"Don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you get a chance to get it in the door."
I said this to a friend today. Right after, I thought, “Hey, that’s good advice.”
And then I realized that it’s a big guiding principle of my life.
I think that there is so much of a push for people to get their name out there, and it’s easy to fall into the train of though that blanketing the world with your resume is the best plan because SOMETHING has got to hit, right? But cold-calling/cold-emailing a ton of people, ESPECIALLY a ton of people in the same company or department, will more often work against you than for you.
Here’s the thing: People Talk To Each Other. If you spam several people in one department OR hit them up on Facebook looking for a job, they will talk about the Annoying Person. You DON’T want to be the Annoying Person. The Annoying Person has shot themselves in the foot before they can even be considered, and they will most likely be passed over.
I know that Facebook can be very good for networking (and I’ve reached out to several people on it for interviews), but if it’s the only way that you can reach out to someone — start with a personal introduction, don’t start with asking for something. How would you react if a stranger came up to you and immediately asked for something?
One thing I’d highly recommend is the informational interview — where you ask to talk to someone about what they do and the field they are in. Not only do people usually like to talk about what they do, but it’s an easy way to help a virtual stranger out. I’ve connected people for informational interviews, and it’s SUCH a good way to make new connections in a field that interest you, but that you don’t currently know anyone working in it.
It’s a good way to get your foot in the door, and you haven’t shot yourself in the foot with your approach.
And approach! Oh my goodness, the STYLE of approach is KEY. There’s the whole spamming issue, but it’s also tone. Confidence is great, being to overbearing and pushy is not. Nothing turns off someone faster than if you come off entitled and demanding. I know it’s difficult to find a job but always remember that whomever you are reaching out to is already dealing with their own job responsibilities, stress and lives. Their job is not to find you a job.
I actually started this post to be far more broad, but I apparently have a lot of feelings about job-seeking. I don’t know if anyone will ever read this, but I hope it helps those who do.
I just stumbled across this again and felt it was worth a repost.
stillscape’s thoughts on the matter — with great points about cover letters and letters of recommendation
While I was preparing for an alumni/student event tomorrow, stillscape reminded me of this post… probably one of the better ones I’ve written and I standby it 100%. I will also be cribbing from her and princessgeorge’s fantastic posts.
If you’re looking for a job, especially if you’re newly out of school, definitely read through this and their posts for some very good and applicable advice.