It’s not what you know, it’s who you… (STOP!)

Getting a job out of college is such a pain. You’ve worked hard (except that last semester when you had bowling and folk dancing) and should see the offers flowing in. 

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. 

That internship at Burger Palace didn’t work out as you’d planned (bastardized line from Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature CD) and now you’re sitting at home thinking that life has to get better soon, or you’re going to go crazy. 

This doesn’t make any sense! I sent out 400 resumes to those addresses my college roommate looked up on the Web. What happened? About 40 of those got returned, 20 bounced-back in e-mails, and the other 320, no response.   

Why not take yourself into the mind of the recipient for a brief moment. 

“Hey Martha, can you go down to the mailroom and pick up today’s large and ridiculous stack of resumes?” “Yes, Mr. Witherspoon. What would you like for me to do with them?” “Take them to H.R. Tell them to write everyone: “Thanks for your interest. But had you read our Web site, or called us, you’d know that we haven’t hired anyone since 1909.” Also, please note: “Mr. Witherspoon’s title is not CEO, it’s Damn Big Deal.”   After that, consider your resume DOA!   “Look at this pretty cover letter with flowers and a very nice scent of hemp.”  This, as much as you might think, isn’t going to work. 

Why not try this exercise. Think of seven people you know. No, not the guy at your favorite drinking establishment; I mean really know. Identify anyone that you might know, your parents know and anyone your family knows that would help you connect with people in the business, or better yet, pick up the phone and call a friend in New York, Chicago or
Omaha (ok, so we’re casting a large net here on the Omaha thing). 

Then identify who on that list of seven could help you land an interview, phone call or give a contact to send your resume too.    

It is all about networking and the ability to take advantage of your contacts, or your family and friends’ contacts. Oh no! I can’t do that! Well, let’s look at our little black and compact rule book: 

Rule One:  It’s about Networking.   

Rule Two:  It’s who you know, or someone you know who’s willing to talk to someone in the business. 

Rule Three:  Very few people, if any, ever get hired from a resume. Maybe a resume mailing campaign will get you a call back, or separated into a smaller stack of resumes, but the best way to secure a chance to talk to someone who is a real person is to use the contacts available to you. Rarely do we (at our agency) snub someone who is a referral. After all, a phone call or recommendation from a colleague is quite impressive and will give you a fighting chance. 

Rule Four:  Swallow your pride, punk!  Networking and using your associates is not a bad thing. If you think it’s wrong or cheesy, well, let’s ask that person who actually got the job where you had applied.

1 thought on “It’s not what you know, it’s who you… (STOP!)

  1. Jim is right on again! Be sure to tell the interviewer that you WANT the job if you actually do. Sure, they assume you want it (or you wouldn’t have applied). But go out there and get it, let them know what YOU would do in the job and some good AND bad perspectives you see from your position.

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