June 1st, 2015 I walked onto a buzzing sales floor in downtown NYC for the first time. The Statue of Liberty loomed visible in the distance, standing in the sparkling Atlantic, an inspiring reminder I had finally made it to the Big Apple.
Rewind 6 months prior from that satisfactory moment, I was sitting in a creaky, wood-floor apartment on the outskirts of Ohio State University in Columbus, crumpled laundry in the corner, and a perpetually frustrating question on my mind – how do I land a sales job in NYC after graduation?
I never interned in the city before, had a mediocre GPA, sporadic experiences on my resume, and had absolutely zero friends or family living in New York. It was an uphill battle, with a verbal embankment of, “just take a job around here and work your way there eventually – NYC is too expensive anyway, isn’t it?” coming from my professors, friends, and family.
Explaining why I wanted to move to NYC could take a whole other article to write, everyone has their own reasons: earning/growth potential, competitive nature, nightlife, international culinary scene, vibrant art scene, etc. etc. etc. – the bottom line is, I was going to figure out how to make the move (with a job) no matter what.
Ultimately luck was involved, as with most things in life, but to stack the deck in my favor here’s my top 5 tactics which anyone can replicate:
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If you have less than 100 Linkedin connections, that’s a tell-tale sign of under-utilization. In case you need social proofing of LinkedIn’s awesomeness, Microsoft recently acquired them for $26B.
Want to juice LinkedIn for all it’s worth? Start searching for the types of companies you’re interested in. Then connect with hiring managers at those companies. Even if you connect with someone who isn’t clearly a decision maker, maybe they could point you in the right direction. The trick is to write good email outreaches after they accept your connection request. Here’s where you can find your connections’ email addresses:
Boom. Direct hit. Writing them an email is way more effective than messaging them via Linkedin.
Some quick tips for a great sales resume:
- Cut out the BS and limit adjective use. Stick to accomplishments rather than general responsibilities. If you answered the phone at an office, ok, how many calls per day? who did you talk to? and did any resolutions/deals transpire thanks to your efforts? (i.e. 40 calls per day, $2,000 revenue generated, Key Clients, etc.)
- Tweak your address. If you’re listing an out-of-state address, NYC employers could get skittish about the complexities of a re-location. Consider leaving your address off completely or listing a NY address (friend’s, family’s, or perhaps a hotel – I don’t recommend listing a completely fake address because that could raise unwanted ethical questions).
- Use “Textual Hierarchy”. This is a fancy way of saying “bold important things and shrink lesser important things”. When a hiring manager looks at a resume, you can dictate what they focus on by leveraging this trick. Run with it by mixing in italics and grey-tones, but don’t get too funky.
Checking out company websites and reading Wikipedia articles is the ground floor of job hunting research. If you really want to take your understanding to the next level follow:
- Local news: Before I moved to New York I essentially faked it till I made it by following local sports, company social media pages, and reading content published in the city (BusinessInsider.com, The New Yorker or NY Times). That way I could act like a natural in conversations and communicate how serious I was about the move.
- Podcasts: To go hand-in-hand with “Local news” podcasts offer a great way to pick up on what business leaders in the community are talking about. I even took it a step further and listened to Bartender Journey to learn about local favorite watering holes.
3rd Party Recruiters
Company “in-house” recruiters are 100% focused on bringing you into their own respective companies, which is cool, but if you end up not getting the job then you’re back to square one. On the other hand, 3rd Party Recruiters like CloserIQ, work with multiple companies at once and then freely make introductions for candidates in different directions depending on interests and experience levels.
Also, they have established relationships with hiring managers, so if your cold emails aren’t working, often times they can put you at the top of the resume pile.
When you’re job searching, especially in NYC, there’s a dangerous paradox of choice – so many options, to a point that you can’t even decide what you want. If you don’t know your ideal type of company/role then pause right now and sort that out first. For me, it was sales, sales, sales – which really helped narrow the search and focus attention. Then, when I talked to sales hiring managers, my passion for x-type of role at y-type of company helped connect the dots in their brains as to why they should hire me.
Also,“wearing blinders” will help you prevail through the barrage of negativity from naysayers. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t make it!
A bold move to show you’re committed is to buy a plane ticket to the city. Then, when you connect with folks on Linkedin, you can mention concrete timeframes and even ask them out to coffee while you’re in town. In my case, I actually interviewed entirely over Skype, but I relentlessly told people “I’m starting a new job in Manhattan right after graduation”.
Hopefully, these tactics help you in your own search and if you want to learn more about writing effective cold emails, building killer resumes.
Best of luck!