Eagles Helping Eagles: David Votano '98

Eagles Helping Eagles: David Votano ’98  shares 5 tips for landing your first job

As an ASL lower and middle school student, David could be found shooting hoops with his friends and rehearsing lines for his Grade 4 performance of The Wizard of Oz. He moved to California for high school, studied business at the University of Miami and spent more than a decade in executive recruitment for luxury fashion, retail and hospitality. David is now a principal at the executive search firm True Search where, in addition to reviewing resumes all day, he gets to work with some of the most disruptive and exciting companies in the world—helping them meet complex talent challenges by placing CEOs, CMOs, COOs, Chief Digital Officers, and other senior roles. “Throughout my career, my guiding principles have been to work within my passions, make an impact on people's lives and be involved in exciting business decisions,” David explains. What’s one of David’s passions? “Sports, thanks to ASL. GO, EAGLES!”  Here, he offers his top tips for alumni new to a job hunt.


1) Start with a stand-out resume (that is short!)
While it can be intimidating to draft a resume when you haven’t worked before, David encourages first-time applicants to include any life experience—internships, summer jobs, time abroad, special courses and new skill sets—that can be connected to the job for which you’re applying. “Consider Excel and other softwares that you know your way around,” David suggests. “Have you done graphic design? What new skills have you learned in school that you can highlight?” The resume should be no longer than a page and should be formatted in such a way that the most important information jumps off of the page. Using an Italic or different font can help achieve this. And don’t forget to proofread! “A recruiter is likely only to spend 30 seconds reviewing your resume, so having one that is polished and accurate is key.”

2) Use your network
Once you submit your application, do some research through LinkedIn, company websites, your university network or your other affinity groups (including ASL’s!), to find a business contact to whom you can reach out. “Connecting with people at your potential employer can help you differentiate yourself from the pack,” David explains. “Sending a message to someone on LinkedIn about your interest in their company, and that you’re looking to get your foot in the door, can go a long way. Most people are happy to help.”

3) Consider your digital footprint
Competition for entry-level positions is steep, and recruiters may Google job candidates to learn more about them, so make sure your social media and web presence reflect well on you. “Facebook, Instagram and other accounts should not make a negative impact on your candidacy,” cautions David. “You want your brand, which is everything online about you, to be positive and professional.”

4) Stay focused
Undoubtedly, you have acquired a lot of new skills that you could bring to a variety of organizations and industries. David recommends that you narrow in on a particular job in a particular field so that your search is focused and effective. “Think about the type of job or company you want to be in, and how you could provide value there—then clearly articulate it,” he suggests. “Put that as your personal statement on your LinkedIn profile and be ready to highlight that in your interview.”

5) Be proactive
Keep utilizing your networks or community groups to expand your network so you can continue to find contacts, send messages, seek advice and say thank you. Take the extra step to introduce yourself, follow-up and politely pursue new leads and connections. 

Thank you, David! Want to learn more about David and his career advice? Connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also contact ASL’s alumni office for networking tips and resources. Good luck, Eagles.