I spoke to a group of Purdue students last night. They were taking an entrepreneurship class taught by my friend, and fellow Speak Easy co-founder, Andy Clark. Much of the Q&A focused on how to get a job. More specifically, how to get your foot in the door with a small company. I had some suggestions which I shared with the class as well as some additional thoughts. Here they are:
Build Your Army
Note that I didn't say "build your network". Network feels too passive for me. You need an army to get a job. People that are actively thinking of opportunities to send your way. This means you have to stay top of mind with these people, your army. Engage them on Twitter, check in via email, buy them lunch or drinks, attend events they attend. There is a line to walk between being persistent and being annoying. But most job seekers could error on the side of being annoying. They give up way too fast.
Ask For Informational Interviews
A job interview is something of a formal thing. Most companies have processes around it- usually starting with an opening being announced. An informational interview is a much more casual but effective way of getting your foot in the door. Lead with your curiosity- why did you start the business? What kind of employees do you look for? What are your plans for the future? I've seen this approach work. Also, you get to build your army as you go. The companies you talk with might not hire you but, assuming you do an effective job, they will become part of your army and send opportunities your way.
Align Your Passions
Everyone has things they are passionate about. Figure out what your taget employer is passionate about- sports, music, hunting? Then align, authentically, with those passions. "Hey, I saw you were really into vinyl records, here's a link to a great vinyl review website I write for..."
Simplify Your Emails
So many of the emails I receive from prospective hires border on being short novels. I don't have time to read them, no-one in my position does. Quantity does not equal quality when it comes to communication. Make your point and respect my time. That will leave a far greater impression than the well crafted 500-1000 word essay you were taught to write in college. Don't get me started on how colleges foster a quantity over quality mentality. If it takes more than 30 seconds to read then it's too long.
Any other business owners out there have some good tips on how to stand out and get hired?