I applied for over 100 jobs on LinkedIn without getting a response, before making a change that quickly landed me a position I really wanted. According to Mr. Albert Einstein, that makes me an insane person. As the Einstein quote goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Insane might be a little harsh, but “lazy” might be a more accurate way of putting it.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself:
Apparently applying for dozens and dozens of jobs in an industry in which you have no professional experience and for positions you are unqualified for, is not effective. I know…who knew? My explanation goes like this; I knew I wasn’t happy with what I was doing, but I was still interested to see where I could go within the company. So I continued to apply for digital marketing jobs on LinkedIn secretly hoping that one would catch.
Then I got promoted, and I was more miserable than ever.
The most thrilling part of my days was my daily quest to the water machine, and my mostly unsuccessful goal to evade being stuck in small talk ending in a dull agreed excitement of how it’s “almost Friday”. On the bright side of this experience, I figured out that I definitely don’t like: blinding fluorescent lights, monthly bagel birthday celebrations, zero flexibility, reluctance for change, un-meaningful work..I’ll stop there.
Do I sound like a millennial yet? Oh well.
I knew I needed to get serious about my job search and to change my approach. Right around this time, I stumbled across this Gary V video:
I took the advice and totally bought into the approach. The result? Within weeks I had an internship which would turn into a full-time position. Here’s how it happened:
Know What You Want To Do Next
Millennials have a stigma of hopping from job to job. This Forbes article describes it as a good thing. They say job hopping millennial’s are more likely to develop their ideal career on a faster track, earn a higher wage, and find a better fit. Those things might be true, but employers want commitment. The idea of an endless cycle of hiring new employees and training them is not their idea of a good time, especially if it’s a small agency. Making job hopping a habit will certainly scare away future potential employers.
My biggest issue when trying to find a job was not committing 100% into doing SEO. People can sense when you’re wishy-washy and that can draw a huge red flag. I knew I wanted to be involved in digital marketing since college because I loved doing creative marketing for the bar I worked at and had always thought it would be a rewarding career. But I wasn’t job-searching with a 100% commitment into being an SEO Analyst. Once, I made the conscious decision to go all in, in one direction, everything changed.
I suggest writing down what it is you dislike like about your current job and start researching for positions that can fill those voids. Please don’t solely leave this to job descriptions on the internet, you must connect with people. Ask friends who have experience in that field, or if they can introduce you to someone who has experience in what you’re looking for. Buy them coffee and have them talk you through their day-to-day.
Have A Plan
My approach was to find hiring decision makers in digital marketing companies on LinkedIn and reach out to them directly by email. Drafting a thoughtful and effective email is the most important part of this process. Remember, your emailing extremely busy people with a lot on their plates. I took inspiration from Tim Ferriss and his Tips For Emailing Busy People.
I wrote my emails with the mindset of “why should this person respond to me?” What are they getting out of spending their time talking to someone with no experience? They’ve spent thousands of hours getting good at what they do, why should they share it with me? You get a response by being respectful of their time and being valuable. Ask yourself what kind of value can you bring to them, whether that’s a skill you possess or in my case, willingness to grind and temporarily work for free.
Take Massive Action
I set aside time every night to scroll through LinkedIn and search for agency owners, managers, CEO’s, etc. I would research their companies, and take my time in crafting thoughtful emails that were personalized to their company, while also being short and concise. My goal was to get a coffee meeting, not to necessarily land a job right off the bat. I wanted to get a few minutes of someone time to learn about them, the business/industry, let them know I’m willing to grind and work for free and find out if it would be a good fit and make sense for us to work together.
To me, massive action means, if it is comfortable for me to send 5 of these emails per night, then I need to send at least 10-15. Without taking massive action I would still be sitting in traffic every day, heading to my same old job, wondering if this is what the rest of my life looks like. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Obviously, the approach of working for free and grinding for experience won’t work for everyone. Many people have families, financial restraints, or just aren’t willing. This is just one option and something that worked for me in a huge way. I just want to get the word out that if you feel stuck, and think there’s no way of breaking into an industry or trying something new, there’s always a way.