Turning Underdogs into Winners: The Wonsulting Way to Jobs at Top Tech Companies

Interview with Jonathan Javier about helping underdogs land jobs at top tech companies
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Q&A With Jonathan Javier

In this Zoom session, Jonathan Javier of Wonsulting spoke with Brad Goodwin, Lensa’s Content Strategist, about improving job search prospects for underdogs and those from non-traditional backgrounds by helping them land jobs at top tech companies.

Who is Jonathan Javier?

Jonathan’s mission “to turn underdogs into winners,” which is also the mission of his company Wonsulting, has driven his development from a young job seeker from a non-Ivy League background to successfully working for a top tech firm to a career and personal branding expert who has spoken in 9 countries and 210+ universities/orgs in the last two years. Jonathan has helped tens of thousands of clients/mentees land offers at companies such as Google, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs – all without ever applying directly for a job. Read on for the inspiring interview.

Prefer an audio recording? Look no further! Listen below.

LENSA: Jonathan Javier, welcome to Lensa Q&A. I want to begin by just asking you who you are and have you tell us a little bit about your background.

Jonathan: Of course. Well, first off Brad, thank you so much for having me here. I really appreciate it. My name is Jonathan Javier. I’m the CEO and founder of Wonsulting. Our mission is to turn underdogs into winners, helping those who come from non-traditional backgrounds and non-target schools get into their dream careers. So far I’ve done around 210 speaking engagements in the past two years in nine different countries, which is crazy, right?

So I previously worked at Snapchat, Google, and Cisco before doing Wonsulting full time. And yeah, I mean we’ve grown immensely throughout the past couple of years. I think in total now we have over 700,000 followers on all our different platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok. And I’ve been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo! News, LinkedIn News, and Job Scan as a top job search experts. I’m super excited to share some of the different bread and butter of one sole thing that we always teach to help more underdogs to become winners, as we love to say.

Where Did the “Turn Underdogs Into Winners” Motto Come From?

LENSA: Where did your motto come from and what’s the story?

Jonathan: It actually came from one of the novels from Malcolm Gladwell, or a lot of folks know David and Goliath. Basically, it was in regards to how do the Davids beat the Goliaths? Basically, how do the people who come from underrepresented backgrounds get into their dream companies? I’ve always felt that underdog mentality when I attended a so-called not-Harvard school when I was at UC Riverside trying to get into my career in tech. And I always remember clicking that on application day. And I was like, oh my gosh, I hope I get an interview today when in fact none of those led to interviews. All those led to were emails that simply stated, unfortunately, we’ve decided to take a rejection.

But as I like to say, rejection is always redirection. And that’s why I try to teach every single day the strategies that people can utilize again into their careers without even ever applying. So that’s how I’ve been able to structure everything. And everybody has an underdog mentality. No matter what school you come from – the underdog mentality is what contributes to society and what helps people become better than they are today.

Does LinkedIn Play a Big Role in Job Search?

Jonathan: Yeah, I think LinkedIn plays a huge, huge role in hiring right now, mainly because we are in a virtual world, obviously.

But the thing is, people always think about proactive recruiting, as we call it, at Wonsulting. So how do you proactively reach out to someone who works in your dream company and then how do you reach out to them? Build rapport, network, which can lead to an interview and then a job? Right. So that’s one part you realize on LinkedIn.

Honestly, a lot of people’s minds are intertwined with this and we focus on the rejections rather than the acceptances. We focus on the people who don’t respond to us rather than the people who do. We focus on the jobs that don’t give us interviews rather than the jobs that do.

So if you’re able to build a digital brand where I say for myself when I see, let’s say I see Brad, I’m like, Brad. Oh, Brad is inspirational. Brad is a marketing expert. Brad is great at school. And you can put those few words in a few seconds. That in turn imagine a recruiter thinking that about you when they’re about to get you for a specific position that builds that brand around you, which will allow you to move on further in rounds and lead you to that offer.

LENSA: Okay, so you’re kind of proactively setting their expectations almost the way an ad works when you drive someone to a landing page. The landing page has to be optimized for the experience of the person who clicks…

Jonathan: Exactly right. Yeah, that and then also, like instead of applying, like we say all the time, like when you apply, you go through an ATS, as they say. Right. But the thing is, why not get hired by an actual human being, reach out to hiring managers, reach out to professionals, get referred to, put you in the referral pile rather than a simple application file that everyone goes through.

LENSA: So you do outreach directly, then. What do those messages look like?

How to Structure an Effective Reachout Message to HR Professionals in the Tech Industry?

Jonathan: Personalize invites, okay? And why I say this is like, Brad, if I’m being honest, I have about 5,000 pending requests on LinkedIn right now. 

The difference between all of them and the ones that I accept is a personalized invite. Most people will not send personalized invites and it only takes you 30 seconds. All you’ve got to do is send something with the three dots. Click the button, connect, and send an invite. Do not just click connect.

Mobile view of LinkedIn during a job search.

You say, Hey, Brad, I hope you’re doing well. Your introduction of yourself. My name is Jonathan. What your position is: currently I’m CEO of Vanderwall Consulting. And then you say why you are interested in connecting. So for example, you can say I saw that you are running a blog in regards to X, Y, Z and loved reading regards X, Y, Z. I’d love to connect to something like that because that personalized invite is what allows you to give an introduction of yourself, but also shows you’ve done your research on that person, which builds rapport before even speaking.

LENSA: Could you give a specific example of how you would structure one of those personalizations?

Jonathan: Yeah, of course, so far, reaching out to someone, let’s say give me a company, for example, Tesla. Let’s say I’m going for a business analyst. All right. So what I would do is go on LinkedIn and search business analysts. I filter to Tesla, Fulcher, also my location. Let’s say I’m trying to work in Fremont, which Tesla’s at. And then what I would do is go to their invites. I click the three dots, I click personalized invite.

I would just say, Hi, Brad, I hope you’re doing well. My name is Jonathan Javier. And let’s say I’m a job seeker and let’s say I’m a student. I’m currently a fourth-year business finance student at UC Riverside. I saw that you currently work at Tesla as a business analyst. And then what I’ll do is I’ll take something from their About section. Let’s just say that they love BMW.

A woman on the computer during her job search.

I don’t know why you like BMW, but whatever, I saw you worked at Tesla and you love automobiles like BMWs. I’d love to connect with you and learn from you. Something like that.

I love to connect and learn from you because what you’re doing is you’re making it more personable and you’re having a humanistic approach rather than just simply saying, hey, Brad, So you worked at Tesla. I want to work at Tesla. Let’s connect.

LENSA: But what about the ask? How specific do you get? You just said, I’d love to connect and learn from you. Do you have any experience with how effective that is as opposed to directly asking for something? Or is it an intentional thing that you don’t directly say, hey, I’m looking for a job?

Jonathan: Wonderful question. So my question is, if, let’s say, Brad, you reached out if you worked at Tesla and someone said, Brad, I love to connect and get a job at Tesla, what would you say? You’d probably be like, I don’t know about that right now. Imagine I build rapport with you first and actually establish a human connection and a personalization.

Establish a rapport first, because what matters is that first connection, because once you get the first connection, then you can actually send a longer message, which will then share more of your story. What I say all the time is to get on the phone first before asking for a referral.

How Does Someone From a Non-Target School Turn This to His Advantage?

LENSA: Okay, so you basically nurture the relationship just like you would in a real-life situation. Sounds good. You talked about helping underdogs. How does someone who’s an underdog or from a non-target school use that fact to their advantage?

Jonathan: Yeah, I think the storytelling is extremely important, especially for underdogs. Every person has their own underdog story. It doesn’t have to be, for example, like you go to a school. It is. And get recruited from a lot of these big companies. But it could be instead your background. Maybe you went through a lot of different rejections and challenges throughout your life, both personally and in your career. That is your underdog story.

So why I always say the underdog story is because I remember when I was job seeking, I would compare myself to other people and I’d be like, wow, this person just got a job at Facebook, aw, he’s got a job at Google. But then I realized it’s because they already had established connections or they had like an uncle who worked there or not, so they could get in more easily than myself.

The thing is, with underdogs, when they’re trying to get into their careers, I personally believe that because of all the hard work they have to put in to get to the point where they want to be, that translates directly to how their work entails when they’re in that corporate or startup role. So that’s how you embrace the underdog story when you’re able to share it. A lot of people will also correlate directly with that and be like, dang, I have that same story, too. So for people who are underdogs, if you think you’re alone, you’re truly not.

What Should Someone Who’s Just Been Rejected From His Dream Job Do?

LENSA: So if you’re an underdog, just rock that look. Like embrace it, I like that. You’re basically saying what the elephant is in the room and then people can identify with that. And in a sense, it becomes a strength. Okay, what if I do all that – I go to my dream job, I follow all of the advice that you just gave, and I get rejected. What do I do?

Jonathan: Good question. So what I say all the time is you only need one yes at the end of the day. The thing is, in life, rejections are going to happen. Setbacks are going to happen all the time. When I say all the time when I get a rejection or setback, I say this will be a good story for my kids. Because when you think about it, if you keep on going and if you never stop trying, you’ll never fail.

Honestly, a lot of people’s minds are intertwined with focusing on the rejections rather than the acceptances. We focus on the people who don’t respond to us rather than the people who do. We focus on the jobs that don’t give us interviews rather than the jobs that do.

You see if people are able to change the mechanism in their mind to look at the positive aspects of life rather than the negative? That, in turn, gets you over the imposter syndrome, which allows you to grow and develop even more. And why I say this is I exhibited that same thing before. I’d be like, dang. There’s someone who commented really bad on my LinkedIn post. Oh, someone comes up and I take that post, now I’m like, please comment more right now. And people who support this one percent who don’t, the 99 percent is what you focus on, not the one percent.

LENSA: And if you’re not polarizing people, you’re not a strong brand! That’s the rule. It’s the price of success.

Jonathan: Exactly

Could You Share a Recent Success Story Where You Helped Someone Land a Job?

Jonathan: Oh so I actually had this success story. It’s a great success story. She has been part of the Wonsulting community since day one. And I actually met her when I was at Cisco. So her name is Serena Unicor.

She currently works at Cisco Meraki, but she’s actually transitioning to a new role soon. She has been utilizing our strategy since day one. She’s attended a lot of our different events. And the thing is, she was entering for so many different companies and getting rejected by a lot, like she was getting rejected the final round. Imagine you’re going to a final round of an interview and spending a month and then getting rejected.

A man with a work suit and briefcase on a race track.

What I told her all the time, stressing it, is something that’s more said than done. But rejection is truly redirection. What she kept doing is when she took one step back, she took 10 steps forward. And actually recently because she kept pushing forward and we interview people consistently, she actually landed an even higher position at Cisco on a different team and almost doubled her salary, which is insane, right, during a pandemic. So why share the story of why it’s an underdog story is because for her, she utilized all the strategies. Some of them help, some of them she got rejected for. 

The thing is, at the end of the day, all she needed was one yes. The one yes is what mattered. And that’s what matters, especially when you’re on your job search. So for those listening while in a job search, one yes, you only need one job. That’s all you need.

LENSA: Lastly, how can people find you if they want to get in touch?

Jonathan: Yeah, of course. So I’ve got family on LinkedIn. My name is Jonathan Javier. I have an Instagram, which is Jonathan Words of Wisdom. Then TikTok, which is just Wonsulting. And then we have our website, Wonsulting.com, which is a lot of different services with free resources too. And a blog as well. Definitely check out our YouTube. Those are the ways you can find us and email us at hello@wonsulting.com. And you say you heard us here.

LENSA: Alright, Jonathan, thanks for your time.

Jonathan: Of course, thanks, Brad.

Jonathan Javier
Jonathan Javier
Jonathan Javier is Founder at Wonsulting, “turning underdogs into winners” by helping hundreds of thousands who come from non-target schools/non-traditional backgrounds to get them into their dream careers.

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