This is part two of a five part series. Just get here? Start from the beginning.
Scope + Planning
This whole campaign started with a lot of reflection about what I wanted to do next with my career. If I was going to go the extra mile to find and introduce myself directly to hiring managers, I wanted it to be for high-quality opportunities and exceptional people who were doing awesome things at great companies. I wanted to avoid getting myself into a fuck-and-chuck situation at a dysfunctional company, and I wanted my talents to contribute to something meaningful that was more than just a paycheque.
I wanted the role to be compatible with my life and for there to be an opportunity for professional growth. I also wanted enough time left over after the workday for me to be able to take care of my well-being (both physical and emotional). This eliminated large, generalist management consultancies (I contacted one really interesting boutique firm) and professional service firms. It also made me very choosy about marketing and ad agencies. Does this mean that I want to be a clock watcher and leave the office at 5:01pm every day? Of course not. I’ve spent more than my share of time answering emails on evenings and weekends, and working until 2am on a deadline (while still in the office).
There has to be balance for the creation of high-quality work to be sustainable, and the cultural norms in the professional service and agency business somewhat vilify this notion.
Winter is coming. And that means the hiring no-fly zone known as mid-December through mid-January. So, this thing has to be executed with follow ups conducted by the first full week of December.
Project Start: November 11th
Project Completion: December 2nd
Data Collection Ends: December 11th
Campaign Journeyline: Direct Mail (Letter) » Landing Page » Call / Coffee » Formal Interview » Offer
Creative Assets: Letters of introduction, digital resume, personality assessment, calling cards (3.5″ x 2″, 4/4), no. 10 envelopes (no window), landing pages (with shortlinks)
In Toronto, there are literally thousands of companies in operation (I had about 4,000 search results in my first pass). It quickly became clear that I needed some selection criteria and a project scope to keep this campaign on point.
- Within 15km of Union Station, Toronto (environmental sustainability is important to me and public transit is a big part of that);
- Private sector, or a market-oriented Crown Corp (public sector/NGO environments that don’t track to the market economy just aren’t for me);
- Not primarily involved in the production or marketing of pharmaceuticals, tobacco, or oil/fossil fuels (I have some ethical problems with the fundamental nature of these industries);
- Commercial alignment with people, environments, renewables, sustainability, technology, or education (the big clusters for my professional passions);
- Existence of business, market, or process challenges where I can make a significant difference to the org (admittedly, really difficult to ascertain without critical thinking and a lot of research).
- Average Glassdoor rating greater than 3 out of 5, based on at least 10 reviews. Bonus points if the company actually replied to the reviews (companies that understand the correlation between people and profit generally have healthier, happier working environments and dynamic organizational cultures).
The operating concept behind this campaign is simple.
- Find a company you want to work for, and the person responsible for the team you’d work on or lead (Linkedin #FTW).
- Write and mail them a personalized letter and include a calling card (not the pre-paid long distance thing, the business-card sized thing with your name and contact information on it). Print the letter on paper, and mail it with stamps. Like, through the post office. No seriously, that’s still a thing.
- In the letter, pique their interest and discuss a business challenge you think they have, that you can solve. Then invite them to visit a personalized landing page on your website, where they can learn more about you and download your resume. Track engagement behaviour.
- A week later, call to follow up on your letter (a new experience for me, I’ve never cold-called to ask about job opportunities).
- Get together to talk turkey. Do a project for them to showcase your chops, don’t just be a talking head.
- Sign the paperwork and start making a difference.
Sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of moving parts in practice. It would be a couple of hours work (plus maybe a day for the project) if I was doing this just once, but I’m operating at scale based on the funnel above. I needed to replicate this journeyline two hundred times. Automating, templates, and modular thinking are my friend… but not so much so that the message loses relevance or the personal touch.
Next Up: Preparation + Production [Part III]
Previous: The Backstory [Part I]