Randomly, Tips for Getting Hired

When I was in my last semester of college, my brother-in-law set me up with an interview to intern at a Boston marketing firm. It was 2009, one of the worst years to graduate from college in recent history, and I had zero job offers from 50+ applications. I had a great GPA, a decent resume, and an oversized ego I had no business flaunting.

The office was hip, the work was probably cool, but I was stupid in that I thought I was smarter than the person that interviewed me. Even if I was better at math or politics or problem-solving, she had a job and real experience; I didn't even have a diploma yet. I may have known my way around the classroom, but I certainly didn't know my way around the job market. Case in point: I failed to send a follow up "thank you" email, the primary reason I was not hired, as I learned later from my brother-in-law.

I was embarrassed and pissed off, and I (hopefully) never made that mistake again. A resume is a piece of paper a hiring manager looks at for 10 seconds. Having a great internship or a diploma from a prestigious school may get you in the door, but a passionate cover letter, "thank you" email, or interview means a lot more. From the other side of the hiring table, I've seen the majority of people expect their resume to do all the selling. It doesn't work that way. The harsh truth is that college degrees are commonplace. There are still more job applicants than jobs. And you are not a unique butterfly; leave your entitlement at the door. Companies do not exist so that you can pursue your dream job (unless you build your own company). You need to convince them that you should be hired as an employee to bring value to them. Of course, you should get something out of the deal too... a salary, benefits, on-the-job-training, and/or career acceleration -- whatever you're looking for. 

Finding a job isn't easy, but if I could boil it down to a few suggestions, here they are:

1.) Do your homework. Demonstrate that you researched both the company and even the people who are interviewing you.

2.) Make your application specific. If it never mentions the specific company or is too fill in the blank, it's clear you didn't invest any time or effort and therefore don't really want this job.

3.) Show you're self aware. Not everyone is an extrovert (I'm certainly not). That's ok. Own it, compensate as best you can, and move on to your strengths.

4.) Send a "thank you." Believe it or not, this sets you apart from almost everyone else who has interviewed.