Allright, so we are in part two of this series. And, as promised, in this article we’re going to talk about how to land yourself an interview. After all, you’ve got some good bait in your resume, but here, I’m going to show you how to create an irresistible hook that you use to reel them in.
Now, in the last article, I laid down the First Law of Darkworking, and applied the first law to the process of creating your resume. A quick suggestion – give it a quick review, because we’ll be applying it again here. I assume you have already created this masterwork of sales literature that lesser people call a resume. And, more importantly, I hope you have taken it for a spin – gone to some job fairs, passed it out to friends, contacts, former colleagues. One person I worked with on this actually took a job as a waitor in an upscale restaurant and passed it out to some people with the check – he’s a Marketing Director now. Of course, in all this activity, you’ve warmed up your chit-chat skills, maybe even refined a sales line or two. More importantly, at some point in this process, you will stumble across a company you would actually like to work for.
That’s where I want you to stop, and enter research mode.
Do an exhaustive web search on the company. Go to their website, soak up all you can. Look up related information, check out their stocks, just dig and dig – and aside from learning, figure out if you’d like to hitch your wagon to these folks. Also, check out the local library for trade journals and publications that have articles and references to your chosen firm. As you gather facts, figures, product info, and history build a contact list for the company. Each person you come across with an email, phone number, or just name and title, keep a log in a spreadsheet. Try to determine mailing addresses for the company HQ, and other offices. Try to build an organization chart for the company, with your major contacts, as best you can.
Here comes the part that might intimidate some of you – in all this research, you will have learned a lot, but you will need a little more. Start contacting people on your contact list and asking them questions about the company’s processes, tools, procedures, etc – things your research might not have turned up. Tell them you’re a thinking of investing in the company, or that you’re working on a report on the industry. Whatever. Most people are bored at their jobs, and will be more than happy to talk about non-confidential aspects of their work.
After you’ve hoarded all this information, here comes the fun part. Sit down with all of it, and start brainstorming ways, both from your own experience, knowledge of the industry, and material you have in your research – that they could increase profit or decrease costs. In short, come up with three concrete ideas you think they could use to be better at what they do. I don’t care if it’s a new product, using a better process or procedure, or even a human resources training issue – write all of them down, and then select the best three.
Take these three ideas, and state them in simple terms – one to two sentences. Also, figure out a best-estimate, in terms of numbers, as to the benefit that doing this idea might mean to the company – how much will it save them or how much will they profit, in terms of dollars, units of productivity, etc?
We’re almost there now – at this point you take these ideas and draft a letter. Very simply, with a correct letterhead (this will KILL you if you screw it up, and if you don’t know how to do it, do a google search for cover letter templates, just to get proper letter head – the little things matter, spell check, pay attention), do a brief introduction of yourself (a short statement of your experience in the industry, or related industries, or framing your experience as being related to their industry). State that you have done some research on the company and that you have seen some ways they can improve operations. In a bulleted list, state your three ideas, and then conclude the letter professionally – mention that your contact info is on your resume and invite them to get in touch with you if they would like to discuss them. Do not mention anything about being unemployed or wanting to work for them. Some people have used this method and ended up starting their own consulting operations from it, when their original objective was to secure employment.
Finally, whip out your contact list. If you have email for a person, email it to them, and attach your resume. But, even if you have an email, ALSO mail it. Mail it to EVERYONE on your contact list.
Many times I have sent out a resume and heard nothing but dead air – with this, I always get some kind of response. Rarely, it is just the response of “thanks, stop mailing us please” – more often, it is some kind of invitation to talk (a de facto interview).
Do this with 10 firms, and while it is certainly possible to hear nothing – I haven’t seen that happen to anyone.
What you have effectively done here is to step out of the normal process. You are not responding to an ad – you have stepped outside of the dull grey crowd proactively, and that alone is enough to get you in the door. More importantly, each job posting is an announcement of a problem the company is trying to solve, and you have just offered solutions to problems, some of which they might not have even known they had. The power for you here is that rather than respond as part of an infinite supply of labor, you have just created your own unique demand. While you are not a “price maker” in the sense that an actor is, you’re less of a price-taker than all those people who are just shooting their laundry-list resumes at them.
Again, forget about what you need – solve THEIR needs and your needs will be enthusiastically met.
Thus will the glitter of the ching-ching and the bling-bling be yours for all time.