Imagine your dream job is the party of the year. You know you want in, you’ve researched the guest list, you have the perfect outfit, but you can’t seem to get your name on the list. Recent graduates face this problem all the time.
We update our LinkedIn profiles, proofread our resumes, and practice mock up interviews without yet having one lined up. We’re itching for some face-to-face, but how does someone get that interaction?
Nowadays most of the preparation is not enough to get your name on the list to the party of the year. So if you can’t get into this party through the main entrance because your name isn’t on the list. What do you do?
You try the back entrance! It’s blocked off to the VIPs. Now what?
Andrew Hudson from Andrew Hudson’s Job List says “there's always, always ALWAYS a third door.” While everyone else is trying traditional methods, applying through an online portal or online third-party platform, you need to be trying the third door.
“It's the door where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, jump over the dumpster, sweet talk somebody—there's always a way in. That's how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software out of his dorm room. That's how Steven Spielberg snuck onto the Universal lot and got his contract. That's how Maya Angelou published her first book. They all took the third door.
Finding that 'third door' as a job seeker means exploding out of your comfort zone, overcoming your fears of rejection, your shyness or feelings of inadequacy. It means taking the initiative and developing a strategy to find that 'third door.' It means researching companies, people, and industries. It means cold-calling, networking, reaching out and figuring out creatively how you can get your resume in front of the right person. It means walking up to somebody you want to meet, introducing yourself and letting them know you want to work for them or their company.”
One thing not often explored enough are informational interviews. Great leaders recognize the power of sharing knowledge. It’s odd to think that busy professionals would take the time to meet with a stranger to “chat”, but often executives want to share their insights and inspire others. Informational interviews might seem daunting, but Matt Avery broke it down in his article on conducting information interviews.
Get out of your comfort zone, extend a coffee invitation to a person you look up to, or go to one of those alumni networking events you keep avoiding, but try something different. If you stand at the main entrance with 99% of the other people trying to get into that party, you’ll have wasted your nicest suit for a boring night.
Instead, go after the 3rd door that’s hidden behind hard work and rejection to land your dream job.