The Five O’Clock Club’s book Shortcut Your Job Search has a great technique for getting interviews. My clients have used it to land interviews in organizations they are interested in. A prerequisite is that you have a list of target organizations ready, i.e. your “job-search marketing plan”. Then, send an e-mail out to everyone you know– family, friends, former business associates, old professors, acquaintances, your dentist, etc. Think big in terms of your network: it’s not just the five people you talk to regularly, it’s everyone you know or have known who doesn’t dislike you! Details of the email:
- The subject line could be something like: “Your help requested”.
- An example of the e-mail body (feel free to change/personalize): “Hi all, as some of you may know I’m starting to explore other career options, and am writing to ask for your help. I’d be very interested in having a 10 minute conversation with contacts you might have in any of the organizations listed below. In our conversation I would not be asking for a job, but rather would ask your contact about how the company is organized and where my skillset could be a fit down the road.”
- Then tell them what you are looking for– put your pitch here, with 3-5 bullet points listing your accomplishments.
- Close by asking for the phone numbers/e-mail addresses of their contacts.
- At the bottom of the e-mail, list all the organizations you are interested in. This list of organizations is key, because the list will help to remind the e-mail recipients of people they know in these organizations.
- Make sure to blind copy all the email recipients!
Once your recipients respond with contact names, e-mail these contacts saying in the subject line “Referred by <name of your referrer>”, and then write a standard networking e-mail, requesting time for a 10 minute conversation, that you will not be asking for a job, etc. It doesn’t matter if they are not in the department you’re interested in– they may know the person who is, use their access to the company intranet to see openings not visible to outsiders, or have contacts in other companies. Or, they might tell you something about the company or industry that you can use in marketing yourself.
I’ve used this technique myself and with clients and have seen it work well! Also, while this example covers email, adapt the idea for other applications if that is where your network resides, e.g. Facebook or LinkedIn.