You need a job – but have you asked for one?

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

You need a job. Have you tried the bold approach, by asking for a job, even when one isn’t advertised?

In ‘the olden days’, before job ads and recruitment agencies existed, people simply asked for employment. It’s rare for people to do this, so taking this approach could mean that you stand out.

Perhaps you have an ‘ideal’ employer – a company who you really admire or feel would be a great place to work. Scanning the jobs ad doesn’t reveal vacancies (or at least vacancies that are suitable for you.) But that doesn’t mean there are no jobs for you, or jobs coming up.

Let’s not forget something really important: organizations, and jobs, are about people. Ads, job postings on LinkedIn and websites are not about people – they’re about words and box-ticking. So why not make your employment acquisition about people, take the initiative, and ask for a job?

I do this all the time. Almost all the jobs I have done in the last 6 years resulted from me simply asking for one. And you can do the same.

Where to start

Perhaps obvious, but start with the companies where you want to work. Here is an opportunity to think out of the box. You don’t need to stick within your industry – if your skills are transferable. Only YOU will limit who you choose to ask for a job. You might want to look at companies who have won awards or have been commended for their treatment of employees. Write a list of these companies.

What to do next

Then, find out who you could ask in each organization. LinkedIn is a great place for this as you can discover who is in the right job with potentially recruiting responsibility. If you can’t find the person(s) you’re looking for, use google! Failing that, pick up the phone and ask for the name of the person in that job. You just might be given it…

Get in touch

This is where courage and cunning comes in. Pick up the phone and ask to speak to your target people – and ask them for a job. Engage in brief pleasantries, but don’t waste too much time in getting to the point. The first aim is to hear Yes – for anything. An answer of Yes leads onto more answers of Yes. Ask ‘do you have a minute to talk?’. Then explain the kind of role you’re looking for. Share your key skills and experience, and most of all, your past achievements. But keep this to 30 seconds and no more. Then, come right out and ask if there is a job for you.

Above all, be nice, be friendly, and positive. Smile whilst you speak.

The response

Be prepared for this: first off, you might be rebuffed. Most organizations have formal processes for recruitment, and with this approach, your walking all over it. But don’t be put off. If you get a Big No to start with, ask if you could send your resume and a link to your LinkedIn profile to be considered for opportunities down the line. Also, ask if there is a timeframe in which you might call back to find out if there are new vacancies. Before hanging up, ask if they know of anyone else inside their organization who could be recruiting.

But you might get a maybe… this in itself could be a stalling tactic. Most people don’t like to give people bad news, so maybe isn’t necessarily a good answer for you. No matter – it’s not a No and the door could still be open – ask if you could meet them for a Starbucks for a friendly chat about any vacancies. Failing that, send in your resume, and a link to your LinkedIn profile, for consideration.

And if the answer is Yes – well remember there is likely to be a formal process, so this doesn’t mean the job is yours, yet. There are still hoops to jump through, but at least you have been given a green light to proceed. Suggest that you meet, briefly, at somewhere of their convenience. And sign off by asking for their email address so you can send in your resume and summarize your conversation.

This approach is bold – it takes guts and determination – but it is quick, personal and effective. If you need a job then you have little to lose. Good luck!

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