I’m a fresh undergraduate in Marketing facing the worst economy since the great depression, how am I going to get a real job with a real salary? I struggled the first few weeks I applied for jobs. Even worse, the holidays were quickly approaching, budgets were low, and hiring managers were mentally checking out more every day. Most of us know how to make a great resume and cover letter, most of us know how to interview pretty well, most of us are ok at networking, but guess what? That’s not enough, not even for Donald Trump. With such insurmountable odds against me, I had to get resourceful. I now have interviews with Amazon, FranklinCovey and Neutron Interactive with only a few hours invested. Among a handful of approaches I used, here are four simple steps to land those interviews.
1. Identify your favorite companies and think big. Look for the ones that:
- Are making a big splash in their respective industry, with a healthy client base.
- Recently received funding. Millions of new dollars usually means dozens of new employees. (Warning: A lot of companies post positions just to keep up appearances, that they’re growing even when they’re not. Sometimes they’ll put up a position for due process but are still going to hire a brother-in-law.)
- Have multiple positions open, apply for two of them to increase your chances even if you aren’t perfectly qualified for one of them.
2. Don’t waste too much time submitting online applications.
- LinkedIn is an incredible resource. Some online jobs are Tweeted out and posted on dozens of career sites which means hundreds of applicants. Your online application may never even get seen. Every job position has a person behind it. Look for connections you have to that company and person on LinkedIn, if you don’t have any, no sweat. All you need is a name. It may take time, but pour through until you find a HR director, hiring manager, recruiter, or any title similar to it. All you need is the name and Google search will take care of the rest.
- Direct emails are surprisingly easy to find. Don’t waste your time with contact info websites, they want your money for doing little. Simply Google combinations of there first and last name with an @ sign and the company ____.com until you find them. Professionals’ email addresses are usually their first and last name separated by a period, for example, firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Call them
- Online applications these days are shots in the dark, I wanted to ask if the “____” position is still open? If yes, “Great glad to hear it, well before I let you go could I ask if there’s anything in particular you’re looking for?” Two out of three of my soon-to-be interviewers offered me their direct email address for my resume and cover letter. If they don’t give you their direct email, find it. Don’t be pushy.
- Now you’ve talked to them on the phone and know what they want. You’ll have the best luck mentioning someone you know, that they know, but only use it if it’s a positive relationship they have with that person.
- Send a hand written card thanking the interviewer for their time and mention your enthusiasm about the position and company.
Now you’ve optimized the use of your time, made a direct relationship with the interviewer and know exactly what their looking for. From here, you call you mentors (or make some mentors if you don’t have any) and ask for advice on how to interview, what they may ask, and to role play a couple questions with you.