Entries from August 2009 ↓

Finding a Job: Some tactics that worked

Back to some posts on finding a job – tho i’m happy to learn that several former students and current friends have been successful in landing various cool gigs in recent weeks!

First two words, OK, three or four: Be positive and proactive! Keep going, even in the face of rejection (and when hundreds of folks apply for a job, there’s a lot of that out there).

For those still looking and even for those who just landed, here are some proactive tactics that worked for me and others i know. Feel free to add more in the comments!

Offer to stop by for a chat! Whether you’ve applied for a job that’s advertised or you’re targeting a company you want to work for, after you’ve sent your resume and work samples, call them up and ask if you can stop in for coffee. The worst they can say is no thanks. But oftentimes, they’ll say sure. My interviews in Jacksonville and Orlando resulted from me calling the hiring editor (not the recruiter), saying, “Hey, i’ll be in town on (day here), can i stop by and chat?” OK, the real reason i was coming to town was to chat with them! But it worked! Each time, i ended up with a day of interviews, and, eventually, great jobs!

Followup! A few years ago, i was hiring for two presentation desk jobs. One Friday afternoon, i picked up the phone and it was one of the applicants i’d set aside. He asked what was up with the process and i told him that it seemed to me he was working at a considerably larger newspaper and we couldn’t really afford him. He told me that he’d be moving to Boulder and if he didn’t work for me, he’d be working at a restaurant – and that it was possible that we could afford him. i’m glad he called – he’s a great guy, wonderful to work with!

Really, followup! Most jobs being advertised in the Denver/Boulder area are receiving up to 300 applicants. i’m told of a recent job search in which the hiring manager was overwhelmed – and apparently ended up hiring the person (with considerable experience) who called the day before the manager was scheduled for vacation. Fair to the other hundreds of applicants? Maybe not. But it worked for the successful applicant.

Use your contacts! From LinkedIn to Facebook friends, from college profs to fellow students or coworkers, figure out if you know people in the company or region where you’re looking for work. Can someone send an e-mail extolling your virtues to the hiring manager (i often will, for what it’s worth)? Can a friend refer you to a contact who can answer your questions and give you some beta before an interview – or before sending the cover letter/resume/clips?

Do your homework! Before you interview, check out the company and the people you’re interviewing with. Do your Web research, ask your contacts for info. A friend who interviewed one of my grad students noted that even tho he didn’t have an internship for her, she knew a ton about his agency and even about him.

Be prepared for the interview questions – and prepare your own! A friend says he recently blanked when asked in an interview “Tell us about yourself.” That’s why it’s important to prepare your answers to potential questions as i mentioned in a previous post. And come prepared with questions of your own about the job and the company.

Always be on the lookout!
One of my friends at the Sentinel told me that she was always looking for the next job – and the one after that. She kept in contact with friends at other publications, with former editors and college profs, so when there was an opening she’d be interested in, she’d know. She ended up at BusinessWeek in D.C. after Orlando.

Next time, i’ll share some bad examples – don’t try this in your career!