The Ultimate Guide to Getting Any Job You Want
What's up cool cats,
I figured it was time to put a thing together about getting a job. For those who don't know, I have recently gone through the complete and utter wringer of job hunting. I searched & sought my life away in pursuit of something I really wanted.
It's cliche to have these ambitions but really so worth it.
While this article will be most applicable to young adults leaving college, this may be applied to anyone looking for internships, getting into schools or someone looking to dive deeper into their career.
It is the all around get what you want in your career guide.
Lastly, who am I? I am a marketing guy (commodity role), entry level, with a 3.0 out of an average university (sorry VCU). I was selected to run marketing at a 3-year old software startup in silicon valley. And yes we are profitable.
My point is, I scored a position in a competitive city full of ivy league kids that were outlined for someone with skills far above "entry level".
I am not anything special, just ask my parents, but anyone can and should push the limits to be the best version of themselves.
Anywho, let's get to it.
THE GOLDEN RULE OF JOB HUNTING: NEVER EVER SETTLE. NEVER> EVER.
A stepping stone job is a job that will still allow you to learn what you want to learn, but just in a different industry.
For example, I wanted to do marketing for a neuroscience startup, I do marketing for a software startup.
Do not listen to mom & dad when they tell you to take sales job because it's a good stepping stone... there is nothing wrong with sales, but if you want to be a marketer, go get a damn job as a marketer.
It doesn't matter how long it takes. There are ways to make money until you get that job.
For example, if you drive UBER for three months to support yourself until you have the marketing job you want, it took three months time to get the dream gig. However, if you pick up that "stepping-stone" job in sales, you probably won't be a marketer until 12 months from now.
Which one nets a win sooner?
HOW TO DECIDE THE TYPE OF JOB YOU WANT
This is the hardest part, honestly. I want a job, where do I go? At the beginning, my best advice is to think about this all day. Take online tests, do whatever you have to do.
What do you like? What kind of things do you enjoy doing?
As you run through internships and find yourself in moments of euphoria, stop and write down what made you so happy in that moment. Was it writing a tweet? Was it building a design?
If this is truly a topic you struggle with, this article on doing what you love is REQUIRED reading.
This will help you learn and leave you with thoughts like;
"okay, so maybe I like being a designer, but which type of company?"
I promise, if you choose you want to be a designer, there will be a million companies in the world who are hiring a designer.
It will be overwhelming. You will not know where to start.
When you start with a list so vast, it becomes difficult to put your all into every single application. Especially, when you never hear back from most of them.
That's why we need to understand what we want. Most importantly is in this guide, you will NEVER send another job application again.
So with that said, once you know the type of job you want, you need to narrow your funnel and the best way to do this is to follow a passion.
Cliche, I know.
I like neuroscience, I do marketing and like to write, so I chose content marketing in neuroscience.
A better example is if you want to be a designer and care about healthcare, go investigate jobs in healthcare for designers. It will help narrow your search and it will be something you care about.
I know this is a VERY difficult phase. It took me a long time to really define these things. There were two tests and a few books that really helped me.
In this link, I outline resources & strategies to find things you care about. The two tests I mentioned are at the bottom of the page. I really recommend taking them.
Whether you take the tests or not, once you have a good idea of what these are, you have a direction and that's all we need to move onto the next step.
HOW TO FIND COMPANIES YOU WANT
It is now time to find companies in the industry that you love.
Here is how:
P.S. You are going to need a Google Spreadsheet for this. Record all things you do job hunting. Some things will work and others will not. This spreadsheet will be where you keep track of it all.
- Here is where you start.
- Go onto Crunchbase. This place is a company directory. You're gonna be BFFs with this tool.
- Search companies via the industry you have decided to work in.
- First, click the tab companies on the far left.
- Hit add companies filter
- Click "categories" then again select "categories" on the far right.
- In the generated search bar, type in the industry you have decided to pursue.
- See my image below.
UPDATE: CrunchBase recently trolled and added limitations that make you upgrade to a pro version. You can still get lots of leads from this.
- Once this is done, you have a list of many companies in that specific industry & information about them.
- Literally hi-light this entire table & copy and paste it into your Spreadsheet
- Next, create a second tab in your spreadsheet
- This is where you will compile information on leaders & executives
- Go back to CrunchBase
- Click on a company in CrunchBase, read about them, learn what they do, where they are located, how many employees they have and maybe look at their website.
- Think about this information and decide, are you interested?
- If you are interested, record the names and positions of the executives in the second tab of your spreadsheet.
- For the ones you do not like, delete them from your list.
My tip is to leave most of the companies on your list regardless of what they do. You should be willing to move.
Being young and working a job in an industry you care about is all you need to position yourself for a career as an expert in that field. Obviously, have targets you want more than others, but don't be nit-picky.
So after you do this, your spreadsheet should have company names, company info and a separate tab of executives info.
See below (my executive's tab)
Next, we are heading over to LinkedIn.
HOW TO FIND CONTACT INFO FOR YOUR DREAM COMPANY
The reason we did those previous steps is because on LinkedIn you have limited amount of commercial searches, so if you just typed in "neuroscience" you wouldn't be able to see past the first few pages.
However, if you type in someone's name, that is not counted as a commercial search.
SO, lucky for us, we have a nice list of everyone we want to contact so we won't be limited by commercial search.
To find the contact info we are going to mash together a few tools that will help us get the emails of anyone on the planet.
- On LinkedIn, you are going to type in the name of the executives in each company, one at a time.
- Find that person in the search results and click on their profile.
- You want them to see you visited their profile.
- This next step, you need to download this tool, Hunter.io
- Sign up for a free account
- Go back to the profile of your contact
- Once on the profile of your contact, follow the image below to get the email of the exec.
- Basically, you are just using Hunter to scrape their email.
- Copy that email and then paste it into your spreadsheet to fill out the info on your contacts
- Do this for all of the names on the list.
Hunter.io does this by identifying the name of the person on LinkedIn and then crawls the internet for any instances this is used in association with an email.
- So now that you have the emails of all of these people, you want to confirm it is the correct email.
- Download Rapportive and make a free account.
- After you install Rapportive, go to Gmail, open a new email and type in the email address of your contact into the contact field.
- If is their correct email, an image will show up on the right side of your screen displaying a contact card.
- See image.
This works because Rapportive generates the contact cards by taking the email you enter, checking to see if it is tied to any accounts in LinkedIn and if it is, pulls their basic information.
So if someone's email is added to their LinkedIn it will generate a contact card. Almost all professionals put their business email on LinkedIn so this confirms you have the right one.
First, I have no idea how Rapportive actually checks this. Second, some people are really slick and know this is a tactic people like us use to find them so they don't add their email.
It happens but is rare so don't sweat it.
Now, after you do this for everyone, you have a big list of companies in your industry, the names of their executives and the correct email of those people.
HOW TO REACH OUT TO YOUR DREAM COMPANY
There are plenty of ways to get the attention of a company.
I do recommend doing some research before reaching out. When I did this, I got lots of replies because I reached out with relevant conversation.
Lots of people do this and it is such a shame because they come all of this way and shit the bed with a bad email.
Put in the last bit of effort.
Things to look up:
- Go to their website, check out their product, see how it works etc. (read the whitepaper)
- Look up their press section, read about their mentions in the news
- See if they are hiring (this only matters a little)
- Look at the founders and find out where they used to work and what they are into
- Look for problems you can solve. Does their blog suck? Does their website break?
When I did this, I learned that there was a company titled Rythm and had shared plans to launch their product commercially in late 2016 during an interview with Forbes. This was not talked about on their website at all and I only learned this because I was reading their press mentions.
This was important because this meant they were going to need marketing. Something I do.
Additionally, their website had no mention of hiring a marketer, but this was obviously something they were going to emphasizing pretty soon.
This is how I decided they were a good prospect to reach out to.
A neuroscience company that will need marketing.
CRAFTING A GREAT COLD EMAIL
So, if you have done your research, you will hopefully have found a few companies that could actually need what you do (i.e. problems you can solve).
It is time to craft a magical email.
I recommend keeping this pretty short, but powerful.
The key to an email is a few things.
- Short intro that shows research
- Who you are, why you are relevant to them
- Explain how you believe there is an opportunity to work together
- Call to action for a phone call with two times you are free
- Say goodbye
I am going to show the email of what I sent for Rythm as I intend to continue the example I have already presented. Honestly, this email was kind of bad.
It received a response, but I wouldn't recommend following it to the T.
So that was an okay email.
It worked, but was too long and unfocused. There was no call to action at the end to get on the phone and was mostly just an excited plea to help out. I later learned I just had good timing.
Here is a template of what I would recommend sending now.
My name is Andrew. I was researching Rythm and saw your CEO, Hugo, mention in Forbes that you all are launching commercially in August.
This is very exciting. I am a skilled growth marketer and have experience growing and retaining awareness for new products using content and social media.
I am a neuroscience enthusiast and would really enjoy working on this.
If you are up to it, I'd love to hop on a brief 15 minute call to investigate this opportunity.
I am free Monday at 1:15 pm and Tuesday at 11:00am
The above email is easy to read, isn't needy, is highly specific at the beginning. I explain exactly how I can help, why I would love it and ends with a short, specific call to action.
Make saying yes as easy as possible. By putting two specific times, you reduce the need for an extra email.
**IMPORTANT** Before you send the email, download this tool Bananatag, it helps to schedule your email to automatically send whenever you want and put a tracking tag on it. This will allow you to see when/if your exec opens your email.
Additionally, keep track of everything in your spreadsheet. As you continue through this process, you will want to look back and see what messages worked and didn't work. In this spreadsheet, keep track of conversations and who opened/said what.
It gets pretty messy, but it is free! (we are looking for work aren't we?)
WHAT TO DO IF THEY DON'T RESPOND
If the person doesn't respond, the number one, most HIGHLY CONVERTING follow up email IS....
Hi Name, thoughts?
Source: a smart guy who used to send 500,000 emails a month
That simple. Also, please actually put their name, that was an example.
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Short and Simple
As you can imagine, sometimes this still doesn't work.
Sometimes you even get in touch with the company but things don't really go anywhere. This happened to me with Rythm.
Example Case Study - Rythm
After I hopped on the call with Rythm, I was unfocused, just like in my email. I was willing to do all of the things and really, most companies have a few problems that really suck. People who solve those problems are the ones who get hired.
Rythm kind of strung me along as they liked my passion, but I really wasn't solving their major problems. I was a guy out of college who had hustle, that's great, but that doesn't help a business survive.
We will loop back in on Rythm as I was a persistent troll but with that, I recommend the following two sections.
The first one "Know your shit!" & the Second "Go All In".
BEFORE YOU GET ON THE PHONE - KNOW YOUR SHIT
I have learned there are four core pillars to getting a reach/dream job.
- Know your shit
- Know someone
- Have a good mindset
- They actually need your skill set
While all four pillars are not necessary for just ANY job, if you really want to push yourself and get something "magical" these seem to be the critical points.
In the above process I have outlined, we are skipping over the need to know someone, if you do know someone it will still help, but going directly to the decision makers will put you directly into the relationship building phase of courting a company.
You no longer have to tip-toe around HR and you don't have to deal with the application black hole. Remember what I said about applications? I swear. You will NEVER fill one of those out again.
Seriously, though. I know recruiters at Microsoft, Apple, Pixar, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc... They all say you have almost NO CHANCE without a referral.
It's sad but true.
Another benefit of the above process is that it identifies companies that need your skill set before they even post it online. Using these strategies, I was literally interviewing at companies before they even wrote up a job description.
The above strategy also helps display your mindset, hustle, and love for the industry.
The point is... using the strategy above covers you on mindset, knowing someone and finding a company that needs you.
YOU HAVE TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM. AKA.
If you are a marketer, you better damn well know marketing!
If you do actually happen to be a marketer: My Full Guide to Content Marketing for Beginners
For the rest of you, this is an entirely different can of worms. Even for marketers. I cannot and this article cannot help you become talented at your work. For that, put your nose down and work hard.
Do projects outside of class and start building things. When I first made my website, it was as a way to learn.
Just go start making stuff. Use Lynda.com to get how-to videos on anything.
That's pretty much it. Do your homework. Know how to solve their problem and show it off.
Concrete examples of your craftiness or skills help a lot.
An example from me, I used AdWords to rack up $15,000 in UBER referral bonuses and that impressed a lot of people. It showed I drive results and knew how to use AdWords.
GO ALL IN IF YOU HAVE TO
Being young has its learning curves. As you can tell with Rythm, I didn't send the best email and I didn't have a great phone call, but I was getting somewhere.
I was really trying to prove myself to the company that I was legit.
I wasn't getting where I wanted so I went ALL IN.
Below are some strategies I used to get the attention of various companies or people.
Some are crazy. Some are ridiculous. When I said you were not going to send in an application again I meant it. I certainly didn't say it would be easy.
Steal ideas from me and go get what you want.
1. Make a website pitching yourself
I did this for Rythm. I really wanted to show off that I knew how to make a landing page, and write content so I put together a website pitching myself. I mirrored it to identically match their branding.
I went all in on this. It got me a sit down in person in San Francisco (more on this later).
SEE THE WEBSITE HERE. Yes, I paid for the website. Yes, I went all in. That's what you have to do. After I sent this I had another phone call where I learned they did, in fact, need marketing.
Below is another company I made a website for. It's just a screenshot because I cancelled the subscription for this one.
Notice, though, between the two websites, I implemented two ENTIRELY different voices/tones. I was matching the company. I was showing I could deliver to their audience from day one.
This was made for The Hustle.
This second website got me INSANE leverage. I had hunted down their editor in person, met an investor and had an old employee recommend me.\
I still had no traction.
This website got me the interview, though.
Unfortunately, the CEO determined he didn't want to take a risk on an entry level guy.
You move on :-)
2. Write a sample blog
For marketers, this is relevant, for others, IDK. I wrote the blog below like Rythm was actually posting it. Copy their tone, their messaging, show effort.
3. Do a project
This self-explanatory. Don't even ask for a project, just do it. Show how with limited resources from the outside you can help them out.
4. Run a Snapchat filter on their office
I have never actually done this BUT PLEASE. SOMEONE DO IT. This would be incredible. Someone try this and report back.
5. Run Facebook ads targeting industry players
I did this for neuroscientists in San Francisco. I was trying to get a recommendation from someone to Rythm and figured players in the industry would all chatter with each other.
I had almost 150 clicks on this ad for $40.
6. Fly to the city and go to a conference
Hop on Google, type in your industry name and the keyword conference. Whatever it is, there are conferences and you should be there.
Conferences are good because you will learn about that industry but second because your companies will probably be there. I planned a trip to San Francisco in May for a conference. This is when I sat down with Rythm and was able to score sit-downs with a few others in the industry.
Remember time is limited during your visit for the conference, make sure you get a sit-down with the people who matter.
7. When all else fails, just pack your bags & move
After I visited San Francisco in May, things were not looking swell. For me, this city was a no brainer, so I moved. I had no job and no house. But I packed my bags & drove over.
You need to do this strategically, though. Start making money now so you can have savings incase things get to this point.
Also, have a plan for income. I drove to San Francisco because I planned to drive UBER. You can now even rent a car from UBER for free if you drive a certain amount of hours.
8. In your new city... be everywhere
Driving for UBER was a no brainer. I met lots of people and talked to them how I was hustling and looking for work. I taped little personal advertisements on the back of my chair for riders to read and see.
Go to events.
Utilize your Tinder bio. Whatever. Get crafty.
9. Make a video pitch
In this video, I pitched myself to a company. I start and focused on how I could solve their problems the entire time.
This guide is from over one year of insanely focused job hunting strategies. There is plenty more to share and to learn when it comes to networking, which is also a critical part of job hunting, but that is for another piece.
If you want that piece, just request it.
Also, you may notice, based on the job I do currently hold, I did not end up in neuroscience. Which is pretty ironic.
Interestingly enough, that was a conscious decision. I could have stayed focused and found myself a job in one of those companies but when I saw the opportunity at my current job it had things I had never even considered going for at this age.
For example, running marketing is something I am insanely grateful to have and lets me learn and advance my career way more than I would have in any neuroscience company.
Additionally, the company I ended up accepting a position at would never have hired me if I hadn't done all of the things I mentioned above.
I showed them what I had done and they were thoroughly impressed by the work I had put together for OTHER COMPANIES.
My team, SherpaDesk, invests in me. They are trusting me to build the marketing department. They believe in my capabilities, they listen to my opinion and cover the costs of conferences to make sure I continue learning.
At age 23, there is nothing else I could really ask for and so I made a conscious decision to join them.
If you remember what I mentioned earlier. A job like this (is fantastic) but based on my previous rationale, it is a stepping stone. By this I mean, I wanted marketing, I got marketing.
Please test out some of these strategies I talked about. Try your own. Make things up.
It is all trial and error. I am always a resource to those out there.
Hit me up on Facebook if you want to chat. I am determined to help others do the things they want.