This week we received two great, totally unsolicited, job applications from people looking to work at Hourly, and it strengthened my long-standing belief that in many cases great jobs are not found but created. I know that I myself have found jobs via traditional job boards, but the ones that have proven most successful over time were the result of an email or letter I wrote to a company that I followed, and noticed something that I thought I might be able to help improve. Not in a snarky, your product sucks way (this will never land you the job) but instead in a constructive, I love your company and think this might make it even better way.
Case in point from today’s email to us:
“I am writing to express interest in joining the Hourly team as a media strategist, in a full-time or part-time/freelance capacity. I would be eager to use my experience…..to generate media interest and work to insert Hourly into the national dialogue around employment, “the gig economy,” and modern freelancing…. Hourly is a terrific and much-needed startup that helps freelancers find meaningful work in their skill set and connect with employers and clients who have bypassed the headache of sifting through responses from their gig ads on craigslist.”
Did she get a response from us? You bet! While we were not looking to hire at that moment, “Betty’s” email was thoughtful, and resonated enough with us to start the conversation, and give her a leg up on the competition.
So how can you be a job creator?
- Monitor those companies that most interest you. Get to know not only their products & services, but those of their closest competitors. Watch for breaking news, follow their stock (if applicable) and any seasonal or demand changes. You want to be an innovator or problem solver, so look for opportunities.
- Understand the hiring cycle. If you are interested in working for a hot startup, watch CrunchBase to see which companies have recently received funding. $$ = New Hires. Alternatively if you want to work for a swanky retail store, watch for improving sales in the media or seasonal demand changes like summer & major holidays which typically drives hiring.
- Have a point of contact. NEVER send a blind email or letter to HR. Do your homework and find out who the head of the department is where you want to work, and their exact title. If it is a public company, department heads are often listed on the last few pages of the annual report. Otherwise pick up that phone and call. Receptionists will share more than you think. Just ask.
- Carefully craft your letter. As mentioned above, you must walk a fine line between singing the companies praises and discussing how you can add value. Always keep it positive. For small retail businesses, we recommend an in-person visit. Be sure to dress well and arrive at a time when the boss is not swamped helping customers, such as first thing in the morning.
- For god sakes, be sure to follow-up by phone (Emails give it 3 days, letter 5 days and in-person visits 3 days). Be courteous to all assistants. They are not only the gatekeepers to getting through to the boss, but trusted advisors, so treat them well.
Go get ‘em!