I know the job search seems overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you approach it systematically and deliberately, it can be fun and manageable. This post outlines an approach to finding a job. I hope you find it helpful.

Start with the people you know and ask them for connections.

If they send you someone via LinkedIn

  1. Send an introduction via LinkedIn
  2. Dear _____, (Insert Name of Connection) sent me your information and suggested I reach out to you. I am a recent graduate of Butler University’s College of Communications and am looking for an entry level position in marketing, communications or promotions. I have specific experience with social media, events planning and promotions. I hope to connect with you via LinkedIn as I build my network and ask for any guidance you might offer on possible job leads. Thank you very much for our help. Sincerely, Recent Grad
  3. If you don’t hear back from them in a week to ten days, send them another note as a reminder. Dear _______, I am following up on a note I sent to you last week introducing myself. (Insert Name of Connection) sent me your information and suggested I reach out to you. I am a recent graduate of XYZ College of Communications and am looking for an entry level position in marketing, communications or promotions. I have specific experience with social media, events planning and promotions. I hope to connect with you via LinkedIn as I build my network and ask for any guidance you might offer on possible job leads. Thank you very much for your help. Sincerely, Recent Grad
  4. It is OK to send the follow up. Many people aren’t on LinkedIn daily and may need a reminder. You just need to be pleasantly persistent. If they don’t follow up right away, it’s not personal – they are just focused on other priorities. Your job is to gently interrupt and try to get yourself on their radar.
  5. Don’t plan to do everything via LinkedIn. To make it work for you, you will need to transition from the electronic world to the physical world. One of the best approaches is “informational interviews”. If you get connected to someone that is a player in an interesting company but has no open positions, request an informational interview to 1) make the connection, 2) practice your interview skills and 3) showcase your capabilities in a discussion just in case the meeting prompts them to connect you somewhere else. This is a very effective approach to building a solid network and most people will be receptive. I accept these requests frequently and always look for ways to help anyone who reaches out to me. It is not a waste of my time – I like to keep an eye out for great people and I enjoy helping when I can.

If they send you an email or phone number:

  1. With an email address, you can use the same approach as what I outlined above.
  2. If they send you a phone number, this is a great opportunity but possibly the most intimidating. Here is one approach:

Write a script of what you want to say. Hi ______, my name is Recent Grad and I was given your name by _________. I just graduated from XYZ and am looking for opportunities to practice interviewing and to learn more about companies in the area. Would you be willing to spend 15-20 minutes to meet with me for an informational interview? Most people will say yes and then it is a matter of scheduling. If they say no, just smile, thank them and move on. No harm, no foul.

  • If you get an opportunity to do one of these, you must follow through. This is a great chance to work on your approach, learn more about what’s happening out there and it will give you more personal content for your next conversation. Talking to people in this way makes you more connected and more interesting. Referencing other conversations is a powerful way to make you relevant and substantial.

Turn Action Into Momentum

  • Don’t approach any of these general leads as people who might hire you. Approach them as friends who might offer you advice. Walk in bright, optimistic and open. Your job is to learn and to leave an impression. The impression you leave will determine if they make a connection for you or follow up later because something else comes up.
  • Go in prepared. Research the company and person before you talk with them. Always try to find some common ground before you engage with anyone. This shows maturity and seriousness. Remember that everyone loves to talk about their job, themselves and their interests. They may be open to helping you, but you need to make sure they feel good about it. Be sincerely interested and it will yield results.
  • Make it easy for them to help you. The best way to make it easy is to be prepared to tell them specifically how they can help. Some ideas:
  1. I’m looking for jobs that involve social media, promotions, event management or general communications.
  2. I’d love to work with a company like IBM, Apple or Nike.
  3. I’m looking for connections in marketing consulting, advertising or public relations.
  • If you are able to see someone’s network on LinkedIn, go through their contacts and specifically ask for connections to certain people.
  1. Hey Fred, would you please introduce me to Susan Jones from XYZ Company? That is a perfectly legitimate request for anyone in your LinkedIn network. Use it.
  • You have to always be upbeat, always be on your game, always be smiling and always be warm and engaging. You will need to make sure that you are in the right frame of mind for every single interaction or you will get nothing out of it. No one wants to help a curmudgeon so make sure you are well rested, refreshed, & enthusiastic – it shows, even when writing an email.
  • Finding a job is a full time job. You need to be spending 8+ hours a day working on it and thinking about it. Sending resumes, calling people, meeting, sending thank you notes. Repeat. It is a lot of work and the more of it you do, the faster you will find what you want. Your goal is not to find one thing, it is to fill your funnel with opportunities. If you can get 10 possible job leads in your funnel, one or two of them might become real opportunities. If you get an interview, great! Keep working on scheduling the next one. The more you have working, the more desirable you’ll be for prospective employers. Keep pushing until you get offered the job that you are ready to take. You cannot have too many opportunities.
  • If someone does something for you, thank them with a handwritten note. If you get an interview, thank them with a handwritten note. Be different.
  • Talk to others who are searching. Compare notes. Make suggestions. Provide support. Great friendships are forged in the heat of challenging situations.
  • Volunteer. Giving always helps – the receiver and the giver. Keep your energy up by giving of yourself in between periods of heavy activity. You will continue to make connections, you will feel better by being engaged and you can make a difference.
  • Build job search momentum by setting a schedule. Get up at the same time every day. You should be working on it by 8am – this is when the people you want to meet are working. Get up, get organized and start working your plan. Here is a possible approach for each day:
  1. Scan the jobsites for any new positions. Submit resumes and cover letters (be sure to tailor the letter to each position).
  2. Check email for any follow up activity.
  3. Begin working through your LinkedIn connections. Identify prospective employment leads. Send intro notes.
  4. Expand your LinkedIn network by asking people to connect. Don’t worry if you’re not sure if they are a good connection, connect anyway. That connection might lead you to a very good connection.
  5. Send follow up notes to places where you’ve submitted your resume. Find the name of the hiring manager. YOU MUST FOLLOW UP. Don’t wait for them to call you. Act like you want the position by finding reasons to check in. The worst case is that they won’t hire you – guess what, they weren’t going to hire you anyway. You have nothing to lose by following up on job submissions. It will make you memorable. DO IT.
  6. Get out of the house. After you’ve done an hour or two of online activity, get in your car and hit the road. Go to your Alma Mater and visit the placement office. Every day. Be present and they will work for you. Drop in and see previous professors – not every day but occasionally. Make yourself present – stay on their minds. Getting out will be good for you and it will give you a sense of momentum and direction – it will energize you. After visiting campus, make a list of 5 potential employers and go to their locations. Ask them for an application and complete it on the spot. Once again, the point is activity not necessarily that you’ll get hired on the spot.
  7. Now you’re ready for your afternoon follow ups. Back to LinkedIn, back to the job sites, back to the phone, back to email.
  8. Repeat the next day.
  9. When you visit places, be dressed sharply. You don’t need a suit but you should look good. Clean shaven, hair washed and combed etc. You never know, someone may want to talk with you.

My challenge to you is to be deliberate and consistent. It is not going to be easy but it will be worth it. You will feel so much better if you really engage on this. Building momentum is the secret and you only build momentum with activity – a lot of activity. Be open to every conversation and don’t discount something just because you don’t think it is relevant – the road is winding and sometimes the most unlikely connections/conversations lead to the best opportunities. Be open to every possibility.

That is enough for one post. This will work if you do it. I promise. What do you have to lose?