From the Sandbox: Seven Tactics to Become Insanely Employable. By Rajeeb Dey and Ed Fry.July 16th, 2011 by Nathalie de Meyeres
Every day, our community manager, Nathalie de Meyeres, reads through her feed of all Sandboxers’ blog posts. Every week, she chooses the most inspiring, funny or brilliant ones and reposts them on this blog. This post was written by Sandboxer Rajeeb Dey and Ed Fry on the Enternships blog – find the original post here. Follow Rajeeb on Twitter.
Graduate unemployment may be frightening, but the truth is there’s plenty of room for jobs if you know how to ask. This is how I built up half a dozen job offers for this summer, by experimenting, failing and investing in relationships with employers.
Like a recipe, most of these elements won’t standup on their own – its up to you to put them all together. Worse, its not a list of simple instructions. What you make of this is really up to you.
Here’s Seven Tactics to Become Insanely Employable…
If you were hiring, wouldn’t you want someone who was clued up on you, your company and your industry? Build an informed opinion – read around what you’re interested getting into; reading is a fun and fascinating habit, even if you’ve never really picked up a book before,
A few great places to start if you need some help…
TED is an organization. Their mission is to put remarkable people in front of an audience, and give them 20-minutes to share their idea. The videos are then shared freely across the world. I can guarantee you’ll find something and someone of interest on there.
You’re not on Twitter? It’s not just for insights into Paris Hilton’s life and “tweeting” your feelings and grid co-ordinates every few minutes. No, the real upfront value of Twitter is following people, companies and blogs posting really interesting stuff. Its the ultimate, personalized newsfeed. And as you find people you like, Twitter’s perfect for engaging with them too.
Amazon’s recommendation engine, the banks of reviews and huge range of books and DVDs, digital and hardcopy – there’s bound to be some book, or even just an author to follow and read up on.
Become an industry expert. And prove it. Besides, the act of writing forces you to think and express your ideas with clarity. Writing is more than stringing words together; a good writer shows clear communication, the ability to make things simple to understand.
Bigger corporations and brands have the attention (and therefore, the competition) for job-seekers. They may well be great jobs, but what’s more attractive is small businesses and startups where jobs may not be so well advertised, but more importantly, there are more “roles” to fill. Do they have an online marketing expert? A legal expert? Someone who can really nail the accounting and finance?
Small business owners can’t be everything – the best one’s recognize this and build teams around them to fill in the gaps. They needn’t have to post an official “job offer” for you to stand a chance getting in there. See how Fiona created her own job via Enternships.
Employers are human. They like gifts. A gift needn’t be a box of chocolates or some extravagant hamper (that *could* be seen as manipulative).
If they’re blogging, retweet and comment on their posts. Introduce more people to them, their goods and services. Send birthday cards. Heck, think about shipping a book to their door that you’ve found really useful, and perhaps mention how you could implement some of the ideas in their organization. Don’t invade, but think on the edge of the box. Understand what makes a gift too.
This naturally leads onto a special type of gift. The gift of time…
Get on a train. Go meet employers in their offices, shops and at events. Go help them. Apply a little of what you’ve read around about the industry, ideally something new. My ‘party trick’ is talking through the power of search engine optimization and other highly-effective online marketing tactics. What’s yours?
Often, small business owners aren’t be experts at everything, and will appreciate your insight, hence why they hire outsiders. There’s no better way to prove yourself and your commitment than by being face-to-face. How many of your jobless friends would think of that?
Internships are the *perfect* way to get your foot in the door. It opens up the opportunities being inside a company, but without the commitment of a job just yet by the employer. Your chance to show off your true qualities in a workplace.
Since you’re not demanding the commitment of a fulltime job, its easier to go and ask for internships at even better companies that you might never be able to get a fulltime job upfront, so you can be even more ambitious.
Finally, you’ve got to ask. You don’t ask, you don’t get. No one’s going to go and “anoint” you with a job. Ask nicely, but make your request clear, short and actionable. Ask a specific yes/no question. Something along the lines of:
My name’s John Smith, and I’d love the opportunity to intern with Gapplesoft this summer – I’ve been following your company and your blog for the past two years, and I love how you produced such simple, useful software.
I’m a computer science undergraduate currently studying at Manchester University, I’ve built my own web-application here (awesome-link.com) and I’m planning for a career in the software industry. I think Gapplesoft would be a great place to start!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Remember, you must never, ever send email. You gotta send “me-mail”. Me, me, me… my favourite person me. Think of the guy you’re trying to scrounge a job off – what do they care about? Write everything from that perspective.
Or you can take the simpler option, and fill out your profile here on Enternships. It’s quick, easy and free.
Oh, I lied. There’s one more thing…
The laws of economics side with whatever’s scarce. There’s only one of you, so play the field! Rinse and repeat these techniques with different companies, and build up an array of different job offers.
Of course, if you stick around the same industry, or related industries, what you’re reading, writing and doing will all rub-off on each other. For instance, I love the online marketing industry, but also the tech and startup space. The two go hand-in-hand, and so I get to leverage what I’m doing in both fields.
And when you’ve got lots of companies who know who you are, love what you do and are itching to give you a job, you only stand to win!
Enjoyed this post? What are your top tips for getting jobs? Share your ideas on Twitter with the hashtag #InsanelyEmployable