Posts Tagged ‘networking’
James Hamilton is the man when it comes to datacenter efficiency and economics, so if he says it, believe it…
Networking is interesting because it’s an area that is running counter-Moore and actually getting relatively more expensive while the rest of the industry is going the other way
Below is an email I recently received from a recruiter via LinkedIn. (I’ve blotted out the name of their client to protect the innocent.)
We all receive plenty of poorly written networking emails like this one where:
- there is no personal connection (The person who wrote the email above actually shared a mutual LinkedIn connection with me, but didn’t attempt to leverage that connection.)
- there is no strong reason for me to assist (What’s in it for me?)
- there are spelling and/or grammar errors (comes off as careless and unprofessional)
Because I’m weird (OK, obsessive) when it comes to networking etiquette, this kind of thing bothers me. So, a couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to help people write better networking emails. I dug through my Inbox and tracked down some successful emails from my most recent job hunt – job hunting emails that helped me get meetings with or secure introductions from hard-to-reach startup execs (whose companies were hiring!) and VC’s.
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve taken these emails – emails that worked – and compiled them into a free eBook.
This eBook is filled with 15 job hunt email templates and breaks down the best practices that were used in each email so that you can use those best practices to write your own killer job hunting emails.
Click here to get a free copy of 15 Emails That Worked emailed to you immediately.
Having just come off of a job search (I’m starting at AWS later this week!) I wanted to share some of the tactics that worked for me in scoring a job that I’m pretty darn excited about.
Let me know if you find these helpful and also if there are some tips that have worked well for you in past job searches.
1) Focus your resume on accomplishments, not roles.
Your resume is going to set the tone for the discussions you have with recruiters and hiring managers. Make sure it’s more than a list of job duties and functions. This is your chance to tout measurable accomplishments that show how you stand out from the crowd. Write about how you saved your last company $300,000 in CAPEX because you optimized an existing process, or how you ranked in the top 5% of your hiring class at your 1st job out of college. Skip the stuff that’s generic (e.g. “Developed Java applications for large financial services company”) because it’s not going to help you get interviews or stand out from the rest of the pack. Here are some more details about how to take your resume from good to great.
2) If you’re looking for a more entrepreneurial work environment, check in with your friendly neighborhood venture capitalist.
VCs are often a great source of information about which companies in the tech startup ecosystem are hiring. There are some nuances to identifying which startups and which VCs to approach in your job search, and David Biesel of NextView Ventures put together a great series of posts about this very topic.
VCs are also just super well connected inside and outside the startup world. It’s quite possible they know some folks within larger companies (after all, the larger companies end up buying their smaller companies) who might have a bead on some interesting roles.
Personally, I think outreach to VCs is perhaps the best way to get yourself in front of hiring managers in the tech world. My last 2 job searches were heavily influenced by awesome introductions provided by folks in the VC community, so I can’t say enough about this tip specifically.
3) Track your activities and follow up tasks in a systematic way.
I’m a firm believer that the job hunt is very much like a sales process, where you’re prospecting (finding potential opportunities), conducting a needs assessment (interviewing), following up, and closing (negotiating your compensation package and signing on the dotted line). Any professional salesperson is using a CRM of some sort (even if it’s just a spreadsheet!) to track and plan their activities, and a professional job seeker should be doing the same.
For my most recent job search, I used Highrise from 37signals to track relevant contacts as well as specific tasks related to job opportunities. Their system helped me stay disciplined about following up and staying on top of specific job opportunities. (BTW, has anyone used the Highrise APIs to develop a job seeker focused app? I think this would be really cool and useful.)
4) Avoid the front door, and use the back door when possible.
Job boards and company resume submission sites tend to be a road to nowhere when it comes to scoring an invitation to interview for a role. You’re much better off using these systems to identify which companies may be hiring, and which jobs are available. Then, you can use Google or various social networking sites (LinkedIn is great for this) to identify people you might know at the company who could potentially refer you to the hiring manager or the HR department.
If you don’t know anyone at the company, you can still use these tools to identify people who are in the group that’s doing the hiring, and maybe develop some sort of a pitch (which you could deliver via a well written email, or a phone call) with which you can use to get your foot in the door. I know this might seem a little pushy, but if you’re relying on job board or company website submissions otherwise, I don’t think you have much to lose by a more aggressive approach.
- 10 Mistakes Job Seekers Make…And How to Avoid Them (neuromonitoring.wordpress.com)
- 11 New Websites for Your Job Search (money.usnews.com)
I recently replied to an email (excerpted below) from the lean startup googlegroup where someone was looking for tips on how to find people to give him feedback on his product. I have quoted a part of his email as well as my response to his quoted questions. I spend a huge amount of time on Customer Development and outreach at VMTurbo, so this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.
If you have any best practices on getting feedback on your startup product, please let me know in the comments.
START OF EMAIL EXCERPT —-
> So I’m at the point that I’d love to bounce ideas off of people who’ve
> been down this road before;
> – I’ve been doing just cold emails & calls to higher-profile
> developers asking for them to betatest, and it’s not going all that
> great – is there a better way to gather the attention of some early
Try to get a warm intro through a mutual friend or acquaintance to
these folks. People are much more inclined to engage if you come
through a trusted source. LinkedIn is a great way to identify these
mutual connections. Other things you could try:
– Trade show and conference speakers & panelists: I recently ran an
outreach campaign to get feedback on our product from speakers at a
recent industry conference and got a very high hit rate (~10%+ replies
to a cold email, with many of them following up to have initial
discussions with us). I think this channel is effective because these
are folks who a) are deemed to have expertise in a specific area b)
like to talk about the technology in question and c) like to keep up
with industry trends and new companies. If you structure your
approach in a personal way, I think this could work well for you.
– Press releases: Watch your industry and competitors for press
releases. Usually a customer is quoted in competitor press releases,
and generally via LinkedIn or Google you can figure out how to reach
them. Again, one could argue that these people might be in bed with
one of your potential competitors, but at this stage of the game, I’d
say that the feedback you will get will far outweigh the risk of your
idea or ‘secret sauce’ being exposed.
> This wasn’t in the original email, but it goes without saying that customers of complementary technologies and products are also quoted in press releases :)
– LinkedIn: People self-identify on LinkedIn via joining specific
interest groups or by indicating in their profiles that they are a
member of various user groups. Why not approach these folks in a
personal way (doing some homework on their background, reading their
blog, etc) and see if they’d be willing to chat to provide feedback?
Also, user group leaders are always interested in bringing in new
vendors to demo products at meetings, so they are generally receptive
to speaking to startups and providing feedback.
I’d avoid cold calls where possible. Your market (Rails developers, I
guess?) is large enough where you should be able to find some
potential customers who could provide feedback.
I’d also add that you should be polite and persistent in your
outreach. If you make a cold call or email and it is not returned, I
see no harm in sending a polite, gentle reminder a week later. Same
if you’re introduced through a mutual acquaintance.
—- END OF EMAIL EXCERPT —-
Set aside one hour daily for active marketing: Software developers love to spend days and nights coding great stuff. Focusing on marketing, sales and customer activities is not quite as exciting. Put some discipline in place. A good starting point is to devote one hour per day of your time to work exclusively on marketing. And I don’t mean read the Web to learn about SEO.
Spend one full, active hour contributing to forums, pitching to people, e-mailing journalists and other key influencers that may be interested in what you do.
Does your web site have a success story from a real customer? Did you follow-up with the people you met at those meetings?
The first week, send at least two e-mails a day to people you have never met. By the third week, your goal is to receive one e-mail a day from people you don’t know. Once you figured it out, just scale.