Dear Studio Remarkable Guy:
How to I find a job for my son?
Dear Worried Mother:
Landing the first job is always tough, even if you have a good school behind you.
I was in a situation where the dot com bubble had started to burst and jobs were getting scarce coming out of college. I spent the entire summer after graduation living with a couple of friends, frantically searching for a job every day. I had a routine and a quota of applying to at least a couple of jobs every single day. It took time and discipline to force one’s self to sit down and keep cranking out inquiries.
After a few interviews and a couple of low-ball offers that I turned down, I spent most of the month of August very worried, as I got no responses at all. In mid-September though, things really came together all at once, as I had three jobs chasing me. In the job hunt, one’s luck can all change overnight.
I found that the traditional method of checking online postings or newspaper ads didn’t work very well since everyone sees those listings and, when unemployment is high, those ads get deluged with experienced candidates. A new graduate might need to find ways to sneak in the back door.
Of key importance is to leverage Linked-In, Facebook, and the college alumni contact directory. Use these to get yourself organized and be methodical about examining all of your contacts. On social networking sites, look at one’s contacts and friends-of-friends. If there are friends-of-friends of interest, ask mutual friends for introductions or, if you don’t have a mutual friend, contact them directly to ask for an informational interview. Oftentimes, simply catching up on where your existing network is working and what they are doing can lead to some unexpected revelations and opportunities.
Mind you, informational interviews are not opportunities to ask for a job nor should a person do so. Rather, it serves as an opportunity to connect with someone and learn about what they do and how they got there.
While looking for my first job, I had a very notable informational interview that my former college adviser set up for me soon after graduation and it really changed my perspective on technical consulting, resulting in me wanting to more actively pursue such jobs.
If a person is really lucky and hits it off well with the interviewee, the interviewee may think of the person down the road when a job is open in their area.
Also, research businesses in your area that might be good fits and ask to speak with someone in HR. The first job that I eventually got was one that was not being advertised, nor did it really exist prior to me inquiring to the company. While reading the newspaper one day, I noticed an ad for a technical consulting firm that was across a lake from where I lived.
The ad was promoting the company in the news section though, so it was not an ad for hiring new staff. Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I e-mailed the general information address for the company, explained who I was, and asked for an informational interview with anyone in the company who was available to talk, pointing out that I was right in the neighborhood. Within two hours, someone in their HR department was asking me to stop in and bring a resume. Within three days, I had another round of interviews and a job offer for a great salary in exactly the sort of job that I was looking for.
It was crazy.
While the phrase is sort of cliche, my experience has shown that you need to think outside-the-box; be methodical and organized in your approach, and use that approach to network like crazy. I am not a very social person and am normally shy, but I will e-mail just about anyone. Use whatever means is comfortable to take those first steps.
It becomes a fun challenge of sorts to try to meet people who might be interested in the same things as you and the effort is often rewarded.
Studio Remarkable Guy