Julie Kramer, the featured job seeker on The Job Quest, writes about her experiences on the job hunt and what is working for her. Part one of the top ten list she has compiled appeared yesterday, and here is the final installment for today.
5. Arrange some informational interviews.
These are great ways to network and learn more about a company or industry. Like in-person networking, the trick is not to treat it as a real interview, which is usually a big turn-off to the person you are meeting with. Rather, see it as a friendly meeting that allows you to pick the brain of the person by asking intelligent questions. It is a great opportunity to let your personality shine, but still be polite and professional, of course!
Best-case scenario: they like you and want to: a) consider you for a position they are hiring for, b) have you to intern for them, or c) help them out on a volunteer basis (which is a great way to show them what you’ve got!)
What is more the norm, though, is that you have made a great networking contact and can keep in touch with them. When they hear of an open position, they might then think of you or will refer you to their colleagues for other informational interviews.
When I interned this past summer in NYC, I performed five informational interviews. I learned a ton about the industry and how the individual companies worked, not to mention gained extremely valuable networking contacts that I still keep in touch with today.
6. Don’t turn down an opportunity just because it’s not the “perfect” fit.
Through networking, you may receive various opportunities that may not be the most glamorous or even paid, but nearly every one will eventually pay off in some form or another.
For me personally, I try to never say no to any opportunity; each one is a chance to network and show people what I have to offer. However, this can be tough to balance if you already work a couple of other volunteer or part-time jobs or have a family and other responsibilities to care for. If you can handle it, though, you can almost guarantee it will be worth it.
Take a look at this article by Adrienne Waldo at Advertising Age on the types of offers you should jump at.
7. Have the job openings come to you.
8. Follow industry news.
Look for information about mergers, acquisitions, new accounts won, and department openings, for example. Even though there may be no open positions posted, send a prospecting letter describing how you learned about the news and are interested in their company. Give information about yourself and what you are looking for in a position, and ask if they need an addition to assist with a new account, a new department, etc.
This has worked for me in the past! Although the company was not hiring, they were impressed with my initiative, how I kept up with industry news, and wants me to keep in touch. When they do decide to make additions in the company in the next few years, I know I will be one of the first to hear about it.
9. Figure out a target person’s email.
With a little bit of online research, especially when using LinkedIn, you should be able to figure out the name of a person within the company you are applying to-whether it is the head of the department you want to work in or the head of human resources. Finding their email address might be a little more difficult. However, if you find someone’s — anyone’s — email address from the company (if found nowhere else, a contact should be listed under the “Press” tab on their website), you have basically gotten your target person’s email address down. There are a few popular forms email addresses typically come in:
So if the press contact’s email address is in the form of Firstname.Lastname@companyname.com and your target’s name is Joe Smith, then their email would likely be Joe.Smith@companyname.com. If you are between two email addresses and you cannot figure it out, utilize the BCC feature on email and send it to both without either being able to see that you sent it to the other address, too.
10. Finally… Follow up!
I know there is a lot of debate and controversy about following up, but if weeks have passed after applying and the company has yet to contact you, what have you really got to lose?
Give them a call (or email to be a little less intrusive). But don’t ask the age-old question “Have you received my application?” Rather, ask if the position still open, what their timeline is, if they need any other information, or if they would be open to receiving any work samples to help them make their decision.
Thanks, Julie, for sharing your wisdom about the job hunt!