The “strength” of your resume isn’t opening any doors.
In fact, what your resume says isn’t really even what hiring managers are considering when bringing you in for an interview. I mean, face it, there are hundreds of people that have the same boring bullet points on their resume.
What WILL open the door for you is the strength of the relationship you have with someone that already works in the company you’re interested in.
With that in mind, I wanted to create a short guide that will show you exactly how to go about getting your foot in the door of a targeted company or companies by leveraging the contacts you already have in your network.
Let me explain…
Each one of us has at least 100 people in our lives that like, love and respect us. They are our champions, our go-to people, friends and allies that ultimately will do what they can to assist us in getting what we want. I call it your POWER 100 List.
Step One: Your goal is to identify who these people are and how to contact them.
The easiest way to do this is to create a spreadsheet with the following column headings:
First Name Last Name Email Phone
Then, begin filling in lines with people that have your back. These could be friends, mentors, parents, aunts, uncles, professors, former employers, teachers, guidance counselors, your dean… anyone who you believe would be willing to do something for you just because you ask. Don’t stop until you reach 100 rows filled in.
Step Two: Use Mailchimp.com to send out a customized mass email.
Mailchimp.com is an email delivery service that allows you to write one email and customize it for every person on your spreadsheet. It’s a whole lot easier than you might think, so please don’t stress about how you’re going to do this. In fact, I’ll walk you through it.
First, log onto www.mailchimp.com and set up an account. It’s free up to 2,000 email addresses as long as you’re sending less than 12,000 emails a month. Trust me, you won’t be sending that many.
Once you’ve setup the mailchimp account, you are then going to import the list that you created into the service. That’s as easy as clicking on the link that says Import. Select your file and voila, the service imports that data you put in the spreadsheet. Mailchimp will ask you to verify that the data was imported correctly. Once you do that, you’re ready to create the mailer that will go out to your mass list — which I’m about to do for you!
Click on the link that says CREATE EMAIL and cut and paste the following text customized with the companies/industries you want to work within:
SUBJ: I’d love your help with a goal of mine
I know it’s been awhile since we visited, but you are someone that I look up to very much and I was hoping to get your input on a goal/dream of mine.
I’m currently a senior at University Name majoring in business management. My experience at company name last summer gave me some incredible skills that I was hoping to parlay into a position with either Ernst & Young, ABC Consulting, or Disney. My ultimate goal is to be doing xxxxxxxxx in the next 5 years.
As you are probably aware, in this competitive job market, most positions are awarded first through networking and business contacts. Instead of sending my resume into the abyss, I was hoping to find a contact within one of my target companies that might be able to put in a good word for me and direct my resume to the appropriate party.
Trust me, I will value any introduction as highly as I value our relationship, you have my word.
If you don’t happen to know anyone at my dream companies, I’d welcome any suggestions or advice you may have on next steps to take in pursuing my new career. I realize that my education is really just beginning, and I’m eager to tackle new challenges and opportunities! If you know of something that may be a fit based on what you know about me, I’d love to hear it.
I hope this email finds you well, and that we have a chance to catch-up in the very near future! Thanks for all you’ve done to help shape the professional I’m becoming.
Step Three: FOLLOW UP!!
Assuming you get responses (which you will!), now the magic is in the follow up. Send an email reply back to the people that sent you leads and make sure that you keep them in the loop with the contacts they provided you.
The ONLY way this doesn’t work is if you don’t. One of the pieces of advice I give job seekers all the time is if you’re out of work, your job IS to land a job. Spend 6 hours a day responding to emails, setting up informational interviews, and worming your way into the companies you most want to work for.
One of the coolest features of MailChimp is your ability to track who is opening the emails and reading them. If you know that 50 people read the email and 20 of them responded, consider sending a follow up email to the 30 that didn’t respond. Again, it’s all about your ability and drive to connect with your POWER 100 List.
I can almost hear you asking, “but what do I say to the contacts?”
Here’s an email to send to contacts you receive:
My name is YOUR NAME and I’m a senior at UNIVERSITY graduating in May with a degree in MANAGEMENT. Snookie Stackhouse gave me your name as someone that she admired and was working for one of the companies I’m targeting in my job search.
I realize this is a big ask, but would you be willing to allow a college student to buy you coffee and ask you some questions about working for The Vampire Network? I only ask for 30 minutes, and I will come prepared with questions so as not to waste your time. I’m happy to bring your favorite drink to your place of work if that’s more convenient for you.
I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to consider this request and look forward to meeting you in person. Snookie had nothing but great things to say about you!
If you’d rather do this over the phone, here’s what to say:
“Hi firstname, my name is YOUR NAME and the reason I’m calling is SNOOKIE STACKHOUSE gave me your information as someone that I should contact.
Did I catch you at a good time? (wait for answer… if yes.. continue. If no, schedule a call with them at a later time.)
(They’ll ask something like, “what can I do for you?”)
Well, as I mentioned, SNOOKIE suggested I reach out to you because you are working in a company or capacity that I’d ultimately like to achieve in my career and I was hoping to pick your brain a bit. I know you’re super busy, so I hesitate to even ask, but would you have 30 minutes or so in the next week to do a quick informational interview?
I’m happy to grab your favorite beverage and meet you at your office if that would be more convenient for you.
I just really really appreciate your willingness to help out a college student. One of my goals is to be very strategic about my job search process and I think your insight would be invaluable.
If the thought of making calls or sending a blind email asking for help puts you in a cold sweat, GET OVER IT! The easiest way to get over it is to just do it. Remember, do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain. If you must, practice the phone conversation with your roommate, parents, or professor.
One of the greatest motivators of human beings is the desire to help one another. While you are asking for a small favor, you are also granting them one of the greatest opportunities we have as individuals — that is, to make a mark on your life.
To your rapid success!