Posted by: Brandon W. Jones | January 16, 2012

Getting Your Foot in the Door

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Today I received an email requesting information on how to get your foot in the door. Every leader out there started by getting their foot in the door. In today’s economic climate, this is a very valid question. Today’s economy is as bad as it has ever been in my lifetime and there are so many people that are fighting to get a job. That being said, there are many opportunities for employment out there for those willing to work hard. I regularly see jobs posted on job boards looking for qualified candidates. One major challenge to getting the job is getting your foot in the door. How can you get your foot in the door when there is so much competition? How can you stand out amongst all the other very qualified people also applying?

Whether you are in college, underemployed, unemployed, or just looking for a new position, there is a lot you can do to stand out. Understanding how difficult it is to stand out in this climate, I have four suggestions to stand out.

1. Work hard where you are. You should always work your very hardest. By working hard, you will stand out in what you are doing. People will be impressed when they see you give it your all. You don’t have to be the very best at what you do if you are willing to work harder than everyone else. When you do your very best, you are putting forth your best foot.

If you are a college student, work your hardest to get good grades and understand the material you are studying. If you are unemployed, work as hard as you can to get a job. Apply everywhere and talk to as many people as you can. Don’t be afraid of rejection. The same goes for the underemployed and those who want a different position. By putting forth your best effort, you will have opportunities come your way.

2. Understand the company for which you want to work. Once you find a company for which you want to work, do all you can to understand the company and its industry. Employers like it when people understand their company. It shows you are interested in the position and willing to do your research beforehand. Also, try to understand the challenges the company faces and what they have to do to overcome them. In addition to learning about the company, learn about their competition. By gaining a background understanding, you will be much more prepared for the opportunities within the company and the industry.

3. Make contact within the company. Once you have done the other two suggestions, you should try to make contact with someone within the company. If you have someone in your network that has a connection with someone in the company, get a referral from them. If they recommend you, it could go a long way. If you don’t know anyone with a connection to the company, don’t be discouraged. There are other ways to get your foot in the door. Probably the toughest way to get your foot in the door would be to do a cold call, but even that works. I received one of my college internships by calling engineering firms listed in the phone book. That internship opened a lot of doors and taught me a lot of lessons that prepared me for where I am now in my career.

Once you make contact with someone in the company, put your best foot forward. Let the person know that you are willing to do what it takes to get the job. Make the person your ally within the company by gaining their trust and respect. This will help build a great rapport.

4. Be prepared when the opportunity comes. Do your homework when you prepare your resume. Do what you can to know what your role will be in the company when you start. If you get the position, have foresight to know where you want to end up. Once you get an interview, think of possible questions they will ask you and prepare your answers. Use the internet as a resource for possible interview questions. For the interview ALWAYS dress up because it shows respect for the interviewers and the position.

What are other suggestions you have for getting your foot in the door? Please share your thoughts and comments.

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