How to get a job aggressively

Applying for jobs is scary. What do people want? How do you get in the door? Why aren’t they responding to me? Learn how to be politely aggressive so that you can get interviews.

How to start

The easiest thing to do is start by creating a list of companies that you would like to work for. Put everything on here, even companies you think you have no chance with. Go on AngelList, Crunchbase, etc. Try to find companies that you didn’t think of previously, even ‘no name’ ones. You should get a list of approximately 50-100 companies. Remember, sales is a numbers game, when applying for jobs, you are selling yourself.

Who is the hiring manager?

Next we want to find the hiring manager at each company you’d like to work for. Once you figure out the department you’re interested in at each company, you’re going to look up who heads it up on LinkedIn.

This might require you to have a LinkedIn Premium account, which is pretty cheap for what it gets you. If you think it’s expensive, think about what it might cost you in salary to not have enough options for a job (and therefore competitive salary offers).

Get their email

There are a couple ways to get the email.

  1. You can guess it (70-80% of companies abide by first initial, last name [at] company dot com). For example, [email protected]

    1. If you guess it, you can use a service like Rapportive or Clearbit Connect to see if it works. You just install one of them, then create an email and punch in the email. If it doesn’t show their profile in your account, then it’s probably a bad email.

    2. Or you can test it via a service like mailtester.

  2. You can use a service like Voila Norbert or Email Hunter.

  3. If you can’t find the email address no matter what, you can try and send an InMail through LinkedIn premium, which might not be as effective, but better than nothing.

Make a Spreadsheet

Next step is to put all of this into a spreadsheet. In order to use MailMerge we’re going to want to use a Google Sheet, so none of that Microsoft stuff (although there is MailMerge for Outlook and Excel if you prefer those tools).

Make sure the spreadsheet has the following columns:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Company Name

I also recommend including any notes about these companies or the hiring manager in Trello, which I’ll go over later in this document.

Create a Great Email

This should be the best email you’ve ever written in your life. Send it to at least five people and have them give you feedback once you’re sure it’s perfect. Then rewrite it with their advice (you almost never want to edit existing work). Here’s a good resource on industry norms: 75 mild-blowing sales stats. Once you’re done, save it as a draft in Gmail.

Subject Line:

Study up on effective email subject lines. The primary goal of the subject line is to entice people to open the email. Write something that you think would get people to open it up.

Write Compelling Copy:

Be direct, express interest, and back up why you’re a good candidate. Applying for a job is one of the only socially acceptable situations where you can brag about how good you are. It is possible to do this without being obnoxious. Just talk through a compelling accomplishment.

Example

Do not use this verbatim, if you all do it’ll look super bad. Get creative, make it your own.

Subject:

The perfect candidate

Body:

Hi Boss,

I’d love to have the opportunity to chat about working for you.

I recently graduated from X university studying X. I have done internships at X and X focusing on X. One of my projects was X, where I explored X, X, and X concepts. I utilized X, X, and X tools, and while I’m not an expert, I’m not a beginner.

I think the work you do is incredible and I want to be a part of your team. I think with my experience, combined with my ambition, I’d be an asset.

Thank you for your consideration, and apologies for jumping into your inbox!

Applicant

Track your Emails and Get Organized

Setup something like Banana Tag. There are other services, but Banana Tag is pretty straight forward. This allows you to see if your targets are opening your emails, which is super useful. If they’re not, you might want to try another subject line.

I also recommend tracking follow-ups and job search state using Trello. This allows you to stay on top of things and get a sense of how things are going. You can use a setup like below or whatever works for you.

Organizing jobs on Trello

Send your Emails with MailMerge

I’m not gonna be able to write as good a guide as the creator: https://www.labnol.org/software/mail-merge-with-gmail/13289/

You can send up to 50 emails a day, which is pretty great. If you want to be able to send more, it’s only $30 for a license. Not bad. Remember, this is a job search that is extremely valuable to you. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money.

Test it on yourself first so you can make sure you didn’t make any mistakes with variable names.

Be Persistent

Send an email once a week for five weeks, or until the receiver tells you to stop emailing. Studies show that the same percentage of people respond to the first email as the fifth. That’s insane, and you should take advantage of that.

Make sure the email subject line remains the same (this makes it so the email shows up as a thread in their inbox, instead of five individual emails). Make sure to change the content though. Look below to all the emails from Asana and you can see all the different content, but the same subject line.

This will feel wildly aggressive to some people. I get it. It’s scary. What if this person tells everyone not to hire me? What if I get blackballed? What if this person yells at me and tells me they hate me? This really doesn’t happen (or it’s rare), at least not in America. Further, anybody who would react that way to you being politely persistent is a maniac, and you wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. This is a very, very mild inconvenience to them.

People in positions to hire other people get cold emailed all the time. In any large enough company, if you have enough responsibility you’re getting emailed all the time by everybody, internal and external. Email is a disaster. When you’re young and in college, you have no concept of what it means to be busy and to have a crazy inbox. Things get lost all the time.

I’ve had to commit inbox bankruptcy before, and my attitude is basically this: “If it’s important enough, they’ll email again”. Remember that the next time you are sending a follow-up email.

As long as you’re polite, you’ll be fine.

Remember, this is like sales. You are selling yourself. If you were selling someone else’s product you’d be expected to be persistent. Shouldn’t you treat your search for a job the same way?

Example of a Rep’s persistence from Asana

10 Emails. TEN!! They sent this many in just a bit over a month.

Email barrage from Asana pt1

Email barrage from Asana pt2

They then sent another five emails until I finally responded:

Email barrage from Asana pt3

You can do this

Job hunting is scary. It scares the shit out of almost everyone, even experienced people. Imposter syndrome is so, so common. If you’re new, why should anybody hire you? If you’re experienced, maybe you just got lucky and the company never hated you enough to fire you? Maybe you were just good in this one environment, and in another you’ll fail?

Fuck all that.

You are great. You will be awesome. You deserve this.

Remember, this is a numbers game. Go out there and make your luck.

Written on January 30, 2019