These are the exact formulas that I used to help my students land interviews and offers at large companies such as Tik Tok, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, even without them having any connections. Now I’m going to teach you how to do the same!
As I’m sure you’re already aware, more than 50% of job openings are never posted online and when they are, they get a ton of applications making them very hard to get. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t apply to jobs online whatsoever, but, I do want to show you a more effective way in getting a job whether you apply on a job board such as LinkedIn or directly with a company.
The Worst Feeling
Looking for a dream job?
After weeks of searching you’ve finally found it. The one. The day-to-day is perfect, the salary is great, the hours are flexible, and the benefits are amazing (not to mention it’s less than 10 minutes from your place!). You head over to LinkedIn looking for connections and….they’re all 3rd degree with your only mutual connection being that weird kid from high school you haven’t spoken to in 5 years. Ugh…
We’ve all been there – the feeling of defeat washing over you before you’ve even had the chance to get started. So what do you do next? What anyone else in the 21st century would do – Google it!
- “Go to large meetups and network with as many people as you can!”
- “Join professional organizations with like minded people in your field!”
- “Just email people and ask!”
These are all suggestions that popped up when I searched for “how to get a job”. This is horrible advice!
You know where you won’t find top performers looking to hire the best talent for top marketing companies? At networking events and meetups. They just don’t have time for that, and neither do you. Most of the people at these events are not very influential within their industrial niches and therefore aren’t going to do much for your cause as they are all there as well to hopefully make better of their own careers.
What about emailing and asking? Well, how would you feel if some stranger emailed you and just asked for a job? You’d probably laugh at them all the way to your spam folder.
You probably also noticed that I didn’t mention submitting your resume online (where resumes can go to die). That sounds harsh, I know, but how many people do you know submitting 20 applications online hear back? Simply applying in bulk online is not the most effective way to land a job and I want to see you get hired as fast as possible. So I want to supplement that strategy and show you how you should be networking to get into the marketing field.
So how do you get your foot in the door?
In this article I’m going to show you the exact process you can use to get an entry-level marketing job interview at your dream company, even if you don’t know a SINGLE person there. However, once again, this is only going to be possible if you have the right work experience on your resume in the first place. So, you need to make sure you address that first and we at JobPrepped can help you with that immediately so that you get hired much much faster for an entry-level marketing position just as we’ve done for over 3,000 graduates.
Anyways, how do I know the below method works? Because these are the exact steps that I’ve had my students use to get job interviews and offers at companies like Tik Tok, Google, Facebook, and more.
By Far, Referrals Are The Most Effective Way To Get Hired
Referrals and looking for mutual connections should be your first thought when seeking career opportunities. Your network is your net worth. Say it with me, “Your net worth is your net worth”. Connections matter. Referrals are easily the most effective way to secure a job interview and land the offer:
- 40% of hires come from referrals, the next largest channel is via career sites at 21% (almost half as many!)
- Referrals get hired in an average of 3 weeks while other applicants take up to 7 weeks (things are much tougher currently due to a really tough job market that COVID has caused). Once again though, this is assuming that you have the right work experience on your resume! I can’t stress this point enough.
- Referrals also get paid more on average than cold applicants
So, what if you don’t know anyone at the company? This is a very common problem for new graduates so let’s fix that for you 🙂
Step 1: How To Get A Job Interview When You Don't Know A Single Person At The Company
Know Your Role (And Find It!)
First, have a solid idea of the specific role that you’re looking for, right down to the company and title (if possible). Next, make sure that role is available. You can do that by finding the role on the company’s website or by using any of these free job posting sites. Just as an example, let’s assume that you want to be an Account Manager in the Technology B2B vertical at Google.
Nice! Looks like a spot is open in New York (where you’re from in this case):
Next, Locate Potential Decision Makers
Now, you need to find someone that has an impact on hiring for this role. You can find this out via LinkedIn.
In LinkedIn’s search bar, type in the company’s name and all of the information I highlighted above (title, vertical/industry, preferred city). Before you hit “Search,” we need to remember that you’re looking for someone who can influence the hiring process.
So, use the title one level up from the position that you’re looking for.
If you’re not familiar with title hierarchy structures in the corporate world, here’s a super quick overview (if you are already familiar with how titles are structured, feel free to skip this section):
Every company has a hierarchy. This starts at the top with the CEO/Founder and goes all the way down to the bottom where we have entry level employees.
Here is the general way companies are usually set up in terms of hierarchy:
- C-Level (CEO, CTO, CFO, COO, etc.)
- Vice President (VP)
- Senior Manager
- Coordinator (Entry Level)
- Associates, Executives, and Seniors
In most companies, there are further breakdowns within each of these above titles so that you can move up in rank within each of these segments. You’ll usually see this in the form of an Associate, Executive, and Senior title within each of these above titles. For example:
Associate: this title is usually given to someone who is halfway between positions for some reason (maybe there is typically a 4 year gap between levels and they are 2 years in). A person with Associate in their title is usually one notch below a person with the original title. For example, an Associate Account Manager would most likely be one level below an Account Manager.
Senior: this title is the more experienced version of an Associate. People with Senior in their title are usually one notch above the original title. For example, a Senior Account Manager would be one notch above an Account Manager.
Executive: this title is usually given to people who are very senior, or around the level of Vice President. The two most common cases are Marketing Executive/Marketing Account Executive (synonymous terms for a senior marketer) or Executive Vice President who is two notches above a Vice President and one notch above a Senior Vice President.
This is really all you need to know to have an understanding on who you should reach out to.
Alright, let’s get back to reaching out to the right person.
Since in this example we are looking for an Account Manager role, the next step up would be Senior Account Manager so your LinkedIn search would look like this:
Our first result? A Senior Account Manager who works in B2B at Google – perfect!
Get Their Contact Info
Let’s now set up a meeting with them.
Let’s now discuss 3 ways to get in contact with them since you don’t have their email address yet.
Go to the person’s profile and right under their picture, click “Contact Info”. Sometimes people make their email public and you can get it there.
However, not everyone has it there and some only make it available to their 1st degree contacts. So, you could send a random connection request to the person (if you go this route, always make sure you send a “Note” saying who you are and some reason why they should connect with you) and hope they accept you. Or you can get their email address and any hiring manager you want to connect with by the below 2 methods:
Go to Mailscoop and enter the first and last name of the person you are searching for, as well as their company’s website. For example, if we’re trying to find Elon Musk’s email, our form would look like this:
If the above doesn’t work, do know that most companies use the exact same format for the email addresses they give their employees. So, simply find someone else’s email from that company and you’ll be able to determine the format they use and therefore can figure out your target’s email address.
For example, if I want to find Joe Shmoe’s email address at Tik Tok and I know Jane Smith’s email (who also works at Tik Tok) address is email@example.com, then there is a high probability that Joe Shmoe’s email address will follow the same format and be firstname.lastname@example.org. This doesn’t’ work 100% of the time but this is a pretty solid method that usually does.
If you’re having trouble figuring out that first email from that company to figure out the email format they use, the easiest way is to go onto Linked and search for someone in sales at that company. Oftentimes, sales people want to make it very easy for people to connect with them so they often will have their email address public and you can see the format there. If they don’t, try to connect with one of them stating you have a question about their product and then you’ll likely get access to their email address. Alternatively, you might be able to find a sales rep’s email address on the company website.
Now that you have the format, you can use MailTester to confirm that this email is valid.
Next, Research This Decision Maker
Don’t just reach out right away, but rather, research the person on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and see if you 2 have any common interests or connections. The better you get to know this person, the better the luck you’ll have in getting a referral from them.
Now, when you finally interact with this person, you of course don’t want to come off as a creepy stalker or anything like that. So, be careful what you bring up from your research and just play it cool and be casual with the common interests you bring up without mentioning that you know they like x, y, and z too. In general, if they’ve posted about it on Linkedin, it’s perfectly fine to discuss. Things you find on FB and IG, be more subtle with these findings.
Next, Connecting Via Email
Through your research, you’ve hopefully come up with a way to make your intro email (or LinkedIn connection request) personalized. This could be something like:
- A non-traditional background
- An interesting career pivot or move
- A current project they’re working on
- An article they wrote
- Something from their personal website or LinkedIn
For example, if you were going to email me, you might dial into the fact that I transitioned from running a large part of a Fortune 500 company into starting my own company in JobPrepped.
Here’s the email you’d write for that:
Subject: Quick Question
My name is [Your Name] and I found your info while I was looking for people who made the jump from a Fortune 500 company into starting their own company. Your experience transitioning from corporate life to JobPrepped really stood out to me.
I’m sure that transition wasn’t easy! I’d love to hear more about your journey, some of the obstacles you faced, and ask you a few questions.
I know you’re busy and your time is valuable, so no need to respond in depth. If you do have a few minutes to chat, I’d be really grateful. If not, no worries! Either way, have a great week.
This email is good because it focuses on me as opposed to you just reaching out asking me to do you a favor and look over your resume. Flattery is always nice and will open doors for you.
You won’t always find great info on the decision makers you’re emailing so when this is the case, just do your best to try to compliment them somehow as that is more likely to give you a few minutes of their time as opposed to just asking about a job opening.
For example, let’s pretend I’m reaching out to Joe Shmoe at Tik Tok and I couldn’t find much info on him online. Here’s an example of what I’d write:
Subject: Quick Question
My name is (_____) and I have a strong passion for digital marketing. I was browsing through LinkedIn and came across your information – I hope you don’t mind me reaching out of the blue here.
I saw that you have extensive experience with Tik Tok and I’m very interested in learning more about this space. I would love to have the opportunity to run some questions by you, as well as tap into any advice you may have given your knowledge of the industry.
I know that your time is extremely valuable so please don’t feel to need to respond in depth. If you do have 5 minutes to chat, I would really appreciate it.
A few things to pay attention to above:
- ALWAYS address the person by name
- State who you are and make it personable
- Use flattery and make them feel like an “expert” of some sort.
Your subject line is super important. Fast Company actually did a study where they emailed 1,000 C-level executives from Fortune & Inc 500 companies and found that the subject line “Quick Question” made up 66.7% of total replies. So, I suggest sticking with this or something very similar.
The above is just a framework and you may need to tweak these templates. But, you get the idea at this point.
You can now hit Send!
Prepare For Your Meeting
In this meeting, your goal isn’t to land a job, but it’s to make the person like you and make them feel like an expert when talking with you. Don’t mention anything about looking for a job here. We’ll get to that more in a minute.
Prepare some questions to talk about. Start off with some easy ones to get the ball rolling such as:
- I saw you worked at [Previous Companies]. How did you end up going from [First Industry] to becoming interested in [Current Company]?
- You hear a lot about [Current Company] in the news, but I’d love to hear more about why you love working there. What’s your favorite part?
- What is one totally unexpected lesson you’ve learned from working at [Current Company]?
The “Million Dollar” Question
Now that that you have the person warmed up, here is by far the most important question you ALWAYS need to make sure you ask as this will lead you to ultimately get the referral:
“What is the biggest challenge your team is facing right now?”
Get them to be specific. This is absolutely key in helping you get a referral from them and getting an offer for the job you want.
It’s Now Time To Show Your Value!
Your meeting went well and you now know what their main pain point is. It’s now time for you to do some research so you can show your worth by offering a solution. You’ll show your professionalism by drafting up a proposal which will include:
- A summary of the problem (to illustrate that you understand their pain)
- A step-by-step framework of how you would solve this problem
- A brief outline of how your work experience/skill set allows you to help solve this issue.
You don’t want this to be some 10 page document as you want it to actually be read so try to keep this to roughly a page or less.
Sending Your Proposal
Send an email to the decision maker you met with. Here’s a template I use:
Hi [Decision Maker],
Thanks again for taking the time out of your busy day to chat last week!
I spent a lot of time thinking about what you said regarding [team’s biggest challenge]. In fact, I created a short framework that should help you solve it! Please find that attached.
If you have some time, I would love to chat about it in more detail.
Please let me know if you have any questions, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
Once again, DON’T mention the open position here. Be patient. When they respond to you, they very likely will not only bring up the opening, but they’ll likely ask you to share your resume if you’re interested. If you have the right work experience that marketing hiring managers want from entry-level applicants as discussed here, then you’ll likely be invited for an interview as you’ve already shown some of the key value you can bring and you’ve shown great creativity in going about your job search in an unique way which hiring managers love.
Step 2: How To Ace Your Interviews
You’re applying for a marketing role. Rule #1 in marketing is don’t try to sell your services/product. Instead, show how your product/service can fix the target customer’s problem.
I’m sure your current pitch as to why you’d be a great addition to the team sounds something like this: “I am a quick learner that has a lot of experience in social media marketing. I am looking for a position that will allow me to prove myself, with opportunity for growth because I know that if given the chance, I will be able to excel in the marketing field and be able to make it into a lifelong career.“
9 out of 10 entry-level marketing applicants sound like this. Did you notice how this pitch was about you rather than how you can help? If you can’t market yourself effectively, why would a marketing hiring manager think you’ll be able to do it for their company/product? You need to instead be talking about the improvement you will bring to the company such as “I will use my experience to automate your lead generation techniques to get more potential customers in our marketing funnel just as I did with xxxxx company.” I hope you understand how that is a much more powerful statement in our ears than what you provided.
Trust me, you’re not alone in making this mistake. If you’re like most entry-level marketing applicants, this is likely just the tip of the iceberg and 1 of many crucial missteps that is keeping you from getting hired (assuming you have the right work experience to get the interview in the first place). Since JobPrepped’s program is focused on getting you hired faster, we’ll make sure we fix these issues (many which you probably don’t realize you’re making) to ensure you give hiring managers exactly what they want.
The Universal Interview Template
Interviews can be tough and if you aren’t good at these, it’s going to be really hard to ever land your dream job. So, let’s get you as prepared as possible here.
The main thing you want to emphasize in your interviews is the value that you’re going to bring if hired. DON’T simply talk about your past. Show your value and exactly what you’ll do if hired. The person that pitches the right marketing strategies (assuming they have the right work experience on their resume) is the person that we are going to hire 9 times out of 10. You need to make sure you do extensive research on the company so that you can see where they are likely having problems and come up with solutions on how to fix that. With JobPrepped’s program, we show you exactly how to identify where companies can improve in their marketing efforts and we teach you 100+ strategies to pitch during your interviews so you sound like a 5-10 year marketing veteran and impress the hell out of the hiring manager.
Bottom line, make sure you’re showing the value you’ll bring if hired.
First, let’s make sure you nail the basic most common interview questions:
Most interviews for entry-level marketing positions will follow a very similar format. Master these responses and you’ll already be a much better interviewer.
The Universal Job Interview Format:
- Tell me about yourself (your experience, why you’re interested in this role, etc.)
- A mix of behavioral questions, which we’ll dive into shortly
- What questions do you have for me (the interviewer)?
Let’s break each one down further:
Tell Me About Yourself!
This is your first impression. This is not a time to simply regurgitate what you have on your resume. They can read.
You want to craft a 2-3 minute response and think about what they would want to hear given their pain points and tie that into your story. For example:
- Choose 2-3 themes to build your story around (for me, those themes were Persistence, Agility, and Success)
- Include quantitative metrics whenever possible
- Address why your story makes you a great addition to the team and a person that can immediately bring value if hired
To help get you started, here is what your story could look like:
Growing up, like most people, I wanted to make change in this world. I went to [college] where I majored in marketing as I knew with my creativity, I could bring major change in the world for the things I believe in. So, I set my sights on getting educated and getting all of the work experience I could possibly get and created a plan that has got me to this interview today.
In 2020, I graduated. This obviously wasn’t the best job market to graduate in given the toll that COVID was taking on the economy. With jobs being scarce and unemployment high, I knew that I couldn’t just sit back and just keep applying to place after place and hope I slip through the cracks somewhere. You see, I’m a go-getter. I’m not the type of person that accepts a bad situation. I’m going to go out and adapt and adjust. So, I knew I needed to do everything that I could to get as much real world work experience as I possibly could as I knew that I would be competing with professionals who already had a few years working in the marketing industry and were now looking for new jobs after getting laid off. So, I did exactly that and I got work experience in Social Media, Email Marketing, PPC and SEO marketing.
During my time at JobPrepped, I was able to gain a vast amount of work experience as you can see on my resume and I was able to increase our social media engagement by 75% and increased our leads by 50% through my marketing strategies.
However, my dream has always been to work at this company since I got into this industry and I’m really excited and grateful to have this opportunity with you here today.
Next, We Have The Behavioral Questions Part of the Interview
Here, we’re looking at your thought process and your ability to be a “team player,” as well as why you’re interested in this specific role. You’ll get questions like the below:
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Tell me about a time you exhibited leadership
- Tell me about a time where you had to work as a team
- Tell me about a time you’ve had to work with a difficult person, or difficult people
- Tell me about a time you failed
- Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle
- Tell me about a time when you had success
In answering these, follow the same set of rules I mentioned above in the Tell Me About Yourself section:
- Craft a concise story
- Make sure to include quantitative metrics that illustrate your success
- Anticipate and address objections
Next, You’ll Get Some Company Specific Questions
Try not to go into your interviews blind. Instead, head over to GlassDoor. Glassdoor is a great resource for any job seeker that includes salaries, reviews, and interview information for almost any company in the world.
First, you are going to search for the position you’re applying for. Let’s say you’re applying to work for Google. We’ll search for “Google” under Companies & Reviews:
Next, click on the “Interviews” Tab:
Then scroll down and click on “Filter Interviews” which will bring up some advanced settings. Here type in the title of the job you want from our previous example (Account Manager) and the location (New York, NY). Select “Received Offer”
You’ll now have a list of reviews from everyone that interviews and received an offer for that position. You can read all the comments but our main focus for the time being is the Interview Questions section towards the bottom. Look through these and add 10-15 of them to a document so you can practice answering these later.
Finally, We’re At The End of the Interview And They Ask, What Questions Do You Have For Me?
In my opinion this is the most crucial part of the interview.
Asking the right questions will show if you think the right way for the job. It will show if you’re focused on the right strategies and it will show if you understand the larger marketing landscape and how to make the company you’re applying for as efficient as possible and get the most return on investment. I can’t stress this point enough. The reason our program comes with over 100 marketing strategies to pitch during your interview is because this is an incredibly important part of whether or not you will get the job. You need to understand where their inefficiencies are and how to solve these problems in the most efficient way possible and the questions you ask can quickly show the inexperience of a candidate so we focus a lot of attention on identifying issues and pitching the correct strategies in your interview.
Please don’t just ask questions like the below. Your time with the interviewer is limited so you want to make sure you maximize your impression on them by using each minute to show how strong of a candidate you are. So, don’t ask these basic questions but instead, ask high level marketing questions that go into conversions, lead generation tactics, inefficiencies and stuff of that nature. Once again, don’t spend too much time on the below as you’re still trying to prove you’re the right fit for them:
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What are your hours like?
- How long have you been at this job?
- What happened to the previous person in this position?
Finally, I always try to get to know the person on a personal level with my last question as you want to make a real connection with them and have something to bring up in your thank you email. I find this one to be good:
- Tell me a little bit more about you, what do you like to do outside of work?
Always Send a Thank You Email!
Do this for everyone you interviewed with. Also include a personal touch to each one (something that you gained from that last personal question).
Also, always ask for their email if you don’t have it already. This will allow you to stay in contact with them after your interview. If you for some reason forget to get it, use the method I described above to find their email address.
Step 3: The Follow Up & What To Do If You Get A “No”
I Haven't Heard Back In 3 Days!
That’s okay. That’s completely normal. Although this is a huge deal to you, hiring managers have other tasks on their plate so don’t take this as an insult. Don’t reach out just yet.
So When Can I Reach back out?
As a rule of thumb, wait 1 business week before following up and never send a follow up email on a Monday as these get the lowest response rates. When you follow up, don’t be pushy and keep it short and sweet:
I hope you had a great week!
I wanted to quickly follow up and see if there was anything else I could help with regarding the application process. If so, please let me know!
That’s it. If they don’t respond to that after another 3-4 days, you have your answer and it’s time to move onto the next company (which you’ve already started the reachout process for as you should be doing this with multiple companies at a time)..
Good luck everyone!