People should always accompany their online job activities with other methods of looking for opportunities, utilizing a combination of strategies. One of them involves literally, physically and actively approaching companies and company managers on your own behalf in-person, with all that entails. Handshake-to-handshake, face-to-face and eye-to-eye, is hands-down the best way to go, anytime you can facilitate such an event. But if you’re only going to passively wait until you are invited as a result of your online activity, well, then you’re missing the whole point. I recognize that for many people this concept is foreign to them.
Imagine; there are people with whom I speak, for whatever reason, who act with incredulity and react viscerally, opposed to such crazy talk and very often they’ll respond by telling me they absolutely refuse to sink to the level of going and begging someone for a job. Yeah, that’s what they tell me. So let me get this straight, physically approaching a company you’d like to work for in-person; knocking on the door to introduce yourself, makes you a beggar. Oh really?
Some may think their perspective derives from an inflated sense of entitlement. For the record, I consider their negative reaction just plain stupid and naïve – sorry, but it is – it’s weak, wimpy, short-sighted and sad. However, it is more likely only a panicked response because they’re no longer capable – or they never learned how to do anything more than point and click. Meanwhile the clever people, the few still possessing a measure of self-confidence, are finding their way to companies and they are getting jobs, while most others choose to continue to hide behind their computer screens with their fingers crossed.
Just Today, not more than 3 hours before writing this blog entry, I spoke with a company hiring manager about someone I’m representing. I shared the person’s background, accomplishments and what they claim they have to offer a company. I didn’t look online to see if there were any job openings because that’s a sucker’s game. Personally, I don’t care what’s posted online and never have. For years, I’ve recognized that companies don’t post everything, anyway. Although, hiring managers are always interested in hearing about good professionals with a demonstrable track record of success. As proof of this, upon hearing about my candidate’s attributes and accomplishments the hiring manager suggested, “Please send me their resume, there aren’t any jobs posted on the website but we’d be interested in someone like this.” Hello, ding, ding, ding…ding - if you missed it, go back and read this paragraph again.
And yet, even with overwhelming evidence to support my claims there are those who I described above, who assume that contacting a company directly will somehow diminish them. Meanwhile, they are more than happy and willing to search online for a job in the same manner as one might look for and purchase vitamins or something -- yeah, that’s much more dignified, eh. If this is the level of importance you apply to your career and professional wellbeing, so be it.
If you want to be more direct but you don’t know what to do, the hard part isn’t picking up the phone to call; yes, it is a little bit of a challenge to find and contact the appropriate hiring manager (see the entry I published last week). The toughest part is when you have your moment to speak with a potential boss. But you can do this if you so resolve.
When your moment arrives, demonstrate what you have to offer (your experience), what you think you can contribute and immediately validate any claim with anecdotal evidence of your career accomplishments. So, voice interest, make a claim, back it up with fact / figure / example and then repeat for each individual claim. Do it in a brief synopsized manner and remember, peoples’ attention spans are short. Be brief, your initial intro and presentation should not be longer than about 30 to 40 seconds, tops. Remember, the goal is to secure a meeting / interview, so don’t tell them everything and save the best stuff for when you are face-to-face. And no, it isn’t easy to do this and it takes time to perfect. If this is too much for you then go back to the way you’ve been doing things – but don’t complain if you’re not willing to try new things.
Furthermore, don’t over-analyze either, before you act -- better that you mess up and stumble, adjusting as you go, than to sit doing nearly nothing and make excuses. Online only job searching is about as near to doing nothing as there is. Indeed, what I’m suggesting requires real effort and commitment. By the way, this is how you make your own luck.
So is there anyone who still wants to tell me taking charge and making potential employers aware of you, is akin to begging, and is beneath your dignity? I say it all the time, the tools and the means to take more control of your career are available, my handbook is the best example I’d point to; buy it or don’t buy it, I don’t care, but it has a lot of good info I’ll bet you don’t know but could use. Likewise, there’s free stuff in dribs and drabs on my website and blog, which you can access from my LinkedIn profile.