I moved from Tennessee to DC with no job prospects. According to my good friend Chad, “ya just have to move if you want a job up here.” So I did. Two months into the job hunt I was getting desperate. I didn’t know the first thing about network building.
Through a friend of a friend I got an internship. Full time, unpaid, but I didn’t care. I was finally on the Hill. I knew I had to start networking, because I had always heard the phrase “it’s who you know, not what you know, that lands you a job.” So, I started clumsily asking to meet with people, until I met a wise chief of staff who set me straight – the “Intern Whisperer.” His method of networking got me 60 interviews in a little under three months. Yes, SIXTY. And the cool part of this story is I still stay in contact with all of them.
Some people say that the reason I was so successful is because DC is so relational. They are right about DC being one of the most relational cities you’ll ever see. In fact, that’s what makes it so small, and what I discussed recently in a previous post. But really, the Intern Whisperer’s method works so well because he knows what works on him, and other executives like him. He told me exactly what he wants to see when someone asks him for an interview:
(Note: I’ve compiled all his advice into a FREE bonus resource at the end of this post so you can try this method for yourself.)
- Make a comprehensive list on Excel of all the people you want to get an interview with.
- Connect with the person you want to meet with in the subject line of your email to them.
- Send your email at the optimal time – for most offices it’s 9:30-11:30am!
- Look good, be prepared, and make them remember you in the actual interview.
- Follow up regularly and ask who you should meet with next.
I followed his advice to the “t.” I reached out first to anyone who worked in a Tennessee office. Every single one gave me an interview. Every. One. At the end of each interview I asked who I should meet with next, and without fail, all of them had someone new I just had to meet. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I had more interviews scheduled than I could keep up with. I even had to schedule some as far as two weeks in advance because I had so many.
I got 60 interviews in less than 3 months because DC is packed to the brim with people who are more than happy to help people like me. The beauty of the Intern Whisperer’s advice is that all those people who have the job you want have been in your shoes. They can sympathize with you. They’re willing to help. Here in DC they call that “paying it forward.” Really, all you have to do is land the interview.
If you need to boost your network – you’re pounding the pavement on the Hill – this networking method is for you. It worked for me!
To all my fellow DCers who have been around the block, how is this guide different from what you went through when you worked on the Hill? I’d love to hear from you. Download it and critique it! Maybe pass it along to your interns. I would love to “pay it forward” myself. Happy networking!