Whether you’re a recent graduate or someone who has been laid off, obviously you’re experiencing the challenges of getting a job. First of all, let me tell you that I’m almost positive this has little to do with you and everything to do with the economic condition we presently face. So stop beating yourself over why the phone hasn’t run and why e-mails haven’t been answered. Millions of people are facing the challenge of finding work and as someone who has been in your shoes (I was out for about 6 months once), the most important thing you can do is lean on friends and family for moral support.
Then, these three tips may help when it seems like nobody’s actually hiring.
1) Use Softer Words Vs. “Commitment” Words
Sales expert Tom Hopkins often writes about how words such as “invoice” can make people tighten up with tension instead of “paperwork.” The same conditions often exist here. Words that seem like a little thing make a huge difference, in my opinion. Unless they said it first, the word “Interview” sounds like a commitment, which may have them running scared in the other direction because it implies hiring, of course. Hiring means salaries and benefits and a long-term commitment that they may not want to make just yet. “Interviewing? Well, we’re not hiring, so just send us your resume and we’ll let you know if something comes up.” Click.
“Conversation” or “chat” sounds a lot more low-key. You may be thinking, “Come on, why not just come out and say I want an interview? Isn’t that being straightforward?” I know you want an interview. They know you want an interview. But at this stage, this is just a conversation with someone you admire. Don’t present it as anything more at this point. It’s overreaching at a point where you don’t have to. Let it develop naturally and see where it leads.
2) If you can’t get an “Interview,” ask for 20 minutes to learn about how they got their start.
A funny thing about some hiring authorities out there – some are nice and some of them are so big on ego that they really like to hear themselves talk. Either way, some of them, particularly the very nice ones who do exist, are often up for giving feedback and pointers. These are the ladies and gentlemen who remember what it was like to find their first job. They remember what it was like to get laid off. And if someone could have thrown them a line of interest or encouraging advice during that time, that would’ve been something.
In other words, don’t put them up on a pedestal like they’re some rock stars and for the love of all things, do not come off that way either in an interview. Be gracious but remember, they’re people like you and me. Some of the most talented of them also happen to be the most giving of their time. They often do have at least 15-20 minutes for someone who has ambition and have shown they’ve studied up well on the company.
3) When they Google you, give them plenty to choose from.
You have to find as many ways to fit into the course of that decision-maker’s day as you can. So make it easier on them by giving them plenty of avenues via the web.
Obviously, one of those ways is a website link that’s easy to click on and the decision maker can access info about you in seconds. It’s one thing if you know a web programmer friend who can do a high-end site for you, but it doesn’t require this either. There are plenty of sites like Wix.com or Behance.net (particularly great for graphic design) that allow you to make a nice visual statement without much difficulty.
Blogging is underutilized as a career tool in that not only are you able to create a site that shows your thoughts on the industry and relevant trends, but you can also build in links to a resume, portfolio and more (WordPress is my favorite platform). It certainly doesn’t hurt to show a decision-maker your steady stream of insightful posts mixed with posts that show personality too – don’t be afraid to show off that side as well. As a side benefit, writing about your industry keeps your mind sharp and makes you feel involved with the goings on of that business, regardless of whether or not you’re actively working in it. I think you’ll find it a therapeutic getaway from waiting for the phone to ring or emails to be answered.
For this very reason, you may enjoy the interactivity of LinkedIn and Twitter, which can also help lay the groundwork for potential referrals from people you know and introductions to people you don’t.
Now, you may be thinking “What’s the point of putting the same content in so many different places?” That’s easy. You can never expect all of your targets to be in the same place at the same time, right? So if they Google you, they should be able to pull up at least 3 different sources of content beyond the typical resume. Can you really afford to miss out at that crucial moment by being in only one place? Of course not.
Let me know how these tips help and I surely hope they do.