If You Want Work, Get To Work

Bonehook is a new company, but it’s one that receives a fair amount of interest from prospective employees, even though we have no employees, other than me. My team members are all contractors. It’s a model that keeps costs down and those savings are passed directly to our clients. It’s also a more flexible model for building brands, since each client team is put together specifically to solve a client’s particular marketing problems. The team I put together for our children’s hospital client in Tucson, for instance, is not the same team I put would together for a craft brewer or a high tech B2B client.

But let’s get back to the pursuit of a job, at Bonehook or anywhere else, for a minute.

As you can see from the above Twitter exchange, I get some horribly written job queries. Not only is the English poorly constructed, there’s no “reason why” or reason for me to care anywhere near these pieces. Instead I’m asked to read a bunch of gibberish about what the job seeker wants. I don’t care what a total stranger seeking a job with my company wants. I only care about how someone can help me and my clients achieve our various ends. It is the prospect’s job to identify what those ends are, and to convince me that even though I don’t have the budget to hire them, I really can’t do without them.

In other words, you have to care and then care some more. And you have to work and then work some more. When you care and you’ve done the work, you give yourself a chance. Of course, you also need to be insanely talented, easy to work with, trustworthy, emotionally intelligent, and a good person and you need to be able to express all that in your initial queries and in person.

Just last week I sat down with a college student looking for work, not at Bonehook, but in a related field here in Portland. I like the young man and it’s obvious that he’s intelligent. But he’s been late to two meetings with me and thus far there’s been no written thank you for my time. I’ve also critiqued aspiring copywriter’s portfolios and received no formal thanks. Sending out an email or snail mail after meeting with someone is standard operating procedure. It’s the basics and if you can’t handle the basics, you can’t handle much.

Shall we recap?

Seven Tips for Job Seekers

  • Show you care about the company you’re reaching out to
  • Do your homework
  • Don’t tell the employer what you want to do – tell them what you can do for them
  • Be polite, but be persuasive
  • Rid your queries of any spelling or grammar problems, a.k.a. sloppiness
  • Consider using a non-digital format for your query
  • Provided you get an interview, arrive early and send a thank you note within 48 hours

Thanks to Briana Bononcini for encouraging this post.

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