I’m a member of an alumni network on LinkedIn and I cringe every single time I see one of these posts: “Howdy! I’m a Dec ’12 Grad B-school grad looking for a job in marketing/HR/customer relations/project management. Any leads would be helpful.”
Which happens to be just about every day.
Yes, some of these posts actually get responses. We will attribute that to the “Howdy” and the fact that the Texas A&M network is extremely strong and loyal, particularly in Texas. That, and there’s always a few companies looking for entry-level sales associates willing to cut their teeth for commission.
Here’s the brutal truth: This strategy doesn’t work. For an Aggie graduate it might be a step up from submitting the same resume to 100 different jobs on Monster.com, but it’s still a garbage approach.
Here’s 4 things wrong with that approach:
- It’s lazy. You’re basically telling hiring managers that you’ll take any job that is in the realm of your major and that you’d like them (or a member of your alumni network) to do the legwork for you. Thanks for contributing to the reason everyone thinks Gen-Y is entitled.
- You haven’t identified what you really want. Part of me admires the fact that you’re willing to take any entry level job, but hiring managers just think you want ANY job and that at the 1st sign of the job you really want (or one that pays a bit more) you’ll bolt. I’m hiring people that WANT to work in a specific role, in which their skills align, and for a company they really want to work at.
- You’ve added ZERO value. Oh, you want a job? So does every other graduating senior. How can you provide value to my organization?
- You’re not differentiating yourself AT ALL. I see this same nonsense approach almost every single day. What makes you a better fit than your peer doing the exact same thing? Doing what everyone else does will get you the same results. Those aren’t the results of top performers.
Brutal truth number #2: Nobody gives a shit what you want. Fine… Your parents think you’re a special snowflake, but they probably don’t “get it” either. They paid for all or part of your college and can’t understand why you don’t have a great job from the day you graduate. After all, that’s the promise higher education sells, right?
Top performers invest time up front to understand exactly which companies they want to target, then they relentlessly find warm connections to these companies through Natural Networking. (And yes, everyone has a network.) By the time they’re ready to submit an application, it goes through a warm contact and is disproportionately likely to result in a job offer. — Ramit Sethi
Most of you are going to call me an asshole, tell yourself I have no clue what I’m talking about and go on wasting your time.
For the 7 of you that read this and actually ask yourself what you could do differently, here’s my recommendations:
- Determine exactly what job you want. What do you want to do? What skills did you acquire in school and through internships? Get specific here. Pick a couple of titles: “Account Manager” at a big agency, “Marketing Coordinator” for an oil & gas company.
- Use job sites and LinkedIn to determine which companies (that you’d like to work for) have jobs like that. If they’re hiring for those roles, great. But even if they’re not you can proceed to step 3.
- Interview people who work for the company and/or people who work in the job title you (eventually) want.
“Now, if I’m interested in working for a company, the first thing I do is interview a ton of alumni who work there. I ask what their pain points are. What keeps the managers up at night? This is the info I really need to know. Once I have that focus, I can take the next step. Figure out how to address those needs.” — A top performer
4. Leverage those pain points to craft a strategy detailing how you can solve that organizations and/or hiring manager’s problems. And yes, this is way more work. Doing this for ONE job you want takes more time than submitting your resume to 10+ online job postings.
If you refrained from getting “butt hurt” (see: your feelings hurt) during the first half of this post and read this far, then chances are you genuinely want to separate yourself from your peers and get a job you really want.
Here’s the best primer you’ll find for finding your dream job.
Full disclosure: I’m not affiliated with Ramit’s dream job course in any way, shape, form or fashion. I wrote this post because because I want to help you. Mostly, I wrote it because I wish someone would’ve written it for me 5 years ago.