This is part three of my short book on how to get a job in communications. Part one here.
Finding the job
Find people, not jobs
Jobs come and go. One day there will be a great job posted on a career website and the next day it might be gone. Or hundreds of people as qualified as you, or more so, will have already applied and you don’t have a chance.
Waiting for the right job to come around is a tiring exercise. Eventually, you’ll take any job you can get that’s close enough to what you want. And, immediately, you’ll start wishing you could find a better job.
And the cycle repeats.
What you really need to be looking for are interesting people that may one day be hiring, or will know someone who is hiring. And you need to be the first person they think of.
It’s not quite as hard as it sounds. And that’s because it sounds challenging. That means not very many people are doing it, so you’ve already got the upper hand.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, a blog, and good old networking events are your tools here.
Get out there, and get noticed. It might play out something like this:
You want a job in, say, marketing.
You have an interesting saying that you apply to yourself and your work.
You start a blog.
You write about marketing viewed through that context. You write about campaigns you’ve seen, or ideas you’ve had, and apply them to your overall plot (that line you keep repeating) and similar ideas.
You go on Twitter and start following people you find interesting. You read what they have to say and comment on it.
You write a few posts about their posts and engage them in a discussion.
You make friends.
You go to a local networking event for marketers. One doesn’t exist? Oh no! That means you have to start it yourself and become the de facto leader of your community’s first marketing meet-up. How awful for you.
You become known as that gal or guy who’s ambitious, bright, and has an interesting perspective on marketing.
People start seeing campaigns and are able to imagine what you might think about them.
You’re suddenly an authority on a marketing niche that you created and now own.
Someone needs to hire for a marketing position.
You’re known in a circle of marketers.
You’re recommended for the job.
You get the job.
So, there it is. You didn’t find a job, you found people. The job found you. Sound daunting? Well, it’s not always very easy. But again, approach this like you would approach a client’s work. When would you recommend that your client just target one opportunity, make the same ad everyone else is, and hope for the best? Would you tell them that that’s a good strategy? Or would you recommend that they build an interested following, become helpful members of their community, and engage people so that interested audiences seek them out?
Dan Harmon, creator of Community, in his incredible keynote at XOXO made a fascinating point about “following your bliss.” He said that when he was a child at the mall with his mother, his mom would say that if they got split up, he should stay put. She would look for him. If they both ran around searching, they might never find each other. [26:02]
Think about that. If you’re going after every job posting, if you’re trying to catch every trend and get a job in the field, you’re searching for people who might be out there searching for you, and you might never meet up. Stay put. Be more of yourself, do more of what you like, and let people see your passion. The jobs will come to you, if you let the people hiring find you.
Now, those steps aren’t necessarily the right ones for you, but I hope you understand the point. It’s not about those precise tactics, it’s about the strategy: get people to know who you are and make sure you’re the person they recommend. You might approach that a million different, better ways than the ones I’ve suggested. That’s fine. That’s great. Just be known, be likable, and let the jobs come to you.
Over the years, I’ve continued to talk to as many people as possible, help as many people as I can to find good jobs and good employees, and I make my opinions and perspectives known. Enough people have found my approach interesting, and enough people will find yours interesting, too.