Walk in with more than your resume…

3 08 2009

When I was 20, I had the pleasure of doing an internship program called The University of Dreams. Now a wildly successful worldwide internship program, I’m so thankful for meeting people, like Eric Lochtefeld, who helped make me a better person and who introduced me to my first real job tips.

Eric called upon his friend Charles Caudill, a former VP of Production at CNN and now an independent consultant for Caudill Media Management, to come and talk to our Los Angeles Dreamer group about how to REALLY land a job.

His fantastic advice landed me my job at Google.

His fantastic advice landed me my job at Google.

Charles (paraphrasing here): Be bold. Find out the name of the VP or the CEO of a company and send them a really compelling, personalized email about why you’re amazing, why you respect the company, and offer to take them to lunch so you can learn more about them. You can almost always figure out their email address by doing a combination of firstname.lastname@company.com, or firstinitial.lastname@, or firstnamelastinitial@. Get creative and BCC the email addresses. One of them is bound to go through.

Once you get them out to lunch with you, ask them as many questions as you can.  The secret they don’t tell you is that executives want to talk about themselves, not about you.  You build the connection by showing an interest in their career paths.

So you know what?  I took Charlie’s advice.  I researched his website and when I got back to the Bay Area 4 months later, I sent him an email asking to take him to lunch.  We met at the BJ’s in Cupertino (right on Apple’s campus) and I picked his brain, paid for his lunch, and walked away with the most solid piece of advice I’ve ever received.

Me:  “I don’t get it… I worked so hard…” (shows him my resume of work)

Charles:  “Well, Stefanie, have you ever walked in with more than just your resume?  Everyone in the interview walks in with just their resume and the candidates start to blur together if you’ve been interviewing all day.  So how will you stand out?”

Me:  “hmmm….”

I went home that night and prepared for my interview with Google in a week or so.  I printed 400 pages (mild exaggeration, but it definitely was almost a ream of paper) of research on Google and built a portfolio that had examples of my skills and school work.  I even made a truncated version for my recruiter to keep to remember me.

It worked.  They interviewed many candidates and picked me.

To this day–I am so thankful to Charles Caudill and his willingness to help a lost, dreadfully unemployed college grad.  So I’m paying it forward.

Walk in with more than your resume.  Whether it’s a pair of dice, a rubix cube, or a portfolio, like me, go in there, separate yourself from the others and make then remember why you’re worth it.

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8 responses

3 08 2009
sporadicmusings

Thank you for this blog.

3 08 2009
Kingston

Nice article Stef, that’s some good stuff I’ll have to keep note in my invisible notebook.

My current boss has always been a good mentor to me, and once gave me this advice. You should ask questions that help you understand the issues that the company is facing. Once you dig deep enough, you can begin to formulate how you can help the company, or even suggest some examples of how the company can deal with the issues with or without you. It may sound simple, but I’ve seen so many people coming in for an interview and just answer the provided questions, and then finish the interview thinking, “I answered everything correct”, and then not get the job. It’s the people who are forward thinker that will get the job.

6 08 2009
dmk

An excellent and inspirational article. Thank you for printing that here.

6 08 2009
steflau

wow, Duncan (DMK), you are the epitome of this! Everyone check out Duncan’s website by clicking on his name!

8 08 2009
Jiaru

Thank for sharing your experience! It inspires me.

10 08 2009
nmatthews

Wonderful blog!!

Management consultant in Netherlands!!
Business development -the best business consultant.

28 12 2009
The Top 8 Blogs of 2009 (That Aren’t This One) « Needle, Meet Haystack

[…] Posts: “Walk in with more than your resume…,” “Value in […]

14 06 2010
Congrats Class of 2010! « Awesome & Unemployed

[…] I could do to land the job I needed so badly for myself. I met with a mentor who suggested that I “walk in with more” than my resume. As I thought about this more, I really thought that I could do more than just talk about how I was […]

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