#1. It’s important to get a job or internship.

I know some people would automatically assume that getting an internship or job during college is a given. However, there are some parents out there who’d rather their child solely focus on studying and nothing else. Well NEWSFLASH strict, conservative parents that are probably Asian like mine. We have TONS of free time in college and we CAN handle the extra responsibility. Most of our time is not spent studying, but rather on distractions from studying, like television, internet, computer games, sleeping, facebooking, partying…drinking. Am I right or am I right?

I worked during the majority of my time in college, but it was just to earn extra money and wasn’t related to a possible career path for myself. For me, I wish I took advantage of more internship opportunities, especially in fields I was interested in. Maybe I was too lazy or thought I was too busy, but I wish I realized the importance of internships sooner.

There’s no excuse for not getting a part time job or completing multiple internships during the span of your college career. Most likely you will figure out how badly you SHOULD have worked/interned during your late junior or senior year. One day you will attempt to write your resume and realize you have nothing to show. Or, once you graduate, start work, or go to graduate school, you’ll come to realize that you’re not really passionate about what you’re doing/studying and wish you found out sooner.

Interning will help you 1) manage your time between studying, working, sleeping and partying etc. 2) help you understand the value of a dollar (especially if you do unpaid work) and 3) give you real world experience. Internships are a great learning experience and you will always walk away learning something. Yes, even from those internships where you finish everything assigned to you in the first hour and realize you have 6 more hours to go and are too scared to ask your super busy boss for more busy work.

Did you work or take advantage of any internships in college? Has an internship ever deterred you from a certain career path?


Sunday was kind of a crazy day. Looking back now, it doesn’t seem like a big deal in retrospect to what’s happening in the world today or what happens almost everyday, but in the heat of the moment the day seemed like the results of my own version of the Butterfly effect, a series of epic fails.

My parents picked me up from the train station, which is about one hour from their house. Upon arrival, my Dad informed me of a “little problem,” our car wouldn’t start.

EPIC FAIL #2: I greeted my Mom who was upset that my Dad had failed to call TripleA half an hour ago when the incident first occurred (instead he delayed the call once I arrived).

EPIC FAIL #3: Finally after half an hour, the TripleA man came. The problem turned out to be the car battery. My Dad thought he had replaced the battery the year before, but it was the battery in our other car he had replaced. It was a point of contention between my parents whether to change the batter then and there, or wait until later when they had the appropriate funds. We ended up changing it to avoid further battery failage. Problem solved.

EPIC FAIL #4: After, I insisted that we eat right away because I couldn’t wait any longer. After the four hour train ride without sustenance, and the extra half hour waiting for TripleA, I couldn’t stand the extra hour drive without food.

EPIC FAIL #5: My Dad, hoping to avoid car door scratches, parked in an open space. After we finished dinner, we made our way back to the car only to be welcomed by an uninvited visitor. A car had slammed into the passenger side of our car, practically t-boning it!

EPIC FAIL #6: In order to separate the collision, the driver who slammed his car into ours would simply have to back up. The problem was, his car wouldn’t reverse. And there was no way for our car to back out without damaging half the side of our car.

EPIC FAIL #7: The other driver did not want to call the tow truck company because he wanted us to back our car up. My Dad refused to call the towing company because he did not want to be responsible for picking up the tab when it wasn’t his fault to begin with.

EPIC FAIL #8: My Dad and the manager of the restaurant insisted we call the police. We phoned our insurance agent and they advise that we wait for the police as well. However, because no one was injured (we have this to be VERY thankful for), we were told that they would send a police car after they took care of the more important calls (understandable). We ending up never filing the police report because the police never showed up (after three hours of waiting!).

Within those three hours, both parties were able to exchange info and call their respective insurance companies. As to whether the man’s insurance company will cover everything, we have yet to know.

As my mom and I chatted, we tried to pinpoint the incident that started it all. We pinned it to the obvious: our car battery dying. Quick to blame, my Mom pointed out that if my Dad had only called the TripleA agent sooner (See: Epic Fail #2), we would have finished dinner sooner and thus alluding our current situation. Or if only my Dad had replaced the battery earlier (See: Epic Fail #3) after the first time it showed signs of dying (it had died once before on my Mom), maybe this whole thing could have been avoided.
To play devil’s advocate, my Dad suggested another possibility. Maybe if he had called TripleA sooner, we would have finished eating earlier and one of us could have been in the car when it was hit, or worse, inbetween the car. The wheels in my head began turning…maybe it was my fault! If I hadn’t suggested eating right away instead of waiting to go home (See: Epic Fail #4), none of this would have ever happened.

Who knows what different chain of events could have occurred if XYZ happened or if YZX didn’t happen.

“Butterfly Effect. A name given to the extreme sensitivity of chaotic systems, in which small changes or perturbations lead to drastically different outcomes”


There will always be what if’s. What I learned from this situation is that we should be thankful for what we have. In our case, it was that no one was hurt.

When bad things happen, it’s easy to look for specific reasons why things went bad. If I did this differently…If I only took this shorcut…If I just listened to my instincts…If only I said this…If only I didn’t say this…. The possibilities are endless. You can drive yourself crazy thinking about every little detail.

It’s true, that there are times when you can learn from your mistakes and do things differently the next time around. But sometimes, like with what happened to me and my parents, sometimes you can’t blame any one event. You cannot anticipate or explain every cause and effect in your life.

Sometimes things happen randomly in the Universe and will forever remain unexplained. It’s not your fault, you were simply present at the wrong place/wrong time. It’s how you react to what happens and what you take away from each lesson that matters. If you can learn a life lesson, at least take away something from a particularly crappy situation– a new lease on life, a better appreciation for your loved ones, a focus on a different set of priorities, etc… maybe it did, in fact, happen for a reason.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what the future holds for me. Every once in awhile I begin to second guess my journey. I feel like I’m running out of time, as if what happens in the next few months will determine the rest of my life.

If real life was like American Idol, I would be in trouble. There are similarities between me and some of the hopefuls we see on American Idol. Their dream is to make it big doing what they love, so that they can provide for their family or to become famous. Like the contestants, I want to show the judges what I’m made of, that I’ve got the talent and drive to make it. Unfortunately I, like some few American Idol contestants, also possess the all or nothing mentality. It’s now or never, everything or nothing at all. Sometime we start to believe that this opportunity will determine our future for the rest of your life. When in reality, this is just a stepping stone the journey. A “no” doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road, and a “yes” doesn’t automatically mean a one way ticket to the Top 24. You have to get through Hollywood week first (those not familiar with American Idol should know that Hollywood week is akin to Hell week).

Seeing many around me reaching not only their goals, but their dream goals, inspires me to no end. At the same time however, their success makes me think about myself and how I don’t want to be the person who settles for just anything in life.

Thanks to some very wise career gurus, it hit me that what ever the next step in my life may be, it won’t define my professional career forever. I’m still young and this is only the beginning. I have certain goals and dreams I want to accomplish (i.e. relocating to NYC see: Empire State of Mind), but taking care of the basics like bills, food, and shelter can’t be ignored. Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Ultimately everyone wants to find their dream job, but sometimes we may need to accept our situation and work until we are stable enough to pursue our dream goals.

What obstacle(s) stand/have stood in your way of achieving certain goals and what steps did you take to overcome them?

So you’ve diligently applied to as many quality jobs as you could find and now are left to strum your fingers in anticipation while patiently awaiting a callback, a rejection email…anything! But let’s face it, you can’t be job searching hunting 24/7, you need time for other things. You know you should be doing something productive, anything at all to keep yourself from going stir crazy (sorry, pigging out in front of the television shouldn’t be an option).

Just think. This is a golden opportunity.What have you always wanted to do in the past that you weren’t able to accomplish because you were “too busy” with school, club meetings, or your part-time job? Now’s the time to explore those possibilities. Don’t waste this time. Sooner or later YOU WILL BE EMPLOYED. I know it seems pretty far fetched right now, but someday you will be begging for more hours in the day.

For me, I decided to take up self-defense classes. In high school, my mom bugged me to take self-defense classes, but I ignored her. However, I decided to listen to her (10 years later) and finally research some classes. The real world is a very dangerous place, especially for a 5 foot 3 person like myself (I hate the feeling of being vulnerable in a dark parking structure at night). So I’m planning on taking Jujitsu classes a couple times a week to strengthen my defenses.

Or it can even be simple as reading. I’ve been a huge fan of reading and never had the time to read novels that I was actually interested in. I always had assigned reading to prioritize before I could even think about picking up a book for pleasure.

So what have you always wanted to do? Are there any activities or hobbies you found yourself too busy for? Go do it!

Here are some ideas:
– Start a blog
– Catch up on your reading
Self-Educate yourself (Just because you’re not in school anymore doesn’t mean you can’t learn new things. You also should also brush up on some work skills. Are you really an expert in Excel, do you really know how to use (insert program here)?
– Take up a recreational sport
– Get in shape (workout)
– Take up photography, upload your pictures to flickr.com (You don’t need an expensive camera, a camera doesn’t make a photograph, the photographer does)
– Volunteer at a local organization
– Clean your closet (Have a garage sale and makes some $)
– Tutor local students for extra money
– Plan a potential business
– Learn how to play an instrument
– Learn how to cook
– Visit relatives
– Get a temporary part-time job

(Disclaimer: Don’t stop job hunting after you sent out the first 10, 20 or 30 resumes, or gone on 2 interviews. You need to actively search for jobs because not everyone will give you a call. I sent in around 20-30 applications when I interned in Washington DC for a summer and only got 3 offers.)

Working abroad has been amazing. I’ve been living a dream I’ve always had for myself. However, my internship has ended and I am slowly making my descent from cloud 9 back into reality. My current destination: unemployment.

Finding a job (or internship) isn’t exactly next on my life list. But if not dealt with, it will ultimately hinder me from accomplishing other things on my list. Unfortunately, unemployment comes with an unwelcomed friend. Say hello to Doubt! Doubt has many atimes become my own worst enemy. Where do I start? Am I qualified enough? What if I bomb my interview? I don’t have enough experience, how will I find a job? What’s worse though, is becoming BFF with Doubt and making friends with Fear, Boredom and Misery along the way.

The moment you start getting worried because you can’t see your future clearly is the moment where the claws of fear and boredom will get a hold of you again.

Untemplater Manifesto

If you are unemployed and recognize the need to find a job, you are probably in what I call the “job searching” zone. You’ve probably done some surfing on Craigslist and submitted a resume or two. But let me guess? After continually seeing the lack of job opportunities, you declare yourself hopeless and curse your luck for graduating during a sucky job market!

The “job searching” zone is not an ideal position to be in and we’ve all been there or are currently residing there now. It’s good that we recognize the problem, but it’s better if we solve it (aka actually find a job). To accomplish this, we should aim to be in the “job hunting” zone.

A “job hunt” differs from a “job search”. When we are in a job hunt, we are control. We are prepared to face the wilderness and bring home the goods. To be fully equipped for a job hunt you will need the proper equipment. You can’t hunt game without some kind of weapon, right? A hunter cannot bring home game without proper hunting equipment. Nor can we as job hunters bring home a job, without being properly equipped.


1. The Do it attitude.

When you’re in the wilderness, it’s easy to complain about the lack of food. But do you avoid the situation or find something else to keep your mind off food? No! While you might try to at first, you will ultimately realize that if you don’t actually do the hunting, you will starve, and die. The end.

It’s easy to complain about your current situation. But we have to realize that nothing productive will get done by complaining or by avoidance. Only you can provide yourself with a Do it attitude, and unfortunately it will be hard to accomplish each step without it.

2. A fully optimized Resume.

Naturally, as a hunter, we need the right tools to hunt game. If we want to bring home the biggest and the best game, we need the best tools. You can’t kill a lion with a slingshot.

Make sure your resume is the best it can be. Spend time on it. Don’t send out a resume that took you 15 minutes to do because you’re in a hurry to find a job. There are many places to find a template for resumes online, I recommended a great tutorial in my last post.

3. A proper cover letter.

Hunters are not going to wear bright orange or bright red when they go out to hunt. It can scare away the game, or it might give a bear or wolf the wrong impression.

In your cover letter, you want to be direct in who you are and what you want. Limit your cover letter to one page. Be direct and straight to the point. Employers are reading through hundreds of cover letters and will drop you if you go on for 3 pages about yourself. Don’t exaggerate on your cover letter. You may end up at an interview where the employer actually expects you to produce that degree from Harvard you boasted about.

4. Look in the right places.

Don’t hunt in a cave where it’s dark and you can’t see properly. The bullet may end up ricocheting off a cave wall and shooting you in the foot.

While Craigslist may seem like a convenient place to look for a job, you don’t want to limit yourself to a site that also has many fake listings. Broaden your horizon. Many universities and community colleges have a career center you can access if you are a student or alumni. While it usually comes with a fee if you are not a student or alumni, it is still a good resource compared to job sites online that are ridden with fake listings. Many of the employers who post on college career sites must be legitimate before they can post a job.

5. Bring proper back up support.

While you might like hunting alone (you may get distracted, you might be embarrassed of your hunting skills or you don’t want anyone telling you how to hunt), we should always hunt with a buddy. The other hunter will help us when we get discouraged when there is no game, help us when we are lost in the woods, or help us fix our hunting gear from time to time.

There will be a time when you need support during the job hunt. Support can be in the form of friend who you can vent to about your issues or a friend who will go to the movies with you when you need a break. Support can also be someone who can edit your resume or cover letter for mistakes. It’s also important that we tell everyone in our support system (family, friends, past colleagues) that we are looking for a job. Networking and word of mouth can be a major help when hunting for opportunities.

6. Follow up.

Sometimes it’s important to fire twice to make sure you killed your game (also called the Double Tap in Zombieland).

Stand out from the crowd and follow up with your resume. Half the time your application will end up getting lost during the shuffle– or worse, it will make its way into the SPAM box. State in your cover letter that you will be follow up in two weeks (and don’t forget to actually follow through).

I hope that being armed with this basic foundation will aid you in your hunt. Now it’s time for me to heed my own advice and prepare for tomorrow’s hunt. Good luck!

Happy 2010!

I haven’t blogged since November. So much for progress and accountability, right? Not much has happened between then and now as far as solid job leads back in the U.S. Truthfully, I haven’t fully optimized my job hunting strategy. I feel as though I have been “looking” but not exactly “hunting.” I have 3 weeks before I return stateside and hopefully I will have done some major damage by then.

My efforts since November, however not up to par, did reap some benefits . I was able to land a virtual assistant opportunity! This is great for me as I am still overseas and cannot exactly commute an hour to Los Angeles for an internship, but I can work online 5-15 hours a week from my computer on my own time schedule. What’s great is that this particular project doesn’t take up very much of my time, which leaves me time to work on other projects.

If you are looking for some freelance opportunities both paid and unpaid, there is a great market for virtual assistants these days. While I am currently in an unpaid position, I still feel this opportunity is worthy of my time simply for the experience and may even lead to more opportunities in the future. There are many places you can look for virtual assistant positions online such as UrbanInterns.com and Elance.com.

Before you apply, make sure to update your resume. For me, this blog entry by Jun Loayza on resume optimization was a great guide to revamping my resume. Be sure to check it out!

I composed a very long first post about why I was writing this blog. I decided to scrap it because well…it’s my blog and I can do what I want! Anyway, I think my first post could very well be split into several quality posts on separate topics, so I’ll save it for later.

Right now, the purpose of this blog is to document what’s going on in my life. At the moment, I’m on a personal quest to find an internship (and eventually a job). Not very unique since a million graduates are probably going through similar issues. But it’s what I’m going through right now and it’s constantly at the forefront of my concerns. It’s ironic that people everywhere are going through the same things, yet it’s very easy to feel alone. For me, I hope that by documenting the steps of this journey, I can hold myself accountable for the goals I set out to accomplish. I think accountability is important, especially since I am solely responsible for my future. I want to remain accountable for all the new ideas, plans and goals that I set for myself. There’s a saying that is used often on one of my favorite celebrity gossip sites: “Pictures or it didn’t happen!” Well, I’m tweaking that saying and making it relevant “Blog it or it didn’t happen!”