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Ask the Bitches: What the Hell Else Can I Do to Get a Job?

We get a lot of different questions from the loyal citizens of Bitch Nation. But certain ones keep popping up over and over again like some sick game of economic whack-a-mole. It’s clear our darling followers are desperate for advice on getting a job, for example.

Take this question darling follower @evharley asked on our Tumblr:

Hey bitches, I am a recent graduate and have had internships my last year of college BUT I am still not getting any interviews. I use the right sites, follow yours and Ask A Manager‘s cover letter and resume tips but cannot land an interview. I look for jobs 4 hours 3 days a week and it doesn’t feel like enough but I feel so defeated. Is there something more that I could be doing?

What a miserable, frustrating situation.

Searching for a job can easily feel hopeless, especially when you’re not getting any return on your considerable efforts. She’s working hard to get that elusive job and getting nowhere! She’s trying everything she can think of to get hired to no avail! SHE HAS DONE HER TIME.

So what else is there to do?

The hunted becomes the huntress, the hunter becomes the prey!

If searching through job listings and applying to posted jobs just isn’t working, it’s time to change the game.

Instead of looking for jobs, look for employers. Look for places where you want to work whether or not they currently have a job opening.

Do not wait for a job to open up! Let them know they’ve got a candidate ready and waiting to fill their needs.

Write them personalized letters that go something like this:

“I know you don’t have any open positions right now, but when you do I hope you will keep me in mind. Here’s why I’m awesome. Here’s why I think you’re awesome. And here’s why I think we’d be awesome together. Attached is my resume.”

Obviously, you’ll want to spice it up with some of that sexy formal business letter language and fill it out with details that prove a) you’ve researched the company, and b) you really would be a good fit. Send it via email or snail mail or both, doesn’t matter.

Send it to the HR manager or whoever’s responsible for hiring. If you can’t find that information, send it to the head of the department you want to work for or the head of the company. And if you can’t find any contact information, use that “Contact us” button on their website. There is always a way to get in touch.

Some companies will add your letter to the circular file—that’s Baby Boomer speak for the trash can (look how culturally fluent I am!)—and some just won’t respond. But some might actually write back to say they’ll keep your information on hand for when something opens up.

This last scenario is the goal. You want to put your name and credentials in front of them before a job is posted so that when they do need to fill a job… you’ll be the first one they call.

It worked for me

If you’re skeptical about the efficacy of this tactic… I don’t blame you. What kind of asshole applies to a job that doesn’t exist, amirite?

But consider: this is literally how I got my first job.

When I was a fresh-faced young college graduate, I knew I wanted to have a career in publishing. So I identified several publishing houses I wanted to work for and wrote to them all. Some responded. Most didn’t.

Meanwhile, I worked at Borders (may She rest in peace) and nannied for a wealthy family while trying to keep up with my student loan payments.

Four months later, my future boss emailed me to say, “Still looking for a job?” He really had saved my letter. And now all that effort was paying off.

I did the dance of joy…

… and I waited an hour to write back so I wouldn’t look too desperate. I had a job interview scheduled by the end of the week, and by the end of that day I had a job offer.

They never even posted the job. I was the only candidate. If I had waited for a job listing before applying, I never would have known they were hiring. And I would’ve missed my chance to get employed with a company I really liked.

Fish with a net, not a hook

My husband loves fly fishing. He stands in a river all day swinging a stick around in between painstakingly tying tiny knots around fake bugs. And when he actually catches a fish, he throws that motherfucker back for reasons entirely unclear to me. Says it’s “cheaper than therapy.”

Fuck that.

I do not have the patience for fly fishing. If I wanted to catch a fish, I’d get me a big net and throw it into the water. Sure, I’d catch a bunch of lost flip-flops, used condoms, and empty beer cans, but I’d also have some goddamn trout in there in no time flat! And you know I’d eat those soggy little fuckers.

Let me be very clear: the advice above is not the only way to get a job. Nor is it the only thing you should be doing during your job search. When you’re fishing for jobs, fish with a net, not a single hook. It’s faster, more efficient, and you’re way more likely to get results. Even if it doesn’t come with as many style points.

This gif included because it was the first result in a Google search for “gay ass fishing gif.”

You should still respond to job listings and send in applications like it’s… well, like it’s your job. You should still go to networking events and conferences and job fairs. Keep refining your resume and cover letter and practicing your answers to interview questions.

Any port in a storm, baby. And on that note, here’s some more of our advice on how to get a job:

Why does this work?

Months into my first job, my boss told me his side of the story.

He was impressed with my “initiative.” Which, believe it or not, is more than just a corporate buzz word! Writing to him before a job opened up proved that I was the kind of proactive person who thought strategically and got shit done. Not only that, but it showed him that I didn’t want just any job. I wanted that job. I didn’t want to work for just any publisher. I wanted to work for that publisher.

You gain so much by throwing your hat in the ring early, before the other contenders even know there’s a match to be won.

And employers hate looking for employees almost as much as the jobless hate looking for jobs. Take it from loyal citizen of Bitch Nation @, who told us via Tumblr:

Speaking as the person in charge of recruiting, I will absolutely hang onto these [letters] and hand them over to the managers who are seeking employees at the first mention they might want a new person. And just so you know, we’re but a small company and we’re always looking for certain people on the DL. We advertise for positions we have to fill, but we also are looking for the *right* people for a few jobs we could fill but don’t necessarily have to.

Straight from the horse’s mouth! That’s all the encouragement you should need not to wait for a job to be posted before reaching out to someone you want to work with.

It’s hard out there for a pimp. Which means you need to stop playing by the rules. Go on the hunt. Find what you want and ask for it before it’s even available.

Good hunting.

Or fishing.

Whatever.

9 thoughts to “Ask the Bitches: What the Hell Else Can I Do to Get a Job?”

  1. I’ve used this method and I can say that it definitely works. I didn’t do it as well though. I just sent emails to random people.

  2. I’m also having trouble finding internships, but a friend recommended calling them – could that work?

    Since I don’t actually need the internship to be paid, he recommended calling and saying ‘Hey, I have these skills and I’m willing to work for free. Why not hire me?’ I’m thinking it could also work with a job…

    1. I’ve never tried calling, but it could be the same principle as writing a letter or email! The other thing you can do with internships to get your foot in the door is ask for an informational interview or to job shadow for a day. They’ll get to know you and keep you in mind for later if an internship should open up.

  3. How do you recommend approaching this if you’re feeling directionless? I have an ok job with mediocre pay and zero ability to promote or even laterally move in the company. I don’t have a degree (yet!) but I want a job with at least the potential of mobility. Right now I am basically a glorified secretary in the insurance/investment industry and the only way to gain mobility in this job is to get licensed to sell said investments/insurance. That’s something I really don’t want to do. I just don’t know what I DO want to do… Any ideas bitches?

    1. Oof. That’s a tough one! I think this method can definitely still work for switching career paths. But you’re right: you need to figure out what you personally want to do first.

      I recommend researching other completely different job areas. Glassdoor.com can give you an idea of the compensation you can expect, as well as what certain jobs are like. Do some research, and if anything piques your interest, ask for an informational interview with a company in that industry. Certainly can’t hurt, and it might help you make up your mind.

  4. I had similar luck looking for jobs a few years ago. I was desperate to get literally any work in my field. After some searching, I realized I could improve my marketability by getting a few free certifications (I’m in marketing). I got a few Google Certs and, I kid you not, I started getting phone interviews like crazy.

    It might not work for all industries, but sometimes certs can help you get your foot in the door by edging out the competition.

  5. If you don’t know which companies, titles, positions, or responsibilities are right for you:

    Make a list of potential companies/job titles/etc.

    Get thee to Linkedin and begin searching for people who USED to work at that company (or used to hold a particular job title). People are much more likely to be honest and forthright about positions they NO LONGER HOLD.

    Then, send them a message on Linkedin. Keep it short. Ask them one or two concise, targeted questions about their former company or position.

    This strategy works very, very well.

  6. Awesome post!
    I want to add my two cents in support! I interviewed for a job once but never heard back from them after that. I did all the right things (emailed them, etc.) Nothing. But in a strange twist, they DID call me back a few months later and offered me the job…contingent on the contract being renewed (which was supposed to take a couple of weeks). Nothing. Three months later they informed me the contract didn’t get renewed. I was so bummed, I couldn’t even bring myself to thank the recruiter. A few months to a year later, I was still looking (desperately) and in a final hail Mary move, I contacted the recruiter again. She was so pleased to hear from me. Within a week I was interviewing and within two weeks I had another offer, this time without any contingencies. It was a roller coaster of emotions and sometimes I just think about the luck and fate involved in that but I’m so glad I reached out. I definitely think persistence and good relations are key. If your interview went well and you never did hear back, try contacting the point of contact again and seeing if they have that spot available (or something else). The other thing I did that got me a lot of interest was to signup for LinkedIn’s free trial for Premium and spruce up my resume. I’d go on all the jobs relevant to me and check out their skill requirements. Then I included everything on mine that I knew I’d done or was familiar with. For anything, I hadn’t done but I had a vague idea of it, I looked it up and got comfortable with it. In the interview for my current job, I got asked about it. I admitted I hadn’t done it myself per se but that I was comfortable being able to learn it because I had a background for it. I used the info I’d gotten from my search history to convince them that I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with it (which for the skill I’m referring to, I honestly was well versed enough to learn it quickly). I don’t know if I recommend it in every situation, but if you can show confidence and breadth of knowledge in that subject/skill/program, etc. then it’s worth a shot. Anywho, the LinkedIn premium thing got me a LOT of interest from recruiters and for jobs that were both in my range and higher. I got contacted twice by recruiters for the job I’m in now (which hired me directly into the company anyway). Canceled my free trial, got my job, and now I’m hoping this helps other people feeling like their running out of options.

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