May 04, 2015

Stop Spamming Employers and Potential Clients

Rewind my life back 1 year.

I was prepping for graduation, working a job that - though I didn't hate - wasn't right for me, and searching for a job after college. At that point, I would have taken anything that was more interesting with better pay. My background in communication had prepared me well for applications and I knew the drill.

  • Find a position that looks "interesting" (at one point I applied for a library software company)
  • Read a bit online about the company noting: values, work, trends
  • A quick revamp of the old resumé to include these values (and the keywords that are in the job description)
  • Piece together a cover letter from scraps of older versions and select vocabulary that a computer will be happy to see using SEO, flagging it for a superior robot (human) to review
  • Wait for a call or e-mail

I had it down pat and I was proud of my (semi) customized emails. I could send to 2-4 companies per day. From these e-mails I got several calls, many interviews, and a couple of offers - but nothing that I was dying to do. Looking back now, it's because I was spamming companies with my resume. And guess what, I wasn't the only one doing it. This poor HR manager was having to look through thousands of these ill-crafted and fakely-passionate self-promotions to hopefully find someone who was truly right for the job.

There are a lot of similarities between finding new clients and job searching. I've had an "AHA" about these things during this year with Ei, and especially during my time with Soulsight. Here is a brief synopsis of my learnings.

  1. Start with who you know I have yet to have a job or project without having a connection or personal introduction with someone there. Your circle is wider than you think. Use LinkedIn to find connections or ask for an introduction. Here in Spain, business relies even more heavily on relationships than in the USA. Without this foundation, there is nothing to build on.
  2. Follow companies you love Start a list of companies that you would LOVE to work for. Follow them on social media and see what they post. Understand what it is that they value. What stories do they share? What are your mutual interests? They might lead you to something that you are even more excited about!
  3. RESEARCH Research is key! While working on a proposal at Soulsight for Google, we researched for several days to understand their market position and how we could be the most valuable to them. I'm surprised by how little research most people do before they apply to a job - especially if it is their first job. I have friends who will spend longer reading yelp reviews to find a restaurant than deciding where to work. If you are going to spend a huge chunk of your life at your job (which you will), make sure you know what you are signing up for.
  4. Present yourself in a way that makes you stick out If you've done the above, you should be very prepared to apply to a job. Now do something that makes you stick out. Make it visual. A well crafted movie, infographic, or keynote presentation is much more compelling and tells a better story than a traditional resume. Soulsight has their own method: They paint a mural that explains what they envision in the future work. And let me tell you, it works. Tell your story in a way that is engaging.

My new rule of thumb: If I'm not willing to put in 8 hours working on an application, then it isn't a job that I want badly enough.

Stop spamming HR and treat each application as a process to learn more about yourself and other organizations. It's all worth it for a project you'll love!

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