Willy Franzen: How The Internet Has Changed The Job Hunt

According to Willy Franzen, many of us make the mistake of job hunting when we should be “company hunting.” As the founder of OneDayOneJob.com, the 27-year-old Franzen is on a mission to help recent grads find awesome entry-level jobs. To achieve this, he’s been profiling cool, relevant companies – one a day – for the past 4.5 years. That means ODOJ now houses 1,500+ company profiles, each accompanied by companion job openings and internship listings.

I recently interviewed Franzen about how anyone in the job market can improve their job-seeking tactics as well as about his own experiences bootstrapping a web business.

What are some of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make?

People lead with the job and I think that’s totally wrong. You go to the job board and you find a job. It’s medieval. If you don’t understand what the company is and what they do, the job doesn’t have meaning. It’s just a piece of a puzzle. You have this little piece but you don’t understand the context on how it fits in.

Instead of looking at a job posting and applying for it, take apart the details inside. Look at the company. Look at the name of the person who posted it. Is it a hiring manager or recruiter? Look at the news. What’s happening with the company? What about the industry? There’s so many plot and sub-plots here that you need to understand to be successful in that job.

How have the Internet and social media changed the job search?

The truth is that the technology doesn’t really change anything in terms of what you need to do. It changes the tactics but it doesn’t really change the strategy. You still need to make the same impression. You still need to show the person that you can do the job and that you’re going to make them look good.But technology changes things in a few ways. First and foremost, you can learn so much more about the company and the job than you ever could have before. That can’t be understated. To find the information I put on One Day, One Job, I’d have to spend weeks researching each company because I’d have to dig through old newspaper articles, old magazine articles – it would be impossible. Now all that information is at your fingertips.

People lead with the job and I think that’s totally wrong. You go to the job board and you find a job. It’s medieval.

The second thing is that contacting people is so easy now. It’s really easy to email, but it’s also really easy to continue that conversation in other ways. If you apply through some black hole of an applicant tracking system and your application doesn’t end up in front of the person you want to reach, you can still find a way to connect with the people at the company. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, email, through a company blog…there’s so many different ways to get in touch.

The third thing is that it’s really easy to make something compelling and put it in front of the employer. Before you’d usually have to actually get an interview to make an impression. Now you can make an online portfolio or resume in digital form that’s going to get their attention quickly. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to make that thing, but it’s easy to get it in front of them.

The fourth thing I would touch on is that it has never been easier to improve yourself as a candidate. If you want to learn something, there’s so many online resources to make yourself more qualified for a job. If you have basic HTML coding skills but want to learn Javascript or PHP, you don’t need to go find someone to teach you. You can go online and you can learn it in a matter of weeks or months.

I think most job seekers miss out on this. They spend months or even years applying to jobs and they are the same candidate that they were when they started the process. They’re not constantly improving and there’s no excuse for that now.

Most job seekers spend months or even years applying to jobs and they are the same candidate that they were when they started the process.

Shifting gears to your own story… Where did the idea for One Day, One Job come from?

I graduated from Cornell with a major in Industrial and Labor Relations and after spending two full summers in an HR office, I realized HR wasn’t quite the right fit for me.  I wanted to do something more creative.  I wanted to do something that was more core to the value of the businesses offered.

As I started looking for jobs,  I just wasn’t happy with the opportunities I was finding.  I noticed that there was just no real good online guide for new grads. There’s nothing saying “Here are your options.”  It was all about what job opportunities are available “right now.” I wanted to know “what’s possible?”

Eventually I came up with the idea of featuring one job every day.  Instead of throwing thousands or millions of job listings at the job seeker, what about going really in-depth on one?

When did the idea become a real project you were going to pursue?

The really big thing for me was when I decided to develop a site on my own. It made the idea so much more realistic, because I didn’t have to invest so much money in it. So I put together some other content and I said, “On November 12th I’m starting.” And then I posted every single day for the past four and a half years.

One Day, One Job seems to be about as lean and bootstrappy as you can get.  What did it take to get the site off the ground?

I like bootstrapping because it gives you a ton of flexibility.  You can try different things.  People often want to get investments and funding, and they don’t understand that the business that they want to build isn’t compatible with that.

For example, take a business that makes a million dollars a year. For most people, that would be extremely personally rewarding.  It would be an ultimate financial win.  For a venture capitalist though, it would be a huge failure.

I said “On November 12th I’m starting.” And then I posted every single day for the past four and a half years.

As for actually going about it, the most valuable things to me have been an understanding family and an understanding girlfriend. Having people who care about you and are willing to show a little faith in you, even if you’re not delivering results right away, can be really helpful.

The other key thing that I would say is that you’re investing yourself. Even if you don’t have a ton of success in terms of your business, you’re more employable.  I could go get a job at a ton of companies instantly just by showing them what I’ve built at One Day, One Job, and when I graduated from college, that definitely wasn’t the case. I’ve learned so much and have so many different skills now because of the bootstrapping experience.

Any final bits of advice for people looking to bootstrap their own business or just find an incredible job?

The key thing is just constantly try to keep improving. If you constantly are working towards something you’re going to be in a much better situation in three, six, twelve months.

It’s kind of like lifting weights. Every day if you do a little bit more, you get a lot stronger. If you do the same thing day, after day, after day, you don’t get any stronger. You just get really good at lifting the same amount of weight.

Don’t try to do it all at once but instead try to build on even the smallest of successes, [then] you’re going to build a really favorable position for yourself. That’s what’s going to give you the flexibility to actually do what you want to do.

Todd Anderson

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Todd Anderson is an editorial assistant for 99U. He is also an NYC-based performance poet and the producer of the Poetry Observed video series.
load comments (16)
  • someguywithamask

    In the ideal world, we “job seekers” are looking for a great company with a good business environment to work for however we are at a down market, employers have the advantage and they are going to get a better bang for the buck. The problem with “us” newly grads aren’t uneducated ways to apply for a job is that we are competing with 3+ years of newly grads with more experience and looking for the same jobs. If I just recently graduated from a mediocre-University with a ok 3.3-3.5 GPA vs. Someone with a year experience with a no name college with a 3.2 GPA guess who the employer will ask to come in for an interview. 
    The Problem i believe is a mixture of college education and a shitty market for employees. I wish we can make it so general – education in college is optional and not a requirement for a major. We are literally wasting 2 years which is around 10k in loans to learn something that we are not going to actively use in our jobs. I would also would have a class in which real- professions from different firms give a real world idea of what that particular person do in a day to day, month to month, year to year schedule. 

  • Greg

    Completely agree about company hunting. Take a look at ViewsOnYou.com to match yourself with the perfect company.
    How do you fit with the culture of Apple? Are you more risk averse than Microsoft employees? It’s all here… 

  • Shipstrong

    As a 9-5 art director and a moonlight personal
    trainer/nutrition coach the weight-lifting analogy really resonates with
    me.   I always find it interesting how
    people tend to be more accepting of the “a little bit more, a little bit better
    everyday” in the context of health and fitness yet are hesitant to apply the
    same thoughts towards career progression and development.   Now
    more than ever an applicant needs to be agile and willing to expand beyond
    traditional academic skill-sets.  While
    it would be ideal if this learning and training was part of a recruitment and
    training program, the simple truth is that in a competitive job market you need
    to put this time in on your own. 

  • ian jackson

    Creative CommentingWhen you are running a website, you can face quite a bit of confusion as you try to figure out exactly what you need to do (that is, exactly what you can do!) in order to boost your traffic. You may have tried what you thought was everything – digging into all the SEO tips and tricks you have come across in your study – and still felt like you have come up short of the things you can be doing. And what you may have failed to realize is that commenting on websites and blogs is actually one of the best (and most personable) ways to boost the traffic on your own website! When you comment on others’ sites, you will quickly see an uptick in the traffic on your own site – and when you learn how to comment creatively and effectively, this “small uptick” can grow into something much bigger.The first thing you should do, in your aim to generate traffic through comments, is to find popular blogs whose readers are likely to be interested in your site. Pay attention to these blogs for a few days, and figure out what time of day the posts are typically posted. Many bloggers either have a general time of day during which their posts regularly hit the web, or even have a time of day at which they schedule their blogs to post. When you have determined what this time is, you can make sure you are leaving one of the first comments on the blog post. By doing this – leaving an early comment that is relevant and engaging – you will find that a lot of the people who read the post after you end up visiting your site as well.Now, one of the mistakes you will want to avoid when commenting is making your comment sound like an advertisement for yourself or your site. Make your goal be as follows: To always leave comments that are engaging and relevant, and that could never be misconstrued as an ad or a “plug.”Regular readers (which is exactly who you are trying to attract to your site!) are far less likely to visit your site if they feel you are trying to use your comment as a means to more visitors. But if you instead approach your comments as if you are truly trying to add to the thoughts of the blog post itself, you will be far more likely to generate extra traffic.And the best way to see a significant boost in traffic through commenting is to remain visible in the same circles. Think of it the same way you would think of impressions in advertising: the more often people see you on the blogs they frequent, the more likely they are to visit (and explore!) your website – and the more valuable commenting will continue to become for you.

  • ian jackson

    Headlines That Actually WorkIn order for you to achieve success with your website – regardless of whether you are using it in order to promote your business, or are using it as a form of business in its own right – you will need to understand how to grab people with the headlines on your page. After all, people are unlikely to spend any significant amount of time on your page if your headlines are dull and unappealing – but as simple as this sounds in theory, actually figuring out how to come up with headlines that work can be a bit more difficult.There are certainly no “rules” for coming up with headlines that actually work – but there are a few guidelines you can follow. And if you follow these guidelines, you will discover that you are experiencing a much greater level of success with the headlines you create.Firstly, you need to understand that you must appeal to the needs of someone in order for your headline to appeal to them. This can sound broad and vague initially, but it becomes a lot clearer when you realize that there are five primary needs that humans have:Physiological: Physiological needs include basic human needs such as food and shelter.Safety: This includes safety and security in an emotional, physical, and financial sense.Social: Humans have a need for love, affection, companionship, and acceptance.Esteem: Humans also need to experience and enjoy achievement, recognition, attention, and respect.Self-actualization: Humans have a need to feel as though they are reaching their full potential.Once you recognize that humans are more likely to pay attention to a headline if it appears to address an innate need, you will be one giant step closer to creating headlines that actually work. And the second step is just as simple:You need to understand how to word your headlines!There are five categories in which you should attempt to make your headlines fall:1. How ToAn example of a “how to” would be: “How to Double Your Profits in Six Months Using Three Simple Steps”2. QuestionAn example of a question would be: “Don’t You Wish There Were a Way to Make Money From Your Couch?”3. TestimonialAn example of a testimonial would be: “By Using These SEO Tips, We Have Quadrupled Our Web Traffic!”4. NewsAn example of news would be: “Announcing a Great New Way to Tackle Email Marketing”5. CommandAn example of a command would be: “Make Money From Home – Guaranteed!”When you make sure your headline addresses one (or more!) of the five human needs while also being worded correctly – using one of these five categories – you will quickly see results from the headlines you create.

  • ian jackson

    5 Qualities For Affiliate MarketingMore and more people these days are turning to oneof the most popular businesses around – the businessof affiliate marketing. In this business, there areno bosses, deadlines to meet, or piles of work thathave to be finished by the end of the day. In order to succeed, you only need the necessarytools.There are basically five things you can’t do withoutif you want to make it in the business of affiliate marketing. Below, you’ll find each quality you’llneed.1. Desire to learnThe first quality you must possess is the desireto learn, coupled with the willingness to betrained. Treading through unfamiliar territoryis tough indeed, especially if your lacking theright knowledge. This is a combination of the rightframe of mind, coupled with a strong work ethic.When starting out, you’ll need to be willing to keep your eyes and ears open, using the experienceof others to learn more as you go.2. Invest time and effortThe second quality you must have is the willingnessto invest time and effort in helping your businessgrow, even if you don’t see immediate results. Eventhough weeks may pass without hearing good news,it’s very important for anyone who wants to get their foot in the business world.3. DeterminationThe third quality you’ll need is determination. Ifyou want to make it in the world of affiliate marketing, you must possess to push yourself forward. The ability to push yourself to greaterheights will determine what type of future you have.4. DisciplineThe fourth quality is self discipline. If you teach yourself to work everyday with all of yourheart and soul, you’ll be that much closer to reaching your goals and making your dreams come true.5. OptimismThe last quality you must have is optimism. Badattitudes should never discourage an affiliatemarketer from pursuing their dreams in order tomake life better for themselves or anyone aroundthem.The attitude you have towards the business shouldalways be good, because you’ll have to realize thatyou’re the captain of your ship and your the one steering it towards destiny.If you put the above tips to good use, you’ll go farther than you ever thought possible in the worldof affiliate marketing. You’ll need these qualitiesto succeed, as affiliate marketing can be a cuttingedge career. With the above qualities, you’ll dojust fine in the industry.I must say that the best way to get traffic I have ever come across is the WebFire site I use.

    WebFire FANTASTIC and PROVEN sources of Traffic

  • ian jackson

    Legal Forms Your Business NeedsThere is a myth about working online that leads people to believe they will be totally free once they run their own business – able to do absolutely whatever they want. But if you have started working online yourself, you have probably realized that this is not really the case! And while you certainly will have more freedom and say-so than those who work for someone else, there are a few things you will still need to take care of on the “business side of things.”

    One of the big things on the “business side of things” that you will have to make sure you are taking care of is the legal forms necessary for putting your business in tip-top shape.

    The first thing you will want to do when you are running an online business is register for a tax ID number. You can visit the IRS.gov page to register for this number – which will be used in place of your SSN – and after a couple days of waiting, you will have your tax ID number and will be all set to start moving forward with the other aspects of your online business.

    Once you have your Tax ID number, you will also want to secure a seller’s permit or a resale card, which will allow you to buy the items that you plan to sell without paying taxes. In this way, the taxes will be paid by the end-user, when they purchase the item from you.

    If you are running an online business on your own, you will also want to make sure you file your taxes as a sole proprietor. While it might seem easier to simply list yourself as “self employed” on your tax returns, and to move forward from there, you will be able to take advantage of a lot more tax breaks and loopholes when you send your personal income through the filter of a sole proprietorship!

    And finally, realize that you will need a business license – even if you are simply operating an online business. In order to secure a business license, visit http://www.boe.(your state).gov, and check the specifications for your state.

    Once you have conquered these steps, you will be ready to move forward with your business – knowing that you have taken care of all the legal steps that need to be taken care of!

    WebFire FANTASTIC and PROVEN sources of TrafficI must say that the best way to get traffic I have ever come across is the WebFire site I use.William.

  • Yura Vershinin

    accidentally went to odoj.com instead of onedayonejob.com

    never again

  • jkglei

    Oof. Took out that misleading reference. Thanks for the heads up, Yura.

  • dissertations

    Nice site! I enjoy a couple of from the
    articles which have been written, and particularly the comments posted!

  • Facebook Statistics

    Impressive insights. Gone are the days when we have to wait for information. People get their information fast and in real time. They are spending more and more time online, and get their job done too slow. Now the time has changed and everything are done with the help of internet with too quick results.

  • custom essay

    I’m not agree with this article

  • nellymatorina

    I really agree about the fact that we need to continuously improve ourselves in order to find a job. It’s sort of a lifetime learning thing, except instead of it once being just an advantage, its now a necessity.

  • Ashley Lauren Perez

    This is a great article and I agree with it 100%. I was looking for jobs by job type and would often find myself in unsavory conditions and situations. I took time to realize what I want out of an employer and focused on researching company culture to determine which companies I would target, even if it meant starting at a position that was different than my experience. If I love a company that much, I’ll be sticking with them long enough to work up to where I need to be. Feel free to read more about finding company culture that is right for you at http://ashleylaurenperez.com

  • sindayja

    it really helps because my class is working on this and i can use this and just summerize it and my teacher will agree to it

  • Alex

    New technology is changing the way we do business everyday, and that includes the way we isolate, recruit and hire the best people. In the past, it was all about paper resumes and traditional sit-down interviews. Now job seekers are applying for jobs from their phones, connecting with employers over Twitter, and developing campaigns in order to snag their dream jobs.

    If you’re ignoring the importance of technology when it comes to finding and hiring the best people, your competition is likely to be scooping up the talent your company needs to succeed.


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