Madeline, Olivia, Annie and I had a rad time on Friday talking all manner of career and networking and jobby job-job stuff. If I were you, I'd skip past the first 15 minutes of the video which is kind of a hilarious shit-show of audio difficulties. But once we got going, we really got going! So even if you missed our first Google Hangout, you can check out below.
We're doing another one this Friday (or next -- we're not sure yet) on relationships.
Now that you've watched that, I'd like to give you specific language you can use if you're trying to get in the door for different job opportunities. Even if the jobs don't actually exist.
Two magic words: "informational interview."
Keep in mind, both Madeline and I didn't apply for traditional "jobs" at xoJane. We pitched ourselves and the jobs were created. Mine took a year, but if I hadn't planted the seeds early on, it never would have happened.
Here is actual language I've used that has gotten me or friends in the door over the years. Feel free to gank and customize as you will!
Also, try not to vomit as I talk myself up. But hey man, if you won't, who will? That's what jobs are about. Save your humility for every other aspect of your life. (Or if you're me, you might still be working on that one. Heh.)
Just remember: In jobs, it's all about cutting through the clutter.
1. Get to the point.Demonstrate value.
Here's the email I sent to the head of SAY Media that got me into the xoJane launch party where I first met Jane. Granted in this case, the allure of me providing press at the Post factored into play, but if you have a blog, a Twitter following or even willingness to help out, all these things make you and your positive attitude incredibly attractive to short-staffed operations.
Subject: hi there -- Mandy Stadtmiller from the NY Post
NAME, I was browsing your site today (and just tweeted out to my followers on Twitter). Would love to talk when you have a minute. You can text me at NUMBER or email me back to set up a time to chat. Congrats on WEBSITE! -- Mandy
2. Call it out. Be a real person.
Don't write like a zombie press release. Here's an email I sent to someone in the comedy industry early on. Didn't lead to a job, but led to tons of great connections and opportunities -- for both of us. Also: Note, the language here is self-deprecating. Appropriate for the industry. Obviously I wouldn't write this casually or flippantly if I were hustling for a corporate position. Also, you can see by the name-droppy list of credits I drop in here, I am trying to scream in this email: "I'm not crazy. I'm not a flop. I'm deferential. I know my place. I know you are doing me a favor. I'm worth meeting with. I can offer you value. See. I am legit. I'm worth your time even though you have no time."
Hi NAME, My friend REFERENCE suggested I get in touch with you regarding my interest in finding out about opportunities. I'm currently a full-time features writer at the NY Post where as you know, comedy abounds daily. Warmed up virgins anyone? Yeah. Didn't write that. While I very much appreciate my job at the Post, one of my big loves is comedy. Part of the reason they hired me was my ability to do humor writing (usually it's in the context of celebrities, of course), but it's been leading to a lot of fun stuff. Last week I made my debut on "Good Day New York," which was pretty hilarious. It's linked here. I realize how competitive spots are, but I'd love to have an informational interview with you sometime, or failing that awesomely uptight expression, a drink. Let me know if you might have some time in the coming weeks. My work number is WORK and my cell is CELL. Best, and thanks, Mandy
3. It's OK if the original email was about something else.
Seem organic and authentic. This email I was copied on about passing along my resume for a staffing position at a new TV company had the subject line of "pants."
Subject: Re: Pants
And obviously ... Goes without saying but I know from REFERENCE that working for you is nothing short of amazing so any kind of opportunity at your new company I would be thrilled to be considered for. I know when we spoke before you were still in early stages of company development. Have been talking to REFERENCE recently about potentially going to STAR'S new show and am very open to opportunities where I can help build brands. I rock at making things blow up -- in the best possible way :)
Really glad this subject line is "pants."
4. Follow up.
Have a great attitude. Be deferential. Celebrate successes and acknowledge hard work. Show that you get it. Getting into a party where you can meet valuable people is awesome. But it's how you follow up and whether you do it quickly and concisely and incisively that will set you apart. Also: Don't forgot to be genuinely complimentary to the person. They are probably stressed as fuck. People never get tired of being told kind supportive words. (Unless you are a totally inauthentic seeming kiss-ass. Don't go to the extreme where you just seem fake.)
Subject: Great meeting you tonight, NAME.
I know how intense everyone's workload must be before the launch so I truly appreciate your willingness to chat. What would be most convenient for your schedule? At Post I am WORK, cell is CELL.
Party tonight was a terrific success. STAR is going to do very well.
5. Put your name and reputation on the line to introduce and help friends as often as you can.
It comes back, big-time. And you don't need a job to do it. You can introduce valuable connections while you are searching yourself, which in itself creates value.
subject: Mandy formerly of The New York Post introducing a friend of hers :)
Hi NAME -- it's your tall blonde friend from EVENT! I'm no longer at The New York Post and am now a deputy editor at the very popular feminist pop culture Web site xoJane. It's a dream job for me, and I'm psyched.
I was quickly reaching out because a brilliant dynamo young girlfriend of mine NAME mentioned to me the other day what a fan she is of BUSINESS -- and I mentioned you. She will be running the world eventually so I try to win brownie points with her while I still can and wanted to make an introduction.
Would your schedule allow for a short informational interview with her? I greatly appreciate if it might be possible -- and thank you! Hope you are excellent!
6. Again, help as many friends as you can.
People remember these kindnesses and gestures. Outside of it just being the right thing to do and the Golden Rule and all that, as Steve Dunleavy of The New York Post once very famously said, "Never lose a phone number, kid. Today's junior cocksucker is tomorrow's senior motherfucker." He really had a way with words.
Hey NAME --
Just want to throw in a quick recommendation for NAME who just applied for this terrific opportunity at BUSINESS.
Not only is NAME an amazingly connected go-getter who knows everyone, she's also one of the smartest, loveliest women I've had the good fortune to work with in NYC.
Thanks for the consideration! Hope you're well!
7. See a pattern? Introduce your friends.
They will do the same for you.
I wanted to put you in touch with my friend NAME (CC'd here), who came across the job listing with BUSINESS. NAME has LIST OF CREDITS. She's extremely talented, an excellent photographer, reliable, organized, and most importantly, has fantastic instincts for what works.
If NAME sends you her resume, could you give her an idea of who to contact directly? Better yet, if you could recommend her for an interview, I would greatly appreciate it! xo Mandy