I have been job hunting for some time now, since my term as President of AIESEC Norway is ending now in June 30th. In the best of Maslow's style, I was trying to get absolutely anything anywhere so I could survive, get some money and then try to find a place that is cool and a better position. I was practically a CV-sending-machine-gunner.
This didn't work well - or, well, putting in my own words: it failed supreme. I couldn't even get an interview. Are you serious? Do you know how much experience I have? How do you prefer a fresh graduate with no experience? I can't understand.
Then in a spree of lucidity I decided to apply what I've learned in these 5 years of AIESEC and I decided to scrap all the sh*t out of the way and go only for the important stuff. I thought "to hell with it, if I am going to get rejected, I am going to get rejected by companies and jobs that I really wish to work!"
Then I sent 4 e-mails to 4 companies that I would love to work in - mostly because of the business they are in, such as leadership development, culture management consultancy and this sort of thing. The sort of thing that I am not only passionate for, but I am good at it - and, sincerely, I love it so much that I would pay people to work on this (if I had money, which is not exactly the case - or, putting in my own words: I am a serious candidate for the worst paid CEOs documentary). Ah, I forgot to mention: none of these companies had any job opening.
From the 4 e-mails sent, I received 3 answers in the same day asking me to have an interview, a lunch or anything. And one of these companies I didn't even send my CV, it was just a mail.
Here is the recipe (in order of importance - i.e. if you don't get the first, the 2nd will not help you):
#1 - Passion - I was not sending a job application, I was sending almost a love letter. I wanted to do it so much that I would do anything to contribute - I just want to be part of it and have fun. Just let me play with your toys! If you are not passionate for what you are applying for, you are just another guy. Passion is free and generates crazy commitment (like working until 22h for free just because you like it) - but no one can buy passion.
#2 - Add value first, then get valued - I just spoke from my heart that I was a talented guy wanting to contribute, even for free. This is quite obvious: I won't get any money anyway, I will be unemployed, so I can work even for free. It's much easier to get to know people that can give you a job when you are working and making the difference, than while sitting at home sending CVs. This paid off already: I met yesterday around 10 amazing people that was ultra-cool to work with.
#3 - Between big and agile, go for the agile - I know my mom would be proud of me if I worked in a huge well-known company. Good that I have self-perception enough to know that I am the one that I need to please, not my mom. Going to big companies you are just asking to be treated as a number from a boring HR person which has as the best tool to manage talent monetary incentives. Bypass the HR people, talk to the owners and CEOs of smaller and faster companies. They can smell talent and that's not a commodity largely available to smaller companies. If you have talent, stand out and talk to the boss.
And that was it. Of course most of these things you really cannot do if you are a fresh graduate that has no clue about your strengths, dreams and so on - but that's why you should join AIESEC and stand out, be Linchpin.
I am having fun as hell. Spring feelings supreme.
PS: hey, you got interested? Talk to me (sergio.schuler AT gmail.com) or check out my CV.