We all know what a resume is, but a schmezume? Is that an onomatopoeia for a sneeze? Well, um… bless you? But seriously, I guess you could say “schmezume” is everything in between the sending of your resume and waiting for a phone call or an email, including the point when you realize the phone is never going to ring and your computer is never going to ping. But why? Why isn’t the traditional, acceptable way of finding a job working for so many people?
I didn’t understand it either until I start reading Dan Miller’s thoughts on this (yes, from the 48 Days to the Work You Love book I’m obsessed with.) He definitely knows his stuff, supplying statistics and citations that basically say we’ve got it all wrong. We’re NEVER going to find jobs on Monster.com or the classifieds. As I read this I thought, “Well what the hell are you supposed to do?” Of course Dan, being the amazing and inspirational author that is is, provides a step-by-step approach to not only marketing yourself and finding a job, but a job you LOVE and belong in.
Prior to this segment, he talks about making a list of 10-12 career paths you can see yourself taking. This is ESSENTIAL to narrowing down the opportunities you want to look for. You may be asking yourself, “Why do I want to put myself through this? I’m just going to go online and find any available job that fits my skill set, and send my resume. Something will eventually pop up, and it has to be better than what I’m doing now.” False. The mindset for this must be quality vs. quantity. So, back to the career paths exercise…
Once you make your list, begin thinking about what places in your community you’d like to work. Come up with a list of 30-40 places, and then try to find out who the best person to reach out at those places would be (i.e. directors, VPs, etc. in the department you’d like to join.) Not sure of exactly where you’d like to work? Hop on LinkedIn, and try to contact people in your circles that work there to get their opinions on the professional culture and if it’s somewhere you’d fit in.
Now comes the hard part: marketing yourself. This is where what some people would call “badgering” begins. Let’s not think about it like that… way too negative. Let’s call it “persistence” and ultimately wanting the best career for yourself, and the best employee for the company. You may think this is crazy, especially since there may not be a job posting at these places, but that’s the point! You want to get to them before the rest of the world knows there’s even a position open!
First, send an introduction letter to each company, explaining who you are, why you have an interest in working there and that you’ll be sending a resume and cover letter within a week or so (you want to be sure you’re giving whoever is reading the letter enough breathing room.) It’s important to send this to a specific person, not a department. We’ve all seen the abyss of interoffice mail… enough said.) Then, send your cover letter and resume, pointing out in the cover letter that you’ll be following up with a phone call in a week. WHAT?! WE’RE GOING TO ACTUALLY PICK UP THE PHONE AND USE OUR VOICES?! Well, yes. So get over it.
Lastly, is the phone call. And of course, this is the hardest part. But that’s why you’re committing to it in the cover letter, so you MUST follow through. Like I said before, this process may seem CRAZY, but it makes sense, right? And based on the stories and statistics Dan provides, it works!
So give this not-so-traditional approach a try. But be sure through all of it, don’t just apply for anything… apply with a purpose, and a passion.
Intrigued about Dan Miller? Check out his blog!