. Now Airbnb took it over Airbnb headquarters in San Francisco. Yeah, eight and eight Brannan street, but they used to have their own jewelry business. And the gift center is what they used to call it. So there was a lot of like opportunities there and also to expand their clientele. That’s what they needed to travel so often. And because of that, like I need to see them sometimes for weeks and months. But because of that, I saw that they always work. They always worked around the clock 24 seven. When they come home, you know, they’d be making all these orders from their customers until like the weekend when they have to travel. So I saw that the constant dedication, the constant drive that constant like commitment to their business and ultimately to their kids, right. Just because they are not here physically, they’re trying to support us through different means. Today’s guests share something in

Alan and Vincent share the transition from retail to the tech industry

Vincent (03:00):
Common with me. We both worked for best buy the consumer electronics company that you might know as the leading consumer electronics retailer in the United States with store locations in Canada and other places around the world as well. But something interesting is that we both worked in a career in retail, which at least for me, growing up as a son of an immigrant is not the industry that your parents encourage you to go into, which is retail. But we both had made a transition into the technology space. And I thought that that was so interesting to see how retail can be a springboard, like massive springboard into careers in other industries

Alan (03:40):
And other different types of companies, just because of what you’ve learned throughout the way when I was a child, when I come home after playing hoops with like my friends and, and school, I would still work on my shots and I, my three point shots, my field goals just anywhere like layups. And then my dad would come on and said, why do you keep playing basketball? So, and I think I can make it into the NBA. And that was my dream was like, just to keep on practicing and shooting and, you know, maintaining that accuracy. And I realized that I don’t think I can do.

Vincent (04:12):
So I find that a lot of Asian American parents, you know, they have this mentality where just working hard, allows them to be able to provide for the family and really create opportunities for their children that that they potentially didn’t have themselves growing up. Do you see that to be true?

Alan (04:29):
Yeah, I saw firsthand. So I do agree with you.

How helping others understand is a motivator in the workplace

Vincent (04:31):
Throughout your life in general, what makes you feel inspired? Like what gives you energy?

Alan (04:37):
That’s a good question. I think motivating people being like a store leader, right. At best buy until now we’re at the motivated team of seven. What really inspires me is like, when they get it, like in that moment, when you teach them something, it might be three, four or five times. Right. Cause they don’t quite understand it. So you try different metrics, methods and techniques and strategy to really hone in on the actual like message of what you’re trying to deliver.

Alan (05:04):
And when they finally get it and you see it right in their eyes and they were like, actually practicing the execution of what you’re teaching them. You’re like, that’s why I became a leader. And that’s why I became a manager or, or, you know, that’s why I became a coach. So I think the constant, like chase of someone trying or encouraging them and really having them be successful is what really inspires me and keeps me like going to work every day.

Alan Vincent share how transferable the skills they learned working in retail are in the rest of their careers

Vincent (05:29):
That was something that I didn’t expect to get so much of out of retail and working in retail in general is really learning how to set expectations, how to demonstrate skills, how to teach and coach improvement in those skills, and then be able to recognize people and celebrate that as well, which is something that I think best buy even taught at a really young age to really anybody who is working there. I remember a lot of like younger leaders, like they would put folks through literally like a university and be able to teach out those skill sets that ironically at a lot of other non retail, larger companies that I’ve been at have not been taught sometimes.

Alan (06:13):
Oh yeah. Now that I’m, I would say two to three years of managing this team now in a corporate tech space, I reflected the moments when I was a younger manager at best buy all the failures I’ve did in the past. Right. Some of the, the more like disappointing moments in myself that I’ve encountered when I was managing a store, I was like, Oh man, I definitely learned a lot from being a young manager at like early twenties. Right. managing, I don’t know, like 70 people, 80 people talking in store meetings, you know, every Sunday night once a month. And, you know, I think in practice when I was actually managing at a younger age, I didn’t really see it. Right. How can this, how can I benefit this 10 years later?

Alan (07:01):
Right. I didn’t really see it because it was all in the moment. And I just did it just because like, Oh, if the money is there, I was making more money than my peers. I’m going to take this job. Right. But now I actually think about those times and say, man how I deliver feedback now, I recall some of the moments when I was a young earlier manager, how I coach now I basically learned a lot from how I used to coach when I was in management at best buy and some of the, like what not to do, what to do in these situations.

Vincent (07:32):
Yeah. I completely agree with that. In my experience, I felt like was, was very similar that, you know, it’s funny and life along the way, just how transferable skills are that you learn. And it sounds like for you, and I know that it was something that was applicable for me, being able to translate that skillset and being able to articulate that as you’re going into a job search later on is just so, so important, especially when you’re changing industries.

Alan (08:02):
Yeah. 100 hundred percent completely agree with you. I think it’s easy to kind of, kind of get lost in the moment, but what I’ve learned from that is like, take a step back. Like how can I use this opportunity to better myself in two years, in five years in 10 years? Or how do I savor this moment right now that I’m being acknowledged, I’m frustrated and I’m disappointed, disappointed are I acknowledged that it’s a hard time right now, but how do I channel that? So I can use it five years later, 10 years later. And how do I improve and keep on iterating on that?

Vincent (08:34):
What do you, what would you say the most important thing you’ve learned in your life is so far if you could boil it down to one thing and you know, what, what is it like before you learned that

Alan shares why patience is the most important skill he has learned throughout his career

Alan (08:45):
Have more patience with people yeah. Have more patient because just because you understand one thing a certain way doesn’t mean necessarily another will understand it the same way you are. Right. So constantly be patient. And in making sure people, you think about people first, right. And their people perspective and their background and how they’re interpreting your message maybe differently than how you think they’re interpreting it.

Vincent (09:15):
Was there a particular instance that something happened that kind of taught you this lesson?

Alan (09:23):
Yeah, it was actually when I was at MuleSoft when I joined the, I joined the company after leaving Salesforce to be a senior technical recruiter, and I got promoted to become a lead technical recruiter. And at that time I was leading a small team, just like three people really early in their careers. This was probably like the first job, sorry, their first job at MuleSoft out of college. So when they asked me for advice, I would just give them a career advice and then not providing any content context or substance to it, and just like leaving them, thinking about it. So they didn’t quite get like some of the recruiting process or recruiting the ways of like managing a candidate effectively. I didn’t really provide a lot of examples because I thought they would just get it right away because in my head, Oh, their recruiter, they should get it.

Alan (10:18):
Like, no, they haven’t really had the fundamentals or the proper training beforehand. And I never really dig, dug deeper into what they know, what they don’t know or how they got to where they are today. So that was actually some feedback that they gave me. It’s like, Hey, you’re, you’re, you’re saying a lot of things too quickly. I don’t understand, you know, you’re just dropping this, you’re just saying this. And you’re just walking away. I need help. Like, so at that moment I realized, Oh, like, I need to be more patient with the people I manage or the people I lead.

Vincent (10:50):
It sounds like that you had a good relationship there still because they trusted you and felt comfortable enough to be able to give you that feedback.

Alan (10:57):
Yeah. The the ex CEO of MuleSoft gray, he practice a culture of radical candor, the intersection of like coming from good intentions and delivering like straight hard feedback. Like you don’t want to just give direct feedback without any good intent. Like you want to make sure you prime the other person, Hey, I’m going to give you some radical candor. This is coming from a good spot. You’re doing this. And this is how it’s affecting like me or affecting the team. But it’s, but we’re all in it together. It’s all about company first and like team second mentality there. So the CEO always talks about it every month, right. At his all hands, like do your power to do, to practice radical candor. It might be uncomfortable because it’s hard to give people direct feedback from a good place because we’re not really taught that way growing up. Yeah. So practice I, and he always encouraged it and he encouraged people to tell, give him radical candor, like either an all hands or a one-on-one or in passing. So it was a culture that practice that throughout every office. So they, even though we did have a good relationship, they also practice that as well.

Vincent (12:12):
And that actually was fairly similar to the, a similar lesson that I learned actually at best buy when likely you and I were both working there around the same time. I worked with a district manager, his name is Bob SoCo, and still to this day, you’re phenomenal leader. And I just took so much away from the time that I worked with him, but he had another concept similar to radical candor that he called the 2%, the 2% is basically, you know, 98% of what you say to other people, or just things that you would feel comfortable saying, Hey, Alan, that’s a nice shirt. Hey, you know, how’s your day going? How’s your family doing it? Or it’s things that are like not confrontational they’re pleasantries and you know, they’re statements. They’re fact-based then there’s 2% that you might not say to somebody, Hey, you got food stuck in between your house, right.

Vincent (13:05):
That’s an example of something you might not say. And that’s like a light example. But the reason you might not say these things are because you’re not sure how the other person will react. You’re not sure how they’re going to take it. You’re not sure the consequences of saying those things, but in an environment where your team is comfortable with 2%, that’s where open and honest feedback can happen. And that open and honest feedback oftentimes helps everybody. And it just helps the team collaborate better, drive better know that everybody’s aligned. But yeah, I like what you said in terms of, it starts from a place of understanding and acknowledging the good intentions and other people. Yeah. What a great lesson to learn when you started your career, as you were transitioning into kind of a more corporate type role, what do you wish you would’ve known at the time when you made that jump

Alan (14:05):
Being my first time at Salesforce, before Salesforce, I was in a agency recruiting firm called apex systems. And they’re for the, through the listeners, that don’t quite understand agency recruiting is basically, you’re trying to place as many people as you can, to a lot of the clients, whether it be banks or tech companies or hospitals. And they’re usually a sharp, short term or a long-term contract. Right. and after that you get placed, you know, the people in the agency makes a cut of the pay and in order for you to make more money, you place more people, right. And your commission gets would increase that way. So I don’t see that as a corporate, I saw that as like, kind of like the minor leagues to the major leagues sorry for the sports reference. But that’s how I saw it as kind of like minor leagues as agency.

Alan (14:57):
Major leagues is like corporate recruiting. So my first gig in corporate is like Salesforce back in 2014. What I have wanted to know is I would say the relationship building is very important relationship in terms of like your hiring managers that you’re working with your direct managers and also relationship outside of the core recruiting function. So things like the relocation team, the people, operations team, things, you know, teams that, and P teams and people that recruiting Penn’s a partner with when they need to get something done. Right. So I wish I had known that because I didn’t really think about building those strong relationships. When I first started, I was just chasing the number, always thinking of how do I make more placements to make a name for myself and get recognized. So when I finally realized like, Hey, building relationships are really important, I went back and did a lot more coffee chats. I really engage with the people that I work outside of the recruiting function more closely. And that I think helped me to become where I am today. And I’m still learning. Right. I’m still like chilling, build relationships with like engineers and product managers and you know, basically key stakeholders. But I didn’t really think about that as I entered my first job in Salesforce.

Vincent (16:20):
Yeah. So what does that look like as you’re trying to build stronger relationships, you mentioned the coffee chats. Like what else was going through your head in terms of this is what I’m going to do differently as I really focus on improving.

The importance of building relationships in the workplace

Alan (16:34):
Yeah. So always what I focused on was like how, instead of me going to them with like my problems at my, what I want from them is kind of like, I would ask them towards the end of every chat how can, what can I do today to improve your job? Right. Cause there’s always a two way thing. I know. I constantly remind myself when you’re going into a meeting to get a problem that you want solved because it was your problem. Always reciprocate and say, what am I doing wrong? Or when I doing well, that you want to continually like to see and also how can we improve our process to make your job easier? Because I started doing that. And a lot of people, when they gave me feedback, I was like, Oh, wow, no, one’s really asked me that before. Especially the people operations team, right?

Alan (17:20):
People who are in operations. A lot of people go with them with like benefit questions or like at a new hire onboarding issue. Right. But they never, a lot of people don’t take the time to ask them, Hey, what am I doing now? That’s affecting your job negatively or positively. And how can I change myself to better your team or better your process? So through that, I always leave the meetings asking those questions. And they really like that because first it shows that, you know, you’re not afraid to make mistakes. You’re not afraid to admit that there was something wrong in the process. And second, it offers a vulnerable spot that the recipient can then give you feedback on.

Vincent (18:04):
Yeah. I mean, you went into that role. Like most people, not even, most people I’d be willing to say everybody starts a new job wanting to be successful in that job. Right. Nobody sets out into a job to go, I’m going to be mediocre really bad at this job. Right? Like nobody goes, starts a new job that way. And so, you know, in wanting to just like, knock it out of the park, really kick at that job, a lot of people say, okay, what are my results? What am I going to deliver? And how am I going to do that? I’m going to get to work and I’m going to go do that. And what’s like, kind of counterintuitive about this lesson that you learned and I’ve gone through, you know, the similar journeys. There’s a gentleman right now. His name is Harley Finkelstein.

Vincent (18:45):
He’s the COO at Shopify for anybody who doesn’t know Shopify as an e-commerce platform that powers the backend. Then front end actually have a lot of websites that allows you. And to have businesses, small businesses to growing enterprise businesses, be able to sell things online. But he has a saying that he said on stage at a conference once, which was, you always want to deliver more value to others than you take. And he was saying that whether it was in terms of to your customers, meaning you always want to deliver them crazy amount of value in exchange for the money that they give you. But it could also equally apply to like your internal customers and like your partners, your coworkers, and other relationships, where if you just are overly focused and helping other people and delivering value to other people, eventually reciprocity is going to happen and they’re going to pay it forward.

Vincent (19:40):
It’s like the same concept of just like, you know, you got to place deposits, you got to help other people before you make a withdrawal. What a great story in terms of why that was so important and how that’s so important in helping you be successful. Now you’ve gone through a few jobs searches. You’ve seen the job search have at this point, thousands of other people from, you know, the other side of the table, the insight from, with inside the company doing the corporate recruiting, many people think job searches and networking are really frustrating to the point where a lot of them want to give up. Why do you think they feel that way?

Why people get frustrated during the job search process

Alan (20:14):
I’m glad you asked me this question. I was hoping you would actually I think because in life we don’t and early on, like with kids, like we don’t teach how to fail. Right. That’s never really been practiced in school. I mean, people that I think that do sports competitively, they know how to fail because like there’s always a winner and there’s always a loser. Right. And in any competitive sports game. But I think overall that the general population, we’re not really taught on how to fail and how to deal with rejection. Right? So someone, when people apply for jobs and they don’t hear from the company, or it goes in a black, this magical black hole, or the recruiter gives them a general rejection template, then they react emotionally, but not logically. Right. So I think also that ties into like, we tend to, I mean, emotion is really important, but how acknowledging how you’re feeling, acknowledging what, what you’re feeling at, what time and why you’re reacting this way, I think is very important than just reacting without any logic.

Vincent (21:22):
Yeah. And I mean, and I think a lot of it too, is like, people don’t really talk about failure and rejection as well. You know, the failure and rejection is part of somebody’s backstage. Like what happens that, you know, isn’t as public, not a lot of people know about it. If you’re in a close circle of friends or in somebody’s family, you might hear about it. But I mean, nobody is waking up posting an Instagram story and going, Hey today, 10 companies turned me down and told me that my resume wasn’t a good fit. Like people just don’t do that. But the reality of it is you only need one. You only need one. Yes. In order to be successful, you know, you’re working for a company that arguably is the fastest growing SAS, unicorn for anybody who doesn’t know a unicorn is a company valued at over $1 billion in Salesforce by that measure is multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple you know, tell me about some of the rejections that you’ve gotten along the way. How did you actually end up at Salesforce and tell me a little bit about behind the scenes, what that looked like.

Alan (22:33):
Yeah. before I got into Salesforce, Ellis applying to actually before the agency, this is like when that one customer that I was telling you about at best buy, that turned around bad in my face. And I said to my GM, like literally in your face.

Vincent (22:49):
Gosh, I’m so sorry man.

Alan (22:51):
That’s okay. I developed thick skin, pun intended. I told my GM, I’m gonna start looking for a new job and I didn’t know what I wanted. I went into all these different onsite interviews from B2B sales to B, to C, B to C sales, to insurance sales. I thought I really good in sales because sales at best buy are you do is just sell. So I thought I had a, and you know, my, my, my family had a knack for being in the sales industry, like in jewelry, your star selling. Right. so I knew, I knew I wanted to go into sales. So I applied to like all these different roles, like car dealerships and all these different things. Right. And I got rejected a ton, but like, I think my motivation there was like, I can’t work at best buy because of that incident.

Alan (23:38):
And I can never like deal with another frustrated customer. So I just use that as my motivation to continue to, and like expand and like network now. So a buddy of mine said, Hey, I think you actually be good in recruiting because I just, I started networking on LinkedIn. Linkedin was very popular back then too. You know, I just started networking, connecting to old friends from high school from colleges and say, Hey, what are you up to? How did you get there? And what does this role mean? I just started messaging them and like asking around. And my buddy was like, Oh I think you’d be a good, a good recruiter because there’s an element of sales. It’s not hard sales. You’re doing a long-term journey with a customer, with a target, with a candidate and pitching the role, pitching various roles to them and seeing if they’re actually the ultimate fit.

Alan (24:24):
So I started exploring that and, you know, the agency took a chance on me and I became a recruiter. And when I came in, I knew I had to be really good at what I did or else I’d be like fired. Right. so I took night courses. I took many courses in the technical domain space because I was hiring technical software engineers. I didn’t know what I was doing. I barely passed. Right. But I had more content and more resources that can tap into when I’m pitching these roles to candidates. But then I also got rejected by them too. It’s not like they accepted an offer. They would say, Hey, Allen, I’m sorry. I have to reject this offer. I’m going with another company. And as recruiters, like after awhile, that becomes like your norm because candidates will oftentimes reject you, even though they’ve signed or even if they verbally commit to you, sometimes they would say, Hey, a situation comes in life or better opportunity comes within the company. Or if they’re in a position that’s more suitable for them. Therefore I have to take this and like reject your offer. It sucks. But that’s something that like I’m primed for nowadays

Vincent (25:34):
And just, I think, primed for it and expecting it, you know, sets you up mentally to be able to manage, you know, the stress and anxiety of a job search, whether, regardless of which side of the job search that you’re on, on the recruiter side or the the candidate side now at the agency and at Salesforce, you know, you mentioned that you reached out to everybody in your network, you used LinkedIn, which was a growing tool at the time. And quite frankly still is a great tool for a job search. Did you know any, nobody buddy, did you have second, third connections to the agency in Salesforce? Like how did those, how did that end up coming to be?

Alan shares how he landed a job in recruiting for a top company

Alan (26:15):
I just randomly like searched like random people. Right? well, first I went to a first degree connection, which is like people from high school. Right. And then like, I would look at their list of people and say, Oh, that’s an interesting job. Like, can you introduce me and recommended me to like this opening? Right. And you know, a lot of them, a lot of sometimes, you know, due to, you know, maybe life obligations, I would never hear back from them, which is fine. I never expected someone to like say, Oh, Hey, I haven’t heard from you let’s grab coffee. Right. But I, I think it was a numbers game for me. It was like the more people I reached out to, I would increase my chances of getting at least one or two or three respondents. And when I do get the response, make it really meaningful and valuable for their time. So you’re not wasting anyone’s time.

Vincent (26:58):
And I think what’s, what’s interesting about this approach because it’s most successful job seekers do take this approach of, you know, looking at their network, seeing who works, where seeing if who’s friends, acquaintances, dogs that are on course where all of them work and then just navigating ways of being able to reach out to a hiring manager or recruiter at that company. Which unfortunately is not how everybody approaches job searches because many people will just go to a careers website and then just shotgun applications to like four or five different roles at that company. You know, what does that look like on the other side, w you know, as on the recruiting side from, within the company, you know, how do you manage the application flow? And like, what are the things that candidates should really understand about that process if they want to successfully get a job at the company?

How to standout to recruiters among thousands of applicants

Alan (27:55):
Yeah. at Salesforce, I mean, we process 20,000 applications, I would say a month. I forgot the numbers pied a lot higher now, but that was, I think when I heard about it like a few months ago and it’s tough, right? It definitely is not automated. Some people think a machine automates it. And I think a lot of the applicant tracking system tools are trying to steer in that direction. My team actually looks at every like resume. We spend a minute on probably a minute or two on a resume before we reject them or move forward with them. There is a notion of course, like referrals because you have to Mark down your source and who, you know, in the company of referrals to get a more white glove treatment. Right. That’s not a secret in the industry. Right. If you know someone and they recommend you like the likelihood of you making it through the process, not getting hired, but like making through the process, I think is like increased by 40% overall. Right. So I think who would, you know, and how you know them when you do apply is also an added benefit to your application.

Vincent (29:07):
Yeah. And I know a lot of companies actually best buy included the, when you and I worked there have an employee referral program. And so not only do referrals from employees at a minimum, somebody looking at it and really putting the thought into, Hey, can this person be a fit in the role and your chances of at least getting a phone interview are exponentially increased, but there’s also an incentive for that employee. A because working with friends and acquaintances is awesome because you, you know, it’s really great to be surrounded by people that you want to spend the majority of much of your life with. But also there’s a financial incentive. A lot of the times for employees refer really great people to join companies as well. Yeah.

Alan (29:49):
Yeah. And I think the great way to like, get to know people if you know, the listeners like, Oh, I don’t have a lot of people I can like tap into, or I just recently moved to San Francisco or new city. I don’t have any friends or how do I get started? I’ve always, usually so I to kind of steer the conversation into this topic. But

Vincent (30:10):
So like if you move to a brand new city, if you move to a brand new city, like San Francisco, you don’t know anybody in San Francisco, other than like this one person that you maybe went to high school eight years, and you haven’t talked to them since, what would you do if you move to a brand new place?

Alan (30:25):
Yeah. I think candidates now are better suited in these situations to find a solution. Like, I think the four, when they, before the internet really took off, like it’s harder. Right. but now yeah, Facebook groups. Yeah. Linkedin groups, you have meetups, right? Yeah. Even Eventbrite. Right. They have, they promote these, these these like social gatherings even have like social sports league that individuals can enter like very creative ways that you don’t think you can find a connection to a job opportunity in, right. So those are like the five things I just named, but like, these events are a great way for you to interact with people that’s really outside first outside of your comfort zone. That’s really good. Right. And then second it’s outside of your core network. So it can expose you to maybe different verticals of in this different industries of different job positions, you know, different positions that you don’t even think that you’d be a good fit for, you know, someone might say, Oh, I think we’re hiring for XYZ.

Alan (31:31):
And it’d be like, Oh, aha. I never thought about that. Maybe I should explore that more. Tell me more. Right. and also like if you follow companies on Twitter, on their social handle, that they promote events that are open to a broad audience at times. Right. And you can just go to their monthly happy hour or monthly tech talks or monthly social gatherings to learn more about that specific company. But I think with social media, with like linked with all these various groups and social like activities one can, it’s easier for someone to like network and to meet someone and make a connection.

Effective ways to network and meet people with similar interests

Vincent (32:10):
Yeah, absolutely. And figure out the networking and the place in time that is most comfortable for you. You know, I think a lot of a misconception is if you’re an introvert, you just are really uncomfortable with those cocktail party type environments. Like some of the digital networking is actually potentially just as strong, if not stronger, because you don’t actually have to wait for that physical in-person event. It’s kind of like always happening. So in the show notes for this episode Alan are going to pull together like all of the places that we would go if we were looking to quickly build a network in a city or in a new industry globally, and we’ve mentioned, he’s mentioned some of them already, you got LinkedIn, you have Facebook groups, you have meetup which is a name of a type of event, but also a name of a company that has an app that also does meet ups.

Vincent (32:58):
So there’s both of those eventbrite is a really great one. And then also, you know, of course in tech, there are Slack groups they’re a little controversial right now because you can only be in so many Slack groups. But Slack is a collaboration tool that a lot of companies use and people have created Slack groups, which are kind of, you know, little communities and they’re similar to chat rooms where their live chat rooms with a lot of people. And that’s another way of being able to reach out to folks as well. What’s a mistake that you’ve seen others make in a job search. You mentioned each resume is getting a brief look. And I think a lot of folks who are writing a resume, like they, they think it’s like their craft, right? Like it they’re spending they’re, they’re pouring their heart and soul into this document that somebody is going to sit down with a highlighter and just carefully digest every single line. And unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen. I know when I was screening resumes at best buy, like, you know, that you have hundreds of resumes for every single open position, like, what are the, what are the absolute like, do not do this, or you should absolutely do this on a resume.

Alan (34:10):
I mean, like what my team and I look for, and this is going to be like very like specific to tech since we hire software engineers and mobile engineers. But I think it’s also very transferable and applicable to the general audiences. Make sure the formatting is clear and concise. I think having variations of different formatting, whether it be fun, sizes, color spacing, right. That plays into effect whether a recruiter spends either 10 more seconds or not, and those 10 seconds extra seconds can be very valuable. Right. so make sure the formatting is like, it’s really clear and concise and that it’s consistent because if it’s not they could recruit them more like most likely past, because it’s hard. It’s really hard on the eyes, hard to read and hard to understand. So therefore they won’t spend. Yeah.

Vincent (35:03):
But it also shows your attention to detail. Once you’re going to get into the job, you know, if you’re going into a role, you know, those, that is the difference. Especially if you’re coding, that’s the difference between a bug, a full outage and code that’s delivered and makes it through quality testing processes and as stable in production.

Alan (35:21):
Yeah, totally. I agree with you. I think the second thing is a lot of people spend too much time writing the responsibilities under each, each employer, each job and they focus too much on that. Having clear bullet points, one, two sentence per responsibility, I think is enough rather than the whole paragraph. Right? I would say just clear, concise, like one to two sentence about your primary functions, right? I like a lot of people over complicate their resume with secondary responsibilities that may necessarily may actually hurt you in the application process of the resume review. So save those secondary responsibilities as Backpocket content. So when you do go into an interview and you need to leverage something, some material that needs to recall from you can basically use that forum in an interview process, an onsite interview, or a phone interview to recall those information, to spend four or five bullet points of your primary responsibility, things that you do on a day-to-day basis. That was really important to the business outcome of your job right now. And then focus on that rather than have typing a long-winded paragraph and being too thorough.

Vincent (36:37):
Yeah. And that’s something for those that are part of our Vyten program or Vyten insiders program. We teach out all the time that you’re likely going to type out all those bullet points kind of as you’re drafting out your resume. But as you go to actually submit your resume to a company for a particular role, you always want to narrow down those bullet points and that might be different role, the role that you apply for because some of those bullet points might be more applicable to another job, but not applicable to a different one at a different company that you’re applying for. But the best that you can do is take the job description of the role that you really want and just match up the bullet points. If the job description is saying that, you know, a certain skillset or a certain experience is relevant to that role, and that’s one of your 10 bullet points, you shouldn’t put all 10 bullet points and make it really hard for the recruiter to find that you should really just narrow it down to the exact bullet point because the recruiter oftentimes is going to be looking at that resume, looking for that experience.

Alan (37:34):
And actually, I just, this is brought up. I just remember when I applied to Salesforce, I actually fixed my resume. So it’s tailored towards hiring and recruiting, like best buy. I think I listed like achievers award sales, like attaching accessories like that. Doesn’t, it’s not relevant to the recruiter role at Salesforce when I applied. So I quickly changed things up on my resume to make it really applicable to the role I was applying for, which was more hiring and focusing on recruiting and like leading a team and training people when I applied for the role with the role at Salesforce as a recruiter.

Vincent (38:13):
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s what, that’s absolutely what somebody should do. You know, we, you talked a little bit about primary responsibility, secondary responsibilities and you and the environment. And in many retail environments, everybody’s primary responsibility is go seven. But you have all of these other secondary responsibilities too. And if you just shift your bullet points, maybe have three bullet points out of the five, be focused on hiring onboarding coach and, and you know, things like payroll that then shows that company. If you want to make a full jump into that area for that, what used to be your secondary responsibility and make that your primary responsibility, that’s how you show that you have that experience already. Yeah. So I completely agree with that. And what advice would you give to somebody who’s looking to get into a company like Salesforce or tech in general?

Alan (39:05):
It’s a constantly changing environment. So stay on top of the news. Stay on top of what’s, whether the new companies that are about to IPO just read more about how companies are using various technologies and various tools and platforms to better change the world in some format. I mean, it’s constantly evolving. I mean, tech in the nineties and the 2000 is very different than how tech it is now, right? Cloud computing. Wasn’t the thing. Now it’s everything right before we used to install CDs, right. And licenses per CDs on physical desktop. Now you try to buy a desktop. It might be hard to buy one and find a CD to install software on there. So it’s constantly changing. I think, understanding the evolution behind these changes is very helpful to understanding like how companies, especially tech companies are so important.

Helpful resources to stay up to date with what’s happening in your industry

Vincent (40:01):
Yeah. What are the resources that you think are really great to be able to keep up with that type of really industry or company news?

Alan (40:09):
Yeah, my favorite like tech crunch, Gizmodo sometimes I’m on Reddit. But I’m very cautious with what I read on Reddit, just because like, you know, it’s basically everyone’s opinions, so there might not be an ounce of troop, but it does keep me entertained. And yeah,

Vincent (40:28):
You know, tech, but tech crunch, tech crunch, Gizmodo and gadget, really great reputable sources to be able to keep up with that industry.

Alan (40:40):
And sometimes even companies that I actively follow, they have their own blogs, right? Like Salesforce have their own blog. You mentioned Slack, Slack has their own blogs. So company blogs are also a good way of understanding factual evidence, right. Of something that’s going on with the company.

Vincent (40:55):
Yeah. And you know, one last question, our listeners and, you know, a lot of folks, this has been a really great episode, where can they connect with you online, if you want to keep this conversation going, if they have questions for you.

Alan (41:07):
Yeah. LinkedIn, LinkedIn is the best way to connect.

Vincent (41:10):
So for LinkedIn, we’ll put a link to your LinkedIn in the show notes for this episode as well. Thanks so much everybody for listening in Alan. Thanks for joining us as a guest. This has been a really great episode in terms of understanding, you know, what that process is like to being able to work at a company like Salesforce or equip a Salesforce company. We wrap up this episode and Alan’s also included a lot of other resources such as something that you can listen to called the passionate few. We’re going to put a link to that audio episode, which has been one of his favorite episodes and resources that he’s found along the way that has been really motivating in his career as well. Alan, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks. Have a good one.

Thank you so much for listening to the show this week. If this podcast was helpful to you, the best thing that you can do to support is please consider rating and reviewing the show on Apple podcasts. This helps us help more people just like you move towards the life that they visit our podcasts on Apple podcasts. Then score to the bottom, tap the rate with five stars and just leave a sentence or two about what you loved most about this episode. You can subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts, or you can write to I’m Vincent Phamvan, and you’ve been listening to How I Got Here. This podcast is brought to you by Vyten career coaching.

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