How to get hired? INITIATIVE

Lately I have been reviewing a lot of resumes (both for volunteer and paid positions at Iridescent), going to career fairs and interviewing candidates and came to a few conclusions about hiring.
I used to be an international graduate student not too long ago and distinctly remember the feeling of desperation when you submit your resume to 5000 black holes.
But now I realize that good people are very hard to find and employers have the same feeling of desperation that they won’t get the right person for the job. So if you know you have the right stuff, then there are two things you could do that would get you hired in a heartbeat.

  1. Be picky.
  2. Show initiative.

That sounds easy, but it actually requires a ton of work. Here is what the above two steps entail:

  • Identify 2-3 organizations that you would like to work with.
  • Study the organizations very very carefully and review their websites at length. This requires a lot of work and you shouldn’t skimp on the work.
  • Google the employees and find out about them (this is super easy to do these days with LinkedIn profiles, blogs etc).
  • Find out what philosophy the administration subscribes to. If the organization is big, find out if they have any books about themselves and read them!

THEN comes the fun creative part!

  • Determine what the organization needs. This is not easy. Sometimes the organization could have job postings on their website that could guide you, but this step requires you to think like an owner. “How could I run this organization better?”.
  • Determine how your strengths could help address the organization’s needs.
  • Plan and execute a small project (along the lines of the organization’s needs and your strengths) that you can finish in 2-3 weeks. Or if it is not possible to do a small project, then think through (in detail) a larger project that could benefit the organization AND that you would love to execute.

Last step is to get hold of someone from the organization and show them your work. You are guaranteed to floor them! Many times they may not be hiring in your field or for the position you are interested in. Do not despair. Be persistent and patient. Volunteer to work on that project for 2-3 months (shorter period of time is useless to all). And you will be guaranteed to be hired after that period!

Conclusion: If you are passionate about working in a particular field, go for it with all you have got. Don’t be afraid of hard work. Think long-term. And you will be supremely happy!
Here is one of my favorite inspirational pieces on “Living a Fruitful Life” by Frank Oppenheimer.

4 replies
  1. Susanna
    Susanna says:

    I’ve been looking for a job for quite some time now and I have really felt frustrated. I know I have the skills and the background to get hired but after reading your post, I feel like I can definitely boost up the energies I put into making ‘companies/schools’ view me as a viable candidate! Thanks for the ’employer’s’ perspective!!

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Tara:

    A very productive approach to ‘Job Hunt’.

    Just one question though about the last thing – ‘Last step is to get hold of someone from the organization and show them your work’.

    Any ideas about ‘How do you get hold of somebody’ from a multi billion dollar corporation ?

    Especially, if the person is not local and has a very limited local social connections?

    Thank you.


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