Q&A with Phoebe Weinstock of The Qualified Guide
By Natalie Leinbach
It’s safe to say that we have all been through the quarter-life crisis of trying to figure out what to do after college. But none of us could have anticipated the conditions of our world today. As we navigate an ever-changing job market, Phoebe Weinstock from The Qualified Guide has got us covered. Phoebe created The Qualified Guide to be your one-stop-shop resource for career, professional development, fashion, and lifestyle advice. I sat down with Phoebe to learn more.
What makes The Qualified Guide unique?
The advice provided is unique because it's from a perspective that people don’t usually get - advice on how to be the best candidate through the eyes of someone reviewing your candidacy.
What inspired you to start the Guide?
To make a long story short, I started The Qualified Guide when I realized there is no place for college students and recent grads to turn to for relatable, relevant career advice. College career centers aren’t always helpful (in my experience) and sometimes making an appointment to see a counselor felt unnecessary if I just had one question to ask. As a recruiter, I was coming across a lot of mistakes that candidates were making and so I decided to help others prevent those mistakes.
How will recent graduates be affected by the recent economic shutdown?
I don’t want to sugar coat it - recent graduates will be negatively affected by the recent economic shutdown. As frustrating as it is to hear this, I urge recent graduates to use this extra time to take an Excel course to brush up on your skills, get Google Analytics certified, build your professional network, explore a new hobby, and be productive! This way, when it does come time to start interviewing again, you have valuable skills to share with the recruiter.
Is there a way for students to be virtually networking at this time?
Use LinkedIn to look up companies that interest you. If you know anyone personally or if there are any alumni from your school who work there, connect with them first. Send a note with your invitation explaining who you are and why you’re connecting with them. Best case scenario, they answer and you get a contact! If they answer, make sure to follow up to ask them questions. Additionally, I’ve started a new Instagram Live series called Networking From Home. Every Sunday evening I go live with someone from a different industry to talk about how they got to where they are, the skills needed to be successful in their job, and more. All the guests are under 5 years out of college, so their stories and experiences are both relevant and relatable.
How should students approach sending messages when looking to connect?
When it comes to sending a LinkedIn note with your connection invitation, you only get 300 characters so you have to make each one count. Keep in mind that your note should be short, professional, and to the point. My biggest advice when it comes to communicating on LinkedIn is to be strategic- don’t just connect with anyone and everyone. Remember, you should only request to connect with those people to which you have some sort of professional connection.
What general advice do you have for students graduating into our mostly remote economic climate?
If you have secured a job, make sure you’re working the same hours as you would if you were in the office. Being strict with your routine and home office location will allow you to be more successful and productive at work. Be sure to reach out to your Manager and co-workers at least once a day to check-in. It’s essential to keep in touch with your team as often as possible.
Do you have any tips on how recent graduates can navigate a mostly remote job market?
Working and interviewing remotely is not easy. When it comes time to interview via Skype/Zoom/Teams, make sure that your background is professional (a simple white wall is perfect), that you’re wearing an appropriate top, and that your camera is positioned properly. Feel free to take notes as you would if it were an in-person interview but make sure to inform the interviewer so they know you are still paying attention.
Are there some key industries for students to look for a summer internship
I don’t think one particular industry stands out over the rest right now. But, there are definitely companies that are still hiring during this time. If you don’t have an internship locked in for the summer, consider offering your help locally for free. There are so many small businesses that might be in need of an extra set of hands (with gloves of course) that might not be able to pay. If your personal financial situation allows it, remind yourself that any experience is a good experience - paid or not! For example, you can DM that girl on Instagram who started her own tie-dye company while in quarantine. Spend the summer gaining any experience you can and stay busy.
What professional development resources does The Qualified Guide offer for students looking to revise their career path in light of the circumstances?
All of the services I offer are free and can be found at the Qualified Guide. Plus, I always answer emails and DMs on Instagram if you have a question or need quick advice!
What is next for you and the Qualified Guide?
I have some exciting projects in the works with Home from College (website here) that will hopefully come to fruition in the next month or so! (Be sure to tune in to @thequalifiedguide on Instagram to learn more!)