This is part four of a five part series. Just get here? Start from the beginning.
Mailing ‘Em Out
This was probably the easiest piece of the campaign workflow—walk the letters down to the post box, and drop them in it. Really, that was all there was to it.
Though, I did receive six ‘Return to Sender’ letters back within a week of mailing them out. Upon investigating, I noticed discrepancies between the companies’ address listed on Linkedin, and the address listed on their website. Presumably, these prospects had recently moved into new offices. The address on the company website was updated, but the address on their Linkedin page was not.
Learning: double-check addresses from Linkedin with the company website and other sources. When in doubt, call them up and ask for the mailing address.
I hate making outbound telephone calls of the ‘salesy’ variety. It makes me uncomfortable to disrupt other people’s schedule to try and build a case for something that I want. Yes, I realize that this is a very Canadian attitude for me to have.
The first few calls were bumpy. I left five or six messages; and when I finally had a prospect on the phone, I stammered and talked a bit too much. This made me realize that I should sketch out talking points and an objective for each call before making it (in hindsight… DUH).
So, I did. And the other 47 calls went much more smoothly. Most of the time, the response was a very polite variation on ‘we’re not really looking to add to our marketing team right now, but thanks for reaching out.’ I did get two referrals to other contacts where there might be opportunities, which was great; but, they didn’t lead anywhere.
Learning: always follow up. Though making the phone calls didn’t turn up anything really that concrete, stretching my comfort zone a bit was worthwhile. I also had some great gabs about shared professional passions with a couple of the prospects (generally a bit closer to lunchtime than first thing in the morning).
These weren’t really interviews. For the most part, I never spoke to a recruiter or HR person until well after I’d spoken with the hiring manager (normally, the opposite is true). I went in to each session with the prospective hiring manager as if it were a business meeting between peers. This impacted how I prepared, how I thought about the meeting, and my level of confidence. Overall, it was a good perspective to have—every time I sat down with someone in person, I made a great connection that will persist beyond this campaign. And that has incredible value.
Be prepared to do some work to demonstrate that you can address the pain points talked about in your meeting. I’m not advocating that you offer up hundreds of hours of consulting for free, but you do need to put your money where your mouth is (so to speak).
Because the labour market is competitive, particularly for knowledge-based creative jobs (especially in marketing and professional services). The globalized economy is also competitive. Disruption in both the makeup of the labour force and the market economy is creating some downward pressure on the pace of hiring for traditional positions (full time/permanent). Lots of people bemoan this, but it is what it is.
Well, pulling the trigger on a new hire is a lot harder than it once was. Especially when the role is central to the success of an organizational group, or the entire organization. And when it pays well (which it does, when it’s a critical role). Hiring managers can rarely greenlight a candidate unilaterally—they often need the buy-in of several internal stakeholders. Ultimately, this is a good thing when you’re successful in getting an offer—it means that you have support from a number of different people internally right from day one.
Learning: pay close attention to the pain points during your meeting. Then, prepare a project that demonstrates you can address those pain points. Give your knowledge, passion, and expertise freely and without expectation of anything in return. After all, you’re here when 400 other jobseekers aren’t. Be grateful of that fact.
Next Up: Retrospective [Part V]
Previous: Preparation + Production [Part III]