Career Strategy 4: How to Get a Job at …

Every year the list of top companies to work for comes out. You may read about their benefits or their culture, and think to yourself, “I would be a great fit for that company.” You go and research. The more you learn, the more you want to work there.

How do you actually get a job at one of those companies? Well, let me tell you.

  1. Gather information
  2. Prepare for success
  3. Reach out to many people in a positive way
  4. Take employees to lunch
  5. Land the job
  6. Make the leap of faith

Gather information

Do as much research as you can about the company, the culture, and the employees. You already know what your skills are, so look through the company’s job site and find jobs that you would fit into. Make a list of all possible positions. It could take you some time to map the structure of the organization.

Write down any questions you have, and come up with ideas to improve the company in the areas that you are targeting.

Prepare for Success

Look at the roles that you would be the best fit for. Do you have the right skills? If there are huge gaps on your resume, you need to fill those gaps. Working in your dream job at your dream company will take some work, but is worth it. Work with your current manager to add requirements to your job that will give you those skills.

Reach Out

As you work on those skills, go onto LinkedIn and find people who have that role, or are on similar teams to that role. Reach out to them, but not in a generic way. People working at these companies get emails all of the time asking to connect. They only respond if the request comes in a way that is relatable, personal, and applicable.

Reach out with a specific purpose in mind that isn’t, “can you give me a job.” They know that you want a job, but you need to prove to them that you are the person that they want in their organization. You do this by spending time with people. They are much more likely to respond to an offer to take them to lunch than a blind resume blast. (I actually wouldn’t send my resume until they specifically ask for it or at least until the dialogue has progressed)

Your note could look something like this. “Hi Brandon, I am impressed by your background in Supply Chain, particularly how your analytics skillset has helped you in your career. I’m going to be in Portland in September. Can I take you out to lunch for an hour on Tuesday, September 25th? I’d like your advice on how to leverage my engineering expertise in the supply chain world”

Employee Lunch

When you do actually meet, do what you said you would do (ask about engineering in supply chain, end the lunch after the hour, etc). You are still in the relationship building and information gathering stage. You could figure out what skills they value in their employees, or what are pain points that the company has and is trying to fix. This will all help you to understand the company and to help brand yourself for their needs.

As the meeting is ending ask them if there is anyone else that they think would be valuable for you to talk to. Specifically, if there are any questions that they didn’t know the answer to, use that as a way to connect to someone else.

If you won’t be in the area, try to set up a call. If you go this route, send them the questions you are trying to answer beforehand so that they know you have thought about it, and it won’t waste their time.

Landing a Job

As a follow-up, thank them for their time. If you do have the skills, you are a good fit, and you have built some rapport, then find the specific job and say something like: “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me again…I was looking at your job search site and found a role that I feel I would be a great fit for. Would you be willing to direct me to the right person to apply for this position?”

They may not help you, but if you proved yourself in the conversation they will at least pass your resume along. If they really like you, they will go out of their way to help you get into the company.

If it doesn’t work with this person, don’t give up. Keep connecting with people until you find someone that you connect well with. (I have a friend who reached out to 20 people in the company before finding someone who really wanted to help them. It may have taken those 19 people for him to brand himself well enough for that 20th person).

Once the interview process starts, follow the advice found everywhere on effective interviews.

Making the Leap

In the end, I’m hoping you get an offer. It may not always be your dream job, but be willing to take a leap of faith to get into the company. Most of these top 100 places to work companies got to that position because they help their people to do the things they like to do. Once you are in, you can work your way over to your dream job.

Even if this takes years of work, you will be happier for doing it, and the journey itself will develop you as a person.

Good luck out there!

 

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