This question came up on a private group I've run on LinkedIn for many years called Catholic Networkers. If you're a practicing Catholic and would like to join you may request admittance here.
This question came up from a member—let's call him Scott to protect his identity—who wants to get a job in Eau Claire, WI, which is a relatively small town with less than 65,000 in its city limits. However, one thing all employers in every city in the world are looking for are all-stars, so here's how to show your future employer you are that all-star!
First of all realize that you are now in sales and marketing. You have to market yourself and conduct market research to make your ideal employer aware of the brand that is you...and sell them on
- opening your messages,
- reviewing your LinkedIn profile,
- accepting your Contact request on Linkedin,
- following you on Twitter / Snapchat / Google+, etc (if applicable),
- listening to your voicemails,
- taking your calls,
- returning your calls,
- giving you insight into the company,
- opening, reading, and saving your resume,
- forwarding your resume and information internally,
- forwarding your resume and information to friends and associates at other companies that may be hiring,
- bringing you in for an interview,
- recommending you as a new hire,
- hiring you!
(Now you know why I call my program Make Every Sale. There are A LOT of little sales that comprise the total sale.)
Now you're going to have to conduct your own guerrilla marketing.
LinkedIn is a great place to do that but first make sure your LinkedIn profile is squared away—check out this article on "LinkedIn Mistakes" from Blue Sky Resumes. You only get one chance to make a first impression. You don't open a restaurant before the kitchen works and the tablecloths are washed. You don't open a bar until the kegs are tapped and the whiskey is stocked. You don't drive traffic to your website until your pages are built and your lead magnets are created to convert that traffic. And you don't reach out to prospective employers on LinkedIn until your profile is in tip top shape.
Along those lines, get as many recommendations as possible. If you say you're great, I say you're full of hot air. If 5-10-20-50 customers, co-workers, and managers say you're great...then you probably are.
The best way to do that is to give recommendations and people will usually reciprocate. (Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and leave a glowing recommendation based on this article if you are so inclined and willing to pay it forward. :-)
Once your profile is solid sign up for a LinkedIn Premium account. Select the "Land Your Dream Job" option and get to work since it's free for a month. (It's only $29.99/mo with no contract after the 30 day free trial so for 50 cents per day for the first 60 days it's a heck of a bargain!)
That will enable you to do detailed searches and send messages to the people you want and need to meet.When you find an interesting company don't just reach out and say "Hey, hire me please."
Do a little research...
- on their blog,
- in the news,
- in any recent press releases and other announcements on their media page,
- on Yelp Reviews,
- follow the company on LinkedIn,
- join groups that their people belong to,
- ask questions about the company in groups related to their industry.
Then send connection requests to as many people at the company as possible, ESPECIALLY salespeople there.
PRO TIP #1: If you use your smart phone you can just click and send a connection request without having to answer how you know them and/or provide their email address, which you probably do not have, so this will greatly expedite the building of your key connection list.
"But, Wes, I'm not in sales."
PRO TIP #2: Any and every time I've had problems reaching a key contact I call the main line and "Press 1 for Sales." When the sales person immediately picks up—why can't support pick up that fast?—I have a conversation like this:
"Hey, Joe/Mary, I'm like you, in sales, and I'm having a heck of a time reaching (Mr/Ms Big Wig). Can you give me any tips or a back way in to reach him/her? First 5 rounds are on me for any help you can provide."
(Salespeople are the diaspora of business. We look after each other, that is, as long as we're not competitors.)
Doing this I've gotten private email addresses, cell phone numbers, the name and email of the executive assistant, insider information on how the company is doing, and more...along with the "YOU DIDN'T HEAR THIS FROM ME!" admonition, which goes without saying but is said anyway!
After you conduct your research and you're confident about the best person you need to connect with, your conversation with sales will sound like this:
"Hey, Joe/Mary, I have a huge favor to ask and the first 5 rounds are on me. I'm trying to move back to Eau Claire and I'd love to work for your company in (operations / R&D / project management) but I'm having a heck of a time reaching (Mr/Ms Big Wig). Can you give me any tips or a back way in to reach him/her or do you know of someone better I should reach out to?"
More times than not you'll get valuable—even priceless—intel you can use to advance your job search efforts.
Once you know the best person / people to contact (and I encourage you to find 2 to 5 people to approach simultaneously) it's time for an all-out assault.
The same way I encourage businesses to have a multi-media, multi-touch follow-up sequence to nurture prospects into buying from them, you need to have a multi-media, multi-touch process to drip on your hiring managers.
Some of the multi-touches should include:
- Connect with them personally
- Follow their company
- Join groups in their industry
- Follow the individual
- Follow the company
- Make a private list and name it "Job Search" or "Eau Claire Job Search" and add all of these key people to the list so you can more easily track their Tweets and engage with them
- Like the Facebook Page for the company then click "Liked"
- Set to "See First" for the "IN YOUR NEWS FEED" section
- Set "NOTIFICATIONS" to "All On" to really be on top of what they are doing
- Don't just send an email with your resume and beg for a job.
- Subject: be smart here. In copywriting we spend up to 80% of our time, energy, and effort coming up with a good headline, and that comes from conducting research. Here are 70+ great examples.
- Text (Do your homework and find their mobile number.)
- Send a text like "Hi, Joe/Mary, Please pardon the text but I just mailed and emailed my resume to you and I wanted to make sure you received it. Rest assured I'm as persistent and thorough in my (Operations / R&D) work as I am in my job search. Please let me know if I may follow up with you later this week to discuss this further."
- "But, Wes, Isn't that intrusive or too personal or too pushy?" Maybe. Do you really want a job or do you just sort of want a job? For everyone you rub the wrong way with this approach, you'll probably endear yourself with 2 to 3 others. I think it's worth the
- Direct mail
- While it's okay to send your resume to HR, I'd focus on the hiring manager since they will have the final say.
- Send your resume with a great cover letter
- A few days or a week later send a hand-written letter
- A few days or a week later send a postcard with your picture on it
- If applicable you could also connect with them on
- Instagram—if their account is public vs private
- Facebook—if you've had a dialogue on their page and/or you have several friends in common
- Any other social media platform that company may be utilizing
- Nothing says "Hey, I'm ready to work" like showing up with your resume and asking to speak to the hiring manager.
- PRO TIP #3: Go around back and hang out with the smokers. Maybe bring donuts, a fruit or muffin or cheese & cracker tray and simply say "Hey, what's a guy/gal gotta do to get a job around here?" and see what ensues.
At the end of the day, you really can achieve anything you set your mind to. So make it your goal to get the job you want. Put a date on it because a goal without a date is just a dream. Then do what it takes to make it happen.
Now go sell something...yourself!