Today's content is about understanding just how much you are capable of - the sky's the limit! We will be talking to 2 young, successful professionals about their professional experiences, and asking for their advice for young job seekers. Some of these questions may look similar - we have asked these professionals some of the same questions you answered during the first day of the challenge. See how the answers here match up with yours. This should provide you with some food for thought in your job search, and some great advice on how to stand out from other candidates.
Our first interviewee is Anastacia:
Hey there, I'm Anastacia! I was born in Minsk, Belarus, but since I was little I have been moving around Europe a lot with my family. I lived in Belgium, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, and currently — I'm based in the US. I speak 7 languages to various extent. I have a BA in Corporate Finance and upon graduation, I spent 8 years working in management consulting and fintech. I gave a lot to work, but very little was left for me, and at a certain point an unavoidable burnout came calling. Today, I look at both work and life in general in a completely different way. I lead a YouTube channel as well as a blog, dedicated to Personal Development, and am in the process of getting my Master’s degree in Education (Ed.M.) at Harvard. On my channel, I talk about topics of learning, productivity, work, life hacks, planning, time management, efficiency, learning languages, education, and everything that touches upon improving oneself when it comes to things both personal and professional.
We also spoke to the Director of Europe Language Jobs, Carlos:
Hola! I am Carlos Valcárcel. I have lived and worked in several countries, explored many different work environments, and I consider myself an entrepreneur. After finishing my degree in Business and Economics, I found myself not very enthusiastic about a concrete career, so I enrolled in a dynamic type of education which encouraged me to create my own business. This is where everything started for me; first working on my own, I co-founded 2 startups. Later, I joined Europe Language Jobs when it was just a project, working to help transform it into what it is today. My team and I have been working hard for 5 years to give shape to the biggest job board for multilinguals in Europe.
[Anastacia] I realized that working for a larger cause - one that goes beyond my personal professional wellbeing - is an eternal source of energy and motivation that no well-paying or prestigious job is able to match for me. Once I knew where and how I could contribute to my community, it became so much easier to focus my efforts and keep going, even when things didn't always work out.
[Carlos] Believe that what you are doing makes sense and is helping you grow. Also, having a passion for what you do. As Ken Robinson says, we need to find our “element” - that is something that you like doing and that you are good at.
[Anastacia] As a young professional, I often lacked the patience and faith to see through small incremental steps that eventually lead to a big change. I would always go for the largest quickest "payout", which did take me places, but not necessarily places where I wanted to be. The experience of building up my YouTube channel changed that. It took me four years to make my first earning via my blog, but it taught me what I can accomplish if only I continue to show up every day.
[Carlos] I am not sure if I can speak for someone who has reached success yet, I guess it depends on what we think success means. I think it is a process and it has it ups and downs. We have to enjoy the journey, learn from our mistakes, and don’t dig ourselves a hole when things are not going our way. I think it is important not to be too negative when things are not going well and not being extra effusive when things are going well.
[Anastacia] I'm on a mission to educate every student and young adult about the evidence-based productivity and learning strategies that will make their work and academic life healthier and more successful. I'm extremely grateful for being able to make a living from something I would readily do pro-bono. However, I want to stress that there was a great deal of intentionality coupled with years of patience in me coming to the point where I'm at. You cannot just "get lucky" with things like this. You probably need a bit of luck in everything you undertake, but most importantly, you need to commit, use every mistake to grow and be ready to work hard long before you see any payback.
[Carlos] I am passionate about online business. The fast-changing market present challenges constantly, which means that we need to be constantly innovating and thinking of new projects. I like doing this and trying to become a useful asset to the society.
[Anastacia] Throughout the six years of blogging, I have received countless letters from viewers whose lives I was humbled to impact with my videos. People write about mastering foreign languages, getting into the university of their dreams, successfully switching careers to something they love, regaining their confidence, learning how to organize themselves. All other achievements fade in comparison to how meaningful and authentic reading each one of these stories makes my life feel.
[Carlos] Probably my biggest achievement has been turning Europe Language Jobs from an idea to a key player in the multilingual jobs market in Europe. But maybe, one of the achievements I am most proud of was becoming an entrepreneur after finishing my studies. It meant choosing a very different path than the one society was asking me to follow - following my passions. Looking back, this is what has made it possible for me to be here as Director of Europe Language Jobs today.
[Anastacia] Live communication skills. Working in an edited medium, where I get as many takes as I want, plus the unlimited reign in post-production, really does not support you in honing your live dialogue skills. I'm working very dedicatedly on it by putting myself in all sorts of (sometimes embarrassing) situations where I learn to communicate with clarity, logic, and succinctness on the first take.
[Carlos] We need to keep improving and learning. Currently, I am investigating how to improve social communication and in particular corporate communication. Also, I am very active in everything that has to do with Growth Hacking, a concept that I found fascinating and that is helping Europe Language Jobs to keep expanding.
[Anastacia] I believe 50% of success lies in creating good habits. Work-life balance to me is simply healthy robust habits. Among other things, I try not to be on my phone or computer past 8 PM, get out into nature weekly, and sleep 8 hours every night.
[Carlos] I must admit that separating both has not always been easy. But I came to realize that doing sports has helped me in separating both, and not taking my work problems home or vice versa.
[Anastacia] When I go through the applications we receive, I look at what the applicant says about how they can add value to our team, and whether it is expressed in a concise, authentic, and attentive to details manner. The ideal application for me is roughly the following "I know your firm is doing X - I can help with Y in the X - I'm good at Y because... - I'm interested because... ".
[Carlos] In Europe Language Jobs, we look mainly for motivation. If a candidate is showing us that energy and enthusiasm about the company and the positions, they have 80% of the process done.
[Anastacia] In my books, a growth mindset makes a person invincible. If you see mistakes and bumps on the road as a chance to become better, little can sidetrack you. There truly isn't a day when I don't facepalm myself over a mistake I made. However, I've trained myself to follow up with an "alright, that was wrong, so how will I approach it differently next time"? If, however, mistakes discourage you, please remember that the growth mindset is an acquired skill. A great starting point for you would be reading Stanford's Carol Dweck's book "Mindset", who is the author behind the fixed / growth mindsets research.
[Carlos] As mentioned before, a candidate who is passionate about the job would be able to learn anything. I would say that analytical skills and creativity are maybe the two most important skills in an online business like ours.
[Anastacia]Talking to people in your field is the most effective way to learn about the myriad of options that you might not even consider. But do not set out on a round of networking looking for a job, look for ideas and knowledge instead!
[Carlos] Candidates should knock on as many doors as possible. It is important that they can compare and decide what is best for them. There are many options available: Traditional job boards, niche job boards, recruitment agencies, Linkedin, universities careers area, multinationals internship programs… I think a curious candidate should be in a few of these places at the same time.
[Anastacia] Read and remember about the authors and screenwriters who were rejected by dozens and dozens of studios and publishers, only to produce a best-seller or block-buster in the end. Perseverance coupled with reflecting and learning from your experiences always leads to results. Sometimes your end goal will evolve in the process as you grow, but it will surely take you to a better place. Just keep showing up!
[Carlos] Job searching is in a way a process to explore yourself and find out what you really want to do in life. Internships are a great way to discover things about yourself and to try different things. We are asked to choose which path we want to follow very early in life, but we need to keep exploring until we find what we like and where we can excel.
By this point, we hope you are feeling motivated and inspired! You are almost ready to start your job search! Tomorrow, we will be sharing some key organisational tips and tricks to help you stay organised during your job search. See you there!