When my first post-college job moved their headquarters from Miami Beach to Amherst, Massachusetts, I decided to move along with it, even though I knew the move was temporary. I wanted to gain new job experience and live in a new place. After nine months of living in Massachusetts, I started to put feelers out for new job opportunities back in South Florida. This blog post is an abridged version of my job-hunting process and how I found my second post-college job!
A little background. My approach to job-hunting stemmed from what I learned in the book, “What Color is your Parachute?”. A new version of this book comes out yearly; I read the 2015 edition. The biggest lesson I learned from this book is to connect your skills and passions to a job-opportunity. Don’t be afraid to research thoroughly and reach out to companies, even if they are not currently hiring. If you do this, it shows the company that you have a special interest in them! Instead of stating that you are a ‘go-getter’ in your resume, this is a tangible way to show an employer that you know how to take initiative.
Here is the step-by-step approach that landed me a small-business consulting job.
- First, I identified my skills and passions:
- My first job out of college was as a customer service representative at a start-up clean-energy company. Due to the start-up nature, I was able to rise through the ranks to Director of Operations within just one year. I knew after this experience that I was passionate about business operations, and I had a skill for helping make business processes more efficient. Skills and passions- check!
- Second, I narrowed down my job search to my ideal careers:
- Specifically, I wanted to work for a small-business consulting company. I wanted the company to be less than 50 people and to be based in South Florida. I wanted the opportunity to learn and develop quickly. These factors helped narrow down the search.
- Third, I utilized the LinkedIn search function:
- LinkedIn has a great, detailed search function where you can narrow down companies by location, services, number of employees, etc. Even more search capabilities are unlocked if you upgrade your LinkedIn account. When I searched in 2015, I did not upgrade the search function, but it may be helpful to do so now! Using the tool, I compiled a list of 25 ‘ideal’ companies.
- Fourth, I created a Google Spreadsheet to track my progress:
- On a spreadsheet I listed the 25 companies, their websites, phone numbers, key emails, and other notes I found during my research. I located the emails from the company website or from LinkedIn. I also created columns for “First Contact Date,” “Follow-up Date,” and “Company’s Response,” so I could keep track of progress. It’s definitely important to stay organized while applying for jobs, as the process can require multiple follow-ups before any response.
- Fifth, I cold-called each company via email and phone:
- I first sent a targeted email (See the email template below!) with my resume, in PDF format, attached, then within the hour I called to see if they received my email and if they had any questions, or if I should forward the email on to another employee.
- These were the initial responses I received:
- 18 out of 25 companies- No response via email or phone. I followed up with these companies a week later, and got a few more responses then! The tracker from Step #4 was useful here.
- 4 out of 25 companies – Upon phone call, the company clearly stated they were not hiring and asked me not to email or call again. One was quite rude, but that was a good sign I did not want to work for that company!
- 3 out of 25 companies – Responded positively, but stated they had no current openings. Here is one of their responses: “I wanted to acknowledge receipt of your resume and let you know that at the present moment we don’t have any opportunities I can share with you. Rest assured that I will keep your information and should we come across any positions we will contact you.” I marked these emails for follow up in my calendar for a month later.
- Remember, I reached out to companies even if they were not currently hiring! These responses are to be expected. This can be an exhausting process, but you can do it!
- Finally, get an interview!
- One of the three companies that had initially responded saying they appreciated the email but had no opportunities, actually emailed me back two weeks later asking to set up an interview. After seeing my email they started thinking about how I could be an asset to the current team and re-evaluated their initial response. I ended up getting the job and worked for that amazing company for almost two years before I went back to school for accounting!
I know there are a million ways to find a new job, and above is just one idea. This method may also become trickier when the company is bigger. I understand that many large companies are more formal and rigid in their hiring processes and may not be as open to cold-calls (or emails). Despite the limitations, I still think Steps #1 and 2 are invaluable for everyone. Being able to link your passions and skills with a job-opportunity is a great way to find an amazing life-long career!
To give you a few other job-hunting ideas: concurrently with Steps #1-5, I also did the following to expand my search:
- I used my college’s career portal to make another list of companies that were currently hiring and sent in my applications. This is how I found my first job out of college! It’s important to use all resources at your disposal, and college career centers are a great resource.
- I reached out to family and friends with my resume and the type of job I was looking for. I emailed uncles, teachers, third-cousins, literally nothing was off-limits! Just be sure to be extra, extra respectful and grateful if they offer to help on your behalf. Connections are your biggest asset when it comes to job-hunting, but I want to empower you to not see a lack of connections as a setback to finding the perfect job for you.
- One thing I did not get a chance to do, but I will definitely do in the future, is informational interviews. Use LinkedIn to see if you have a connection with someone at a company in a field you are interested in. Maybe they went to the same school as you or grew up in the same hometown. Reach out to them and ask if they would be willing to chat with you about their job and come prepared to the meeting or phone-call with thoughtful questions showing that you took time to learn about them and their industry. This may not lead to a job opportunity directly, but it will help you decide if that industry is for you!
My hope is that this post may inspire or help someone who is currently looking for a career change or trying to find a new job due to COVID. If you try this method and it works, please let me know so I can share any tips or tricks you found as well! I am also happy to talk one-on-one if you have any specific job-hunting or resume questions as well! Please feel free to reach out to me on social media (Facebook or Instagram).
See below for the email template I used in Step #5. It works best if you tailor as closely as possible to the person and company, but I hope it gives you an idea of where to start!
Example Cold-Call Email Template
Dear [THEIR NAME],
I firmly believe that I would be an asset to your consulting firm because of my experience successfully working my way through a number of jobs at a start-up company to become Director of Operations. I have a strong passion for operations improvement, superior customer service, managing change, and motivating staff. Consulting combines these passions with the added excitement of travel and meeting new people, which I love.
[COMPANY NAME] is also passionate about transforming companies and organizations to produce better results through leadership and culture development, talent acquisition and more. A quick phone call would help convince you that I could be a very valuable addition to your consulting firm. Attached is my resume.
Thank you in advance for your time.
[Also attach your PDF resume!]
Side Note: I am currently working at my third post-college job (public accounting), and I love it! I am not personally looking for a job right now. I would love to share more about accounting as a career in future posts. Stay tuned!