I’m not a hand-holder when it comes to getting a job. I’ve left a long trail of blood from the cutthroat tactics I use to get freelance positions and I’m not afraid to drop the competitors intestines at my employer’s doorstep.
(Wow, that was a gross description, even for me.)
When friends ask for advice on their careers it’s pretty much all I can do to stop myself from grasping them by the shoulders and instructing them to go in for the kill.
But I don’t know. Maybe other people just don’t understand my intensity. I like to make a point. I enjoy wearing blazers. I feel naked without a business card.
And it’s not just that. I’m entitled. I’m a brat. I’m the little girl who turned into a blueberry and then still thought she deserved to win a beauty contest. I don’t know what to tell you. This is a high stakes job market out there. You need to put on your ass kicking boots and say your “I think I can”s before stepping out of the ladies room. This is America. This is 2013. This is war.
Gear up bitches. It’s interview time. Consider if any of these are the reasons you’re still sleeping in your childhood bedroom.
1. There are 10 Million Ways to Submit an Application: You can do it online, in your underwear, while watching Xtube in another tab. You can do it at a store, through a machine, nervously typing in your social security number while people check-out in the line next to you. You can do it through the mail, in a big fat envelope filled with cash and pictures you can blackmail your future employer with. But my favorite way to apply for a job? In person. Repeatedly.
Applying for a job –really applying for it takes a lot more than an application. It takes a handshake. A first impression. It takes at least a little bit of concern over where that application actually goes. It takes getting a phone number and a name of someone who you should follow up with. If you’re going to apply for a job—do it right.
When R.J was looking for a job in the biochem field he found the perfect one. He didn’t fulfill all the requirements, but he still knew that if someone just gave him a chance—and saw how eager he was to learn—he’d get the job. So he put on a nice shirt and tie every day for two weeks and handed his resume over to his company’s front office. He called every day until someone from HR finally called him back. Was not a huge surprise when he finally got the job!
2. Look Like You Could Give a Shit. This is my understanding in the breakdown of why twenty-something’s don’t want to wear a suit and tie to a job interview.
1) The job they’re applying for isn’t nice enough to wear a suit and a tie for (Why would you want that job anyways?)
2) They don’t want to look silly and overly eager.
3) They don’t have an outfit that looks professional.
Find a presentable, professional outfit. Put it on. Give a shit.
Just because you’re applying for a service job or one that won’t require you to wear a suit and tie every day, why wouldn’t you want your potential employer to see you in your best light? They’re looking for someone to represent the brand they’ve built and they don’t want someone in overalls or one scrap of fabric away from a nip-slip putting on their logo.
3. Have an online presence. The only thing worse than finding shorthanded tweets from a lit major applicant is not finding any trace of them online at all. If you do not have social networks in this day in age—you are probably an axe murderer. Or Amish. Either way, I’m going to assume you’ve never used a computer before. And if you’ve got a trade—like you’re an architect, or a copywriter, or a web designer—you should 100%, totally have a website. Why would you not? Go to 1and1.com, buy your name as a domain, throw up a template site and upload your best work. It’s 2013, you should have the skills (or friends with the skills) to do this. You should do this.
4. Apply for a job that will do AT LEAST ONE of these things:
- make you happy
- help you break into your desired field
- teach you something you don’t already know.
This one is so easy, but people just miss the mark and I don’t know why. Why apply for a job that will make you miserable? You will be miserable. That’s how simple creating your reality is.
My mind has also been blown by people who choose jobs that have no relation to their future career choice—like at all. Want to be a chef, a party planner, a caterer, a candy taster? Then sure, work in a restaurant where you can see the business from the ground floor. Want to be a vet? Find work with a dog groomer, a puppy daycare, a pet shop, even becoming the neighborhood dog walker will give you valuable work experience. If you can’t put it on your resume to your benefit later on—look elsewhere.
My sister once took a winter job at Lindt Chocolate. I can tell you that it made her happy to eat handfuls of “damaged” truffles. She also worked as a guitar teacher and went on to be a studio engineer and musician. These were great job choices for her.
Right now, I work for one of the largest global non-profits for rare diseases. The main reason I took the job was to learn—to be a part of a team where I could contribute, sure, but I knew that having people show me around the rare disease community would ultimately benefit my career.
5. Create Your Demand. I’ve asked a lot of questions in this article so far and your main response has probably been “BECAUSE MONEY. BECAUSE I HAVE TO PAY MY RENT, BITCH.” Yes. Okay. I realize that might be important to you and your landlord. So let’s explore the main excuse I hear for not taking a job that makes you happy, or is in your field, or teaches you something– “because they aren’t hiring.”
You’d be hard pressed to find an employer who doesn’t want someone to invest their personal interest and attention to doing their job right, to learning and to contributing. If I see a company I want to work for, but they don’t have a “currently hiring” sign on their front door here is what I do:
1) Research the company. Go to their website, their social networks, talk to their employees, test their products. Get familiar.
2) Determine where you’d fit into the picture. Could you make their product better? Help their store stay more organized? Are you better with customers than the snot they have working the front desk? Could you improve their social network ratings? Are you a better salesperson than who they have already? Could you make a difference? Yes? Where?
3) Put together a presentation. This can be in an email, in a video, in a ten page collated report—you could do a song and a dance. Who cares? Find your most effective way of communicating your value and—
4) Find the right person to talk to. My mom always taught me to go straight to the top—and work your way down the food chain (If necessary) Nothing says “we’re hiring” more than an irate CEO realizing a twenty-something who doesn’t even work on his staff is saying he can do it better than it’s being done.
And always remember….
We’re a little bit of both.