54: A blueprint for getting a job at a company you love

The great resignation phenomena has taken over mainstream media, but what does it really mean? Is it simply a buzzword for saying, more people than ever are sticking to remote work and not going back to the office? Or does it actually mean that more people are taking the leap and leaving bad workplaces, and toxic jobs? 

Let’s call it the great realization or the great awakening. 

COVID and the pandemic didn’t just open up the eyes of CEOs and managers to remote work, more importantly, it awakened a class of workers who’ve been sucking it up in a bad job thinking  it was normal and that things aren’t better anywhere else. But these people are awake now. And better jobs and companies do exist. 

Here’s todays main takeaway: Hustle culture is dying. You deserve better pay, more flexible hours, less meetings, better benefits and better leadership.

Last season in episode 048, we told you when to quit your job. In today’s episode, we’ll walk you through a simple playbook for finding a good job, with a company you love.

JT are you ready?

The importance of networking in finding a job and how this doesn’t mean what it used to.

  • Most leaders are looking for known quantities, and want a reference from within their circle
  • Do good work at your current company, be someone others want to work with, complete your tasks on time – people will recommend you
  • Networking isn’t becoming an influencer; it’s getting to know the community
  • Provide value, and you will get value in return

I’m part of several marketing communities, one I’ve heard great things about and just recently joined is ALL IN, a free Slack community for in-house marketers created by Brendan Hufford, the guy behind SEO for the rest of us.

Join the community

One of the coolest channels is the #career channel where you can post questions about specific challenges. Recently a fellow member posted about having a hard time finding a new role. He mentioned applying to a bunch of places but not hearing back from any of them.

I helped some of my former students in this exact situation and I’ve boiled it down to a simple blueprint for this episode. 

LOL – I’m incredibly anti-social. I’m not part of any community — I stay in touch with past colleagues;

I will reach out to folks in community to do mind-shares — that has resulted in most of my consulting opportunities.

Alright I’ll share the blueprint in it’s simple form and then I’ll go in depth on each step… you’ll see it’s pretty simple but it’s been super powerful for me in my career.

  1. Keep a nice list of companies you’d love to work for
  2. Find the hiring managers on LinkedIn and follow them (not the same as req connection)
  3. Add links to each HM’s activity feed in your list and check it out twice a week or more often
  4. Like their posts, reply to them when you think you can add value
  5. Keep an eye on job postings they share
  6. Before you apply, reach out to the hiring manager and ask if they can answer questions async
  7. Send them thoughtful questions about how to stand out and what makes a great candidate
  8. Crush the application process

I like the advice on having a companies you’d love to work for. I imagine this requires a bit of soul searching on what you want out of your own career. How did you figure that out? And what does that list of companies look like for you? 

Yeah I’m not super active on social in terms of spitting stuff out, but I’m what you could call a doom scroller… I read too much. So I’m fairly in tune with new companies or companies that are standing out. When I discover one of these companies, I add them to my list.

Before getting a gig at WordPress.com, some of the companies I was actively keeping an eye on we’re

  • Zapier
  • Notion
  • Buffer
  • Ahrefs
  • Appcues
  • Convertkit
  • Customerio
  • Iterable
  • 1password
  • Vidyard
  • Braze
  • Grammerly
  • … 

How do you come up with the list?

It’s a mix between the folks they attract, their products, their size and also that they’re fully remote. Everyone’s list should be a bit different whether you prefer big companies or small or fintech vs martech. 

Alright, so you gotta list of dream companies, whats next?

Step 2 is finding their linkedin pages and figuring out who are the hiring managers on that team. So if you’re a marketer, look for the VPs and the director of marketing or growth or whatever you’re into.

The key thing here is don’t just flat out cold ask for a connection request. Some of these folks are super friendly and they’ll accept. But you don’t have a relationship yet so you’re better offer clicking on the “follow button”.

Once you’re on their profile, scroll down to the activities section and click on See all activity, then hit Posts. That’s a direct feed to everything they post on LinkedIn. Grab that URL and add it to your spreadsheet next to the company name and the hiring manager’s name.

As an extra step, you can search twitter to see if they are active on there too.

Up to you how often you want to do this but you can skip this stpe if you’re on LinkedIn everyday, chances are you’ll catch their posts anyway but in the spirit of digital minimalism, carve out 10 or 20 minutes in your day, once or twice a week and check out their posts.

They key thing here is engaging with their posts, start with a few likes and eventually if you have value to add, add some comments to their posts.

In time, the hiring managers will get familiar with your name, they might even check you out.

What you want to look for here is job postings obviously. All linkedIn hiring managers will share their jobs on LI… it’s the most common type of post. Many of them even bump their friends’ hiring posts as well. 

When you see something you want to apply to, reach out to the hiring manager before you do. 

Don’t ask them for a coffee or a quick intro, be direct and offer to let them answer async. Have some thoughtful clarification questions about the role and show your passion for their work/company.

You want to standout ahead of applying here with some thoughtful questions and feel free to even ask for tips on the hiring process.

And then let the magic happen, crush those interviews.

If you keep doing this even after you have a job you love, you’re essentially building relationships with your peers. You can offer to chat with them and ask for advice on a problem you’re dealing with.

Eventually you won’t need to apply to jobs anymore and all these connections you’ve made will naturally evolve into new opportunities.


Intro music by Wowa via Unminus
Cover art created with love in Canva

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