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Tips and Advice on Job searches

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Any books I should be reading? What should I be doing besides applying to opening positions online on my campus website and going to information sessions?

I read cracking the hidden job market recently on advice of someone here and one thing it advocates is shooting cold emails or phonecalls to strangers asking for 20 minutes of lunch or coffee for tips and advice. Is this weird advice? Would a stranger be willing to meet with me?

I want to break into management consulting but I have a few dings on my resume (low GPA, no directly relevant work experience). Bleah I'm so lost as to what to do and the career center hasn't been helpful so far.
post #2 of 7
Network, network, network. Career centers are useless.

I'm sure your school has an alumni database -- reach out to alums who are in the industry and ask them if you could meet with them after work for some drinks and just ask them anything and everything about their background. Your treat, of course. Lunch is too much for a first-time meeting.

The goal really isn't to 'learn' about the job or industry, as in my own humble opinion, you can do this with the power of the netwebs. Ideally, you should already know the basic ins and outs of the industry. I'd ask them more personal questions about THEIR background. Make it personal -- but not in the sense like "why did you choose consulting?" because everyone's going to give you the same canned response. Even questions like, "what has been your most interesting project?" are pretty lame. One question I've always asked in all my interviews that has always received a positive response (to the question itself, not the actual answer) is, "what is something you know now that you wish you knew when you were in my position?"

The goal is to make them like you and want to help you. Everyone knows what these informal meetings are for. They know you want them to forward your resume and vouch for you. If they're kind enough to even meet you for the off-chance that they might like you enough to help you, then research the shit out of their background and be prepared.

In today's day and age of social media, you should be able to track down their twitter, linkedin, facebook, etc. and find out if they have any hobbies or personal interests. Ever-so-subtly, try to bring the conversation towards their interests at the end of the meeting. I know it sounds creepy, but if you can pull this off, BAM. They'll like you, especially if you are interested in the same "thing" and can converse intelligently with them about it. Don't fake it, however, if they have some sort of esoteric interest.

As for the introductory email, I've gotten numerous emails from undergrads at my alma mater and they're always either 1) way too aggressive and want me to forward their resume without my having even met them in the first place, or 2) pretend to show an understanding of the company/industry when they're completely off-base and come off as an idiot as a result, or 3) both of the above. I don't even respond to these emails.

It really pays to keep the introductory email short and simple, as the longer you make it, the more likely you are to fuck up:

1) Introduce yourself
2) Tell them how you found their contact information
3) Express your interest in learning about the industry
4) Ask them if you can treat them to a beer/coffee to discuss their background
5) Provide platitudes when trying to schedule a meeting (esp. when it's a more senior person) like, "I know you're busy..." and you accommodate THEIR schedule. Egos run large with the more senior folk and since consulting is a client satisfaction-driven business, it shows that you understand that basic tenet by being accommodating to their time. If/when they give you a time when they're free, you make sure your schedule fits that time.

Good luck.

/douche
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post

Network, network, network. Career centers are useless.

I'm sure your school has an alumni database -- reach out to alums who are in the industry and ask them if you could meet with them after work for some drinks and just ask them anything and everything about their background. Your treat, of course. Lunch is too much for a first-time meeting.

The goal really isn't to 'learn' about the job or industry, as in my own humble opinion, you can do this with the power of the netwebs. Ideally, you should already know the basic ins and outs of the industry. I'd ask them more personal questions about THEIR background. Make it personal -- but not in the sense like "why did you choose consulting?" because everyone's going to give you the same canned response. Even questions like, "what has been your most interesting project?" are pretty lame. One question I've always asked in all my interviews that has always received a positive response (to the question itself, not the actual answer) is, "what is something you know now that you wish you knew when you were in my position?"

The goal is to make them like you and want to help you. Everyone knows what these informal meetings are for. They know you want them to forward your resume and vouch for you. If they're kind enough to even meet you for the off-chance that they might like you enough to help you, then research the shit out of their background and be prepared.

In today's day and age of social media, you should be able to track down their twitter, linkedin, facebook, etc. and find out if they have any hobbies or personal interests. Ever-so-subtly, try to bring the conversation towards their interests at the end of the meeting. I know it sounds creepy, but if you can pull this off, BAM. They'll like you, especially if you are interested in the same "thing" and can converse intelligently with them about it. Don't fake it, however, if they have some sort of esoteric interest.

As for the introductory email, I've gotten numerous emails from undergrads at my alma mater and they're always either 1) way too aggressive and want me to forward their resume without my having even met them in the first place, or 2) pretend to show an understanding of the company/industry when they're completely off-base and come off as an idiot as a result, or 3) both of the above. I don't even respond to these emails.

It really pays to keep the introductory email short and simple, as the longer you make it, the more likely you are to fuck up:

1) Introduce yourself
2) Tell them how you found their contact information
3) Express your interest in learning about the industry
4) Ask them if you can treat them to a beer/coffee to discuss their background
5) Provide platitudes when trying to schedule a meeting (esp. when it's a more senior person) like, "I know you're busy..." and you accommodate THEIR schedule. Egos run large with the more senior folk and since consulting is a client satisfaction-driven business, it shows that you understand that basic tenet by being accommodating to their time. If/when they give you a time when they're free, you make sure your schedule fits that time.

Good luck.

/douche

Thanks gf
post #4 of 7

Didn't really want to make a new thread for this:

Long story short: I'm an engineering/computer science major and I really (really) want to work in startups post graduation. I know the risks entirely, but I accept that while I'm young. Anyways, through some emails I've sent and connections I pursued, I'm meeting with the founder of a startup next Friday for lunch. Not really sure what it will entail, but any advice? The guy I originally emailed (an angel investor) cc'd this guy and mentioned he was looking for part time work (that's what I want during the school year) and that he would be a great mentor (what i value more than the job itself). So it looks promising, and despite being a good conversationalist, I really don't want to f this up.

post #5 of 7
Sounds like a great opportunity. I don't have specific advice to share right now though.
post #6 of 7
What Color is Your Parachute was great IMO. Mainly b/c it stresses the importance of networking as well as instilling a bit of realism as to one's chances of getting hired. Too many people I think get depressed and stop looking after a few interviews.

Also, get your ass on Linkedin.com if you aren't already. I get job offers from headhunters on a daily basis.

LinkedIn kinda woke my ass up and made me realize I'm wasting time and life working litigation after seeing patent prosecution offers. Brushing up on prosecution now, far more marketable. Was offered a prosecution job here when the last paralegal left, but I turned it down. His replacement ended up leaving for a big firm making damn near six figures. Stupid, stupid javyn!
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post

Network, network, network. Career centers are useless.

I'm sure your school has an alumni database -- reach out to alums who are in the industry and ask them if you could meet with them after work for some drinks and just ask them anything and everything about their background. Your treat, of course. Lunch is too much for a first-time meeting.

The goal really isn't to 'learn' about the job or industry, as in my own humble opinion, you can do this with the power of the netwebs. Ideally, you should already know the basic ins and outs of the industry. I'd ask them more personal questions about THEIR background. Make it personal -- but not in the sense like "why did you choose consulting?" because everyone's going to give you the same canned response. Even questions like, "what has been your most interesting project?" are pretty lame. One question I've always asked in all my interviews that has always received a positive response (to the question itself, not the actual answer) is, "what is something you know now that you wish you knew when you were in my position?"

The goal is to make them like you and want to help you. Everyone knows what these informal meetings are for. They know you want them to forward your resume and vouch for you. If they're kind enough to even meet you for the off-chance that they might like you enough to help you, then research the shit out of their background and be prepared.

In today's day and age of social media, you should be able to track down their twitter, linkedin, facebook, etc. and find out if they have any hobbies or personal interests. Ever-so-subtly, try to bring the conversation towards their interests at the end of the meeting. I know it sounds creepy, but if you can pull this off, BAM. They'll like you, especially if you are interested in the same "thing" and can converse intelligently with them about it. Don't fake it, however, if they have some sort of esoteric interest.

As for the introductory email, I've gotten numerous emails from undergrads at my alma mater and they're always either 1) way too aggressive and want me to forward their resume without my having even met them in the first place, or 2) pretend to show an understanding of the company/industry when they're completely off-base and come off as an idiot as a result, or 3) both of the above. I don't even respond to these emails.

It really pays to keep the introductory email short and simple, as the longer you make it, the more likely you are to fuck up:

1) Introduce yourself
2) Tell them how you found their contact information
3) Express your interest in learning about the industry
4) Ask them if you can treat them to a beer/coffee to discuss their background
5) Provide platitudes when trying to schedule a meeting (esp. when it's a more senior person) like, "I know you're busy..." and you accommodate THEIR schedule. Egos run large with the more senior folk and since consulting is a client satisfaction-driven business, it shows that you understand that basic tenet by being accommodating to their time. If/when they give you a time when they're free, you make sure your schedule fits that time.

Good luck.

/douche

 

This is some great advice, thanks!!

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