#CareerGoals: Getting Your Foot in the Door
Here at Influenster, we can't think of anything better than seeing women absolutely crush it in the workplace. We interact with driven, accomplished, and determined women every day, so we though—why not ask them for some career advice?
We gave you the chance to ask me, Influenster's co-founder, anything related to starting or improving your career. After reading through all of your questions and comments, I see a lot of you are wondering how to start your own business and what it takes to jump start your career. Read on to get some advice and discover what I've learned through my personal experience!
RETHINK YOUR JOB SEARCH:
Instead of scouring mass listings for openings and sending your resume to the (sometimes impersonal) abyss of HR departments, why not reverse the process? I’ve always found better results going directly to the decision-maker, not the gatekeeper. Decide what you want to do, where you want to work, then go after it.
TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED:
Now that you’ve honed in on your target “wish list” companies, it’s time to find your potential bosses (LinkedIn is a great resource). It’s pretty easy to find out email addresses these days, and there's nothing wrong with trying to get in front of a potential employer the old fashioned way—a physical letter! After researching the right contacts, I wrote several thoughtful letters to high-level TV ad executives in NYC to land my very first job. One called me into his office and was so impressed with my resourcefulness and ambition that he connected me to an entry level job at an advertising agency.
Bottom line: Do your homework, find the right people, and be sure to say why you want the job and what makes you special!
MAKE IT PERSONAL:
When doing outreach to potential employers, start with something personal and compelling. Some examples to think about: Did this person just win an award? Write an article? Achieve something in his/her field? Acknowledge it. People love compliments and recognition. See if there are similarities between you and the potential contact. Like did you go to the same school? Both played soccer? Were you two in the same sorority? From same city or state? This is a good way to make a personal connection. For example, I always give love to people from Iowa or ASU! This is an easy segue way into talking about who you are, why you want to work with them, and what you hope to do in the future.
KEEP IT SHORT:
Just remember to keep it short! Everyone is busy. Say what you have to say in a few paragraphs and sign off asking if they can meet for a coffee or phone call on a certain day at a certain time. Remember, you only want a few minutes of their time.
Oftentimes, the ones who get in the door are the most persistent so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and follow up if you don’t hear back. Again, people are busy, remember?
IT’S A NUMBERS GAME:
Remember how I said I reached out to several ad execs? Don’t set your sights on one company and be done with it. Come up with a solid list of many prospects and gather the contact info of several relevant contacts within those companies. The more you contact, the higher your chances of success!
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK:
I can’t stress the power of networking enough. Again, LinkedIn is a great tool. Make new connections through people you know. A good thing to do is to research how you’re connected to other business contacts on LinkedIn who can potentially make a warm intro for you. But even if you don’t have that, don’t be discouraged, there are many ways to introduce yourself and build contacts in your industry of interest.
Join local organizations in your field – love marketing? PR? Check out local associations and meetups. In college? Check out what student organizations there are. Talk to your professors. Talk to other successful people in general. How did they get their foot in the door? What tactics worked for them?
So, do you have any tips or tricks for getting your foot in the door? Any questions or comments?! Tell us all about it in the comments below!
Stay tuned because we’ll have more articles coming up soon about navigating your job search, landing the perfect internship, and getting your business started! We’ll be doing Influenster #CareerGoals Chats regularly and want to cover the topics that are important to YOU.