I read an intriguing article on Courting Your Career the other day called Contacting the CEO should be a no-go during your job search. In it, the author suggests that it may do more harm than good to approach senior executives directly with cold calls or letters. Instead, he suggests starting small:
Instead of going straight to the top, start small. If you’re about to graduate from college or you only have a few years of full-time work experience and you want to get noticed, identify contacts in junior-level positions that can help you navigate the application process. Because they aren’t as far removed from finding a job straight out of college, if you slip up they are more likely to be forgiving because they can better relate to the challenges you’re facing. Plus, many college recruiting teams are comprised with junior alumni from your college or university. If you push them to the side in your attempts to connect with someone more senior within the organization, you could be shooting yourself in the foot.
I couldn’t agree more.
A few years ago I was asked to give a walking tour of our offices to a group of about ten new graduates who were being interviewed. There was one rule: be quiet and courteous (as people are working). For the most part, everyone was respectful of my colleagues as we toured the office. Questions were to be held until the end.
However, one particular candidate decided that he wanted to set himself apart from the crowd. While walking through the executive wing, he walked right into our CEO’s office and introduced himself. He then sat down and proceeded to engage in a conversation. This caused two things to happen:
The rest of the candidates started to get nervous, most likely feeling as though he was getting ahead by “breaking” the rules of the tour.
The candidate missed an important part of the orientation.
So what was the end result? Ultimately, this particular candidate’s interview process ended early. In our internal debrief, our CEO made light of the fact that this particular job seeker was unable to follow simple instructions. He wasn’t a “team player” and so was not going to be part of our team.
The lesson here is that, as a new graduate, you need to be mindful of your interactions with senior executives. Once in a while you might strike gold, but more often than not you will be hurting your chances.
2. Ask Somebody. Everyone you know knows someone who knows someone who works in a company you want to be employed by. Work every contact you have, whether it’s your parents, an uncle or a family friend, and follow through. Don’t be shy about checking in with contacts you’ve made. Personal referrals remain one of the strongest door openers to a job.
Yup. Connections are still the best way to land a job. Use what’s available to you in order to get a leg up.
Some people just don’t get it. I know that the job market isn’t “hot” right now, but you still need to be respectful towards prospective employers and their employees.
Case and point: Annoying People Don’t Get Hired. This post from Secrets of the Job Hunt outlines the mistakes that one job hunter made while trying to land a job. Worst of all, these mistakes were made AFTER she was referred to the company by another person.
I could outline the whole situation, but it’s best to let you read it for yourself.
The lesson? Don’t make your contacts look bad. Respect the companies, their employees, and the process. Things will work out better in the end.
There’s a great article posted on Charity Village that details everything you need to know about Informational Interviews. It covers what an Informational Interview is, what you should ask, and why you should even bother.
The thing that stood out most to me was the following piece of advice:
You are not going in and asking for a job; you are only asking for information about their job and their industry.
This couldn’t be more true. If you treat this as a normal interview and wait to be asked questions, you will be shown the door in a hurry. You cannot force a company to interview you under the guise of an Informational Interview. So be prepared and have questions that you would like the answers to.
This type of experience may not land you a job (though it could), but it gives you a valuable contact to add to your network and may open doors in the future.
I have been doing some research on video resumes and I found one by Michael Clutts I wanted to share.
I like it. It’s to the point and tries to interject some humor along the way.
The only thing I would do differently is reduce the reliance on keywords. A resume with plenty of keywords (communication skills, team environment, etc.) scores well on a resume parser, but is really boring when read aloud. I would be tempted to make this more of a conversation than a verbalized resume.
It’s no wonder that with the current state of the economy, companies are constantly looking for ways to cut costs. Reducing expenditures is a current priority for most businesses and impacts job advertising budgets. Did you know that it can cost up to $395 to post a position on a site like Monster.com? Given the substantial costs associated with posting online, many companies are resorting to sources that offer free job advertising including:
College Career Centers
One incentive for companies to post on college career centre sites is that it is a great way to attract young, hard working staff and connect with future employees where they are (on campus).
Company Websites and Social Networking Profiles
Most businesses that are hiring will likely have policies that include posting vacancies on the company website and social networks. These are beneficial in terms of reaching out to potential candidates that have already expressed an interest in the employer.
Leaders in any field are often members of industry newsletters and may find it appealing to recruit team members that are associated with the sector and are up to date on the latest news and current events.
Since it doesn’t seem like the economy is going to recover any time soon, it might make sense to expand your search to free of charge sites as they are an attractive option for businesses looking to save hundreds of dollars per posting.
As most of you already know, your resume is going to hit some form of resume parser if you have applied for a job online. A resume parser (or “Applicant Tracking System” in industry-speak) is a piece of software which scans your resume and helps determine your suitability for a position based on criteria entered by the company.
The trouble is, most people don’t understand exactly how this works. And to be honest, I don’t either.
I just finished reading an interview of Claudyne Wilder on Bostonia called What Not to Do at the Job Interview. Now I don’t need to share another article about the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of interviewing, but she touched on one specific point that I thought was extremely important.
In her words:
What’s the most common faux pas students make on their very first interviews?
In school you’re trained to say a lot. You get good grades when you say a lot. But in business it’s the opposite — you’re considered a better communicator when you say less, when you get to the point and then be quiet. You don’t get points for talking on and on in business the way you do in class. The interviewer’s saying to himself, would I want to talk to this person every day?
This is a lesson that took me three years to learn. When I graduated from school and landed my first job, I would write HUGE emails. They would be long and verbose and I’m (now) sure they put everyone to sleep. Since then I’ve learned the importance of brevity.
Unfortunately, the tired old axiom “time is money” holds true. Everyone is on the clock in the modern work world and each person you meet is going to be on some form of deadline. This means that the sooner you can get your point across the better.
I recognize that it’s extremely hard to switch gears when you graduate, but be considerate of other people’s time. It will go a long way towards fast-tracking your career.
There’s a fascinating article posted on Gizmodo about what it’s like to be recruited by Microsoft. The author refers to it as being hit by a Love Bomb. Must be nice to have a huge company going out of their way to impress you.
Among the perks, the rental car of your choice…
Unlike other companies that have recruited him (and forced him into compact cars), Microsoft let Tony pick his rental car. He went with a ” mid-sized SUV, since my wife doesn’t let me have one.”
…a larger than average per diem…
…arriving the night before his interview. Microsoft gave him a $150 per diem, which he used to take a friend out for dinner.
…and a sneak peak at some of their latest technology.
During Tony’s interview, which was last fall, Microsoft let him see an early version of its unreleased operating system, Windows Phone 7.
Before seeing it, Tony emptied his pockets into a little locker outside the lab where Microsoft kept the phones which ran Windows Phone 7. He then walked through a metal detector. After that, he saw the new mobile OS, which left him quite impressed.
Sounds like a very memorable experience. Too bad he turned down the job!
Have a amazing recruiting experience? Leave us a comment!
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the youth unemployment rate is to stay high through 2011. The group has been tracking trends in youth unemployment and have seen rates that are double that of the national average for all workers.
It also appears that the recent economic troubles have not helped the situation:
Across OECD member nations, the unemployment rate among youths typically hovers around roughly double whatever the normal rate for those over 25 is. But that ratio has skyrocketed to 2.8 times during the recent recession and shows no signs of slowing.
What does this mean for you? It means that if you are a young person looking for a job, you are going to face a tougher battle in the near future. This doesn’t mean that it will be impossible to find a job, but rather that you need be proactive and make yourself stand out from the crowd.
If I can offer one piece of advice, it is to start networking as soon as possible. Building your list of professional contacts is a great way to get the inside track on jobs that do become available.
Get out and meet people, build a stellar LinkedIn profile, and make sure you work the connections that you already have. It will pay off handsomely in the end.
“New ideas pass through three periods: 1) It can’t be done. 2) It probably can be done, but it’s not worth doing. 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!” – Arthur C. Clarke
If it helps you get a job, it must be a good idea. Now I won’t go as far as to say there are no bad ideas in job search (there are plenty – see below), but the good ideas are all time tested. Some are basic, like “Prepare for your search” while others are more complex like “create an elevator speech”, but all of these are essential to finding a new job. Even if you’ve been on the job hunt for awhile, some of these basics may help jump start your search. As an example, have you leveraged your college career center (it doesn’t matter how long ago you graduated)? What about professional associations? Broaden your approach and follow these tips.
LOOKING FOR A CAREER, NOT JUST A JOB – This article, from The University of Akron, provides all of the basics for your job search. From “what do I want to be when I grow up” to the basic steps (resume, cover letter, references and interviews). The article includes job search etiquette, how to use phone and voicemail as well as pointers on what to do (an not to do).
Fast Track Your Job Search – Ten Steps to Find a Job Fast – About.com’s Alison Doyle provides this article which provides the basics for fast tracking our job search – job search plan, resume, cover letters, websites and more. There are embedded links throughout the article for each of the main categories as well helpful links at the bottom of the page.
Job Search Strategies – A great list of resources, this site leads with a list of quick guides (each of which leads to a detailed page) like “ask the employer”, “interview effectively” and more. Below this are links for FAQs such as – “How do I use Site Search?”, “How do I find jobs to apply for on the internet?” and so much more. In addition to this there are numerous links to additional resources on the left hand side of the screen.
Okay, what about those bad ideas? There are plenty, read below.
True Job Search Blunders – This article, posted on Careerbuilder.com has some pretty funny (and sad) blunders. Now many of these are hard to believe, but all are true. Hopefully you won’t need this advice, but it is certainly worth a read. Once you are done, check out some of the great links on the left hand side of the page.
3 Phone Blunders that Can Hang Up Your Job Search – A few more for your review. This one is provided by pongoresume.com and, while not as funny as the prior link, this is worth a read as well. So often we don’t have job search in mind when it comes to our personal lives, but you never know what others will find annoying.
Good luck in your search.
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.