Breaking In When You Don’t Have an In

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A client of mine recently set his sights on a job at an exciting start-up in his town. He knew that companies like to hire through employee referrals, so he searched his network.

He came up empty, and then came to me with an idea. An idea he’d read about online: Send a package to the HR Director with a shoe and your resume. Written on the shoe: “Looking to get a foot in the door!”

These kinds of “notice me” tricks seem as old as the universe. I’ve heard plenty. One candidate sent a giant cookie with his resume printed in frosting on the top. Another man who came to me for coaching said he had sent more than 200 packages to HR managers—what they contained, I’m not exactly sure. One of the recipients did call him, but did not line up an interview.

HR folks are frequently subjected to oddball shenanigans from prospective employees who are looking to make an impression.

They do make an impression, of course. But not usually a good one.

Create the Connections That Get You a Job

Back to the problem that sparks these bad ideas: How do you get that proverbial foot in the door when you don’t have an existing connection to the company?

Spend your time creating a connection to the company.

It’s really impossible to overstate the importance of networking. As crucial as it is, people still don’t do it. But yes, you should. If you want to find a job, you need to take networking seriously.

Yes, go to networking events, but don’t stop there. Attend conferences. Join professional associations. Reach out on LinkedIn and join membership groups like Ivy Exec. Get a mentor.

Opportunities are everywhere. You just need to take action.

Fortunately, my client agreed to skip gimmicks and rev up his networking. A short time later, he attended a local tech conference where the VP of Product at the start-up he was interested in gave a talk. After the session, my client stuck around and introduced himself. He gave a one-minute pitch that described his enthusiasm for the company and his background. He then received a coveted business card from the VP, along with a request to send his resume.

About the Author

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.