The best way to introduce yourself to a company with which you would like to work, find a company for which you think you’d like to work or to target companies for the purpose of networking into a position, openings notwithstanding, is to know the “What, where and how you can help the company”. I can give you a better-than-even chance of getting in the door to introduce yourself and possibly creating a job which is right for you. It’ll take some time and careful preparation but it’ll pay dividends. Here are 6 steps to follow:
Step 1 – Begin by listing all your functional strengths. Some examples are marketing, financial operations, research and development, information technology, engineering, strategic planning, etc. Some people have one while others may a few or even several. List as many as you can across the top of a page; and the more the better.
Step 2 – Next, determine what the strengths in step 1 qualify you to do, everything. Write these “qualifications” under each functional strength listed. Do this for ANY organization, not just those you might want to consider today. Of course not every organization needs help in every area but you still need to know what you have in your armory. To do this you need to think in terms of the employers’ needs and not just in terms of your strengths.
Step 3 – Think like an employer; think in terms of problem-solving. For example, under “Marketing” you may list; Identifying new markets for new products Finding new usage for existing products; Improving corporate-client communications; Stimulating internal communications; Evaluating expansion opportunities; Stimulating sales; writing brochures; coordinating events, etc. Some or all of these may be what your functional strength at the top of the page enables you to do for any employer. Think in terms of problems and opportunities and you’re thinking like an employer.
Step 4 – Carefully consider your experience and your interests, and give equal consideration to both. There may be experiences you have where you performed well but didn’t enjoy yourself. No sense focusing where job satisfaction will be lacking. Your experience may be in the Pet Supply Industry but your interests in “Marketing” may lie more in strategic planning and logistics and tied less to a specific product category. Perhaps you may enjoy more service-oriented environments, organizing people and moving them forward smoothly and well and this may suggest other organizations; or maybe your perspective turns to the client-side suggesting a very different set of companies.
Step 5 – Identify your target companies. Once your have completed the first 4 steps in this exercise, you are ready to identify the sorts of companies that would be most appropriate for you, and at which time you can begin to find the names of the companies and decision-makers you know are most likely to need you. This part can be easily accomplished with minimal Internet savvy. Once you have identified companies and decision-makers likely to need you, you are ready to prepare your approach. (If you already had a company or companies in mind, the exercise of completing steps 1-4 is still invaluable in developing your personal introduction as a “solutions provider” so take the time to start at the beginning).
Step 6 – Design your Direct Contact Letter. As you may already know from job search experience, your initial approach should be a letter targeted to a decision-maker and written as though it is written only with that person in mind. This is known as the Direct Contact Letter; one of the more frequently used letters in the job search and one that is most likely to “sell” you as a stand-out among any competition.
With this you are ready to launch. Again, it will take some time and careful preparation but it will pay dividends. I am hopeful you can succeed!