There are a host of different approaches to getting a job – ask 100 experts and you’ll get 100 different answers. However, our guest blogger, Dean Ruxton, succeeded with an approach that many would discourage and some would abhor – is there such a thing as “successful spamming” and can it actually get you a graduate job?
“Spamming” in general gets a bad name. For most purposes, it amounts to inbox terrorism or a channel for shameless, viral self-promotion. However, in terms of getting a job in the shortest amount of time possible, it’s also a cost effective and economically viable method. I graduated with a BA last September and, like most of my classmates, found it harder than I could have imagined to even get a response from a potential employer, let alone a job. That’s when I decided to utilise a structured, focused ‘spam’ week to flood the market with my info; it took five days to implement and since then, I have had a 50% response rate, six interviews, three offers (one of which I accepted) and am still receiving phone calls.
Before you start, you will need:
■ A short, punchy, one-page CV. One page might seem short, but there’s actually university professors who champion their own one-page CV; just keep it concise and be ruthless.
■ A couple of stock cover letters. For higher level positions, you will have to tailor your cover letters, but you can also utilise a couple of general ones; for example, you might have one that could satisfyingly cover any retail, hospitality or customer service positions.
■ Paper, stamps and envelopes.
This is an aggressive distribution process that will involve applying for 40 positions in a 4 day period. First, you will need an A3 piece of paper, ruled out into four sections, each representing a day of the week; my own template spanned Monday-Thursday. This frees up Friday to catch up on any day targets you didn’t reach, or to follow up on any very promising contacts you made during the week.
Within each day section, list the numbers 1-10 (how you orientate the page is up to you – just make sure you can follow it). It’s important that you write the name of the company you’re applying to and the position – this makes for a quick reference point should you receive any unexpected calls and removes any chance of a fatal error on on your part by forgetting what position you applied for within a company.
The name of the game is efficiency in distribution. You will be using four main channels; the mailed CV, walk-ins, online applications and online job-posting sites. The biggest mistake you can make here is over-relying on generic jobs boards like jobs.ie; due to the sheer volume of applications, your chances are dramatically reduced from the get-go. Here’s an approximate percentage breakdown guide to using these channels:
Mailed CV- 50%
If possible, ring ahead to get a manager’s name and put it on the envelope (if not, “Hiring Manager” will do for general serving, retail and hospitality positions). This method really is your best friend for our purposes; it’s quick, casts a wide net and makes sure your information reaches its target.
Online (position-specific) applications 25%
They’re looking to fill a position and will list the role responsibilities and desired characteristics; it’s up to you to hone your educational credentials and experience to convince them you’re suitable.
More suited to local positions in retail, bars etc. For customer-facing types of roles, it can’t hurt for the manager to get a glimpse of your presentation and demeanour.
Job sites 10%
Again, don’t be fooled into thinking you’re being productive by spending too much time surfing these websites. You can get lucky, but the statistics aren’t in your favour.
For a week, this is your job. Get up early, get dressed and then begin your shift. It gets more difficult to find places to apply to as the week progresses, but remember that any job is a good job. However, don’t waste your own or anybody else’s time by applying for a position that deep down you know you would not accept. By all means have a broad outlook, but also know what jobs you would or would not accept. While waiting for responses, it can only help to keep going. Keep networking, calling, surfing and emailing for leads. If nothing happens, change something. It could be your CV, your approach or your attitude. It is true that you need a certain amount of luck, but you can increase your chances dramatically by altering your methods, reviewing your strategy and marketing yourself effectively.
This approach may not be a fast track to your desired career path, but the fact remains; it’s a lot easier to get a job if you already have one.
This “Successful spamming” worked for Dean. What do you think? Has anyone else tried this approach (and with what results)? What do careers advisers and graduate recruiters make of Dean’s strategy? Let us know! And if you want to take a more considered approach to speculative applications, read this advice on gradireland.com http://gradireland.com/careers-advice/cvs-and-applications/how-to-write-a-speculative-application