I get asked a lot by all kinds of people about the “secrets” to landing a job – students, parents of students, experienced professionals, not so experienced professionals, etc. – it doesn’t matter – everyone has this belief that because I run a recruiting company and have worked in HR for going on 20 years I have the inside. Well, I do!
The cool thing is, most people already know what they need to do to land a job – they just refuse to do it. It’s the same with losing weight. Move more, eat less. It’s really that simple – but that takes work, that takes discipline – what we all want is that drink as much beer as you want and eat fried foods diet – but we know that won’t work! (BTW – if you have a good Beer and Fried Foods Diet Plan please send it my way!)
Finding a job (especially an entry level professional level job) takes work, it takes networking, it takes picking up the phone and having conversations, it takes asking for help, it takes asking people to do things for you – and many of us just aren’t comfortable doing all of these things.
This past week I received a message through LinkedIn from Christina Hart. Christina is an entry level college grad from the University of Michigan, looking for an entry level professional level position in New York City. She is looking for a Social Media, PR, Marketing type position, is willing to grunt work. Christina was reaching out to me, asking to for a few minutes to talk, network and see how I might be able to assist her in her job search. After telling her I refuse to help UofM grads and ribbing about her school choice – we scheduled some time to talk. Here was my advice to her:
1. Keep doing what you’re doing. (Let’s face it – reaching out to random HR people you have no connection to and asking for help – takes guts! She has them.)
2. Use your University of Michigan (wait, I just threw up in my mouth) alumni status. She needs to LinkIn, email, call every single NYC UofM alumni that she can find and share her plight. Here’s one tip I think most people miss – start at the top first! Director, VP level and above – the more experienced the more willing they are to help, because they don’t fear you’ll take their job! If you want a Social Media job, don’t contact the Social Media person – they won’t help – they’ll think you’re after their spot.
3. Be Specific. Entry levels always want to open themselves up to as many possibilities as possible, but when HR folks and Hiring Managers see these resumes they feel like the person doesn’t know what they want. If you want a social media position, say you want a social media position and go after it. Specific people get hired before the all-things-to-all-people People.
4. Ask for help. Inherently, people want to help someone who asks for help – it’s in a normal person’s DNA. Entry levels tend not to want to “burden” people, and they make it too easy for people to turn them down. Don’t do this. Beg for help, plead for help – you’ll be amazed at what people will do to help you!
5. Commit. Christina is originally from the D (that’s Detroit for you none Michigan people), but she wants to live in NYC. She just signed a 4 month lease in NYC – she is committed. She is not waiting to get a job, then moving. She’s on the ground – will start tomorrow – ready! To few are willing to do this – it says a ton about her.
This is really hard for me to do, because I usually get paid a bunch of money for referring someone – but – got an entry level position you’re trying to fill? – give Christina a call, she is going to make some company very happy (even with that UofM degree)!
And don’t get use to this – I’m not giving away free talent everyday!