I see way too many cry babies out there. Sure the job market is tough, but you’re not putting in the hard work you need to in order to bounce back and be considered for a job.
Oh, what’s that you say? You’re not qualified for the position?
That’s right, I said it. Job “Requirements” don’t mean squat. They’re just there to weed out the weak and let the strong stand out. This is how I punched requirements in the face and got an interview for a position I was under qualified for. This is how to get an interview.
Requirements for the position
Lets first examine why I was highly under qualified for the position:
- Minimum of 4-5 years experience in product management, brand marketing, digital marketing, and/or new media.
- I’m barely two years out of college and only fit the “new media” portion of this bullet point
- Demonstrated savvy with new technology and ability to communicate new media initiatives to a broad audience and speak technically to developers and third parties
- Yup, I definitely fit this bullet point
- Highly motivated, strategic, independent, ambitious, strong multi-tasker
- Woohoo, I fit this bullet point as well!
- Knowledgeable of digital music sites, tools and content providers
- Hrmmmm… don’t really fit this one. Don’t know a thing about the music business
So two out of four ain’t bad right?…
Wrong! There are a ton of people right now who are desperately looking for jobs. I knew that my competition was going to be stiff, and if I wanted to have a chance at showing my skills off, I needed to clinch that 1st round interview.
Step 1: Thorough research and outreach on LinkedIn
I went to LinkedIn and searched “Walt Disney Music” in the top right search bar. I took the top ten results and Googled their names in order to get their contact info.
If I can’t find someone’s contact info, I’ll take an educated guess. For example, if I want to meet Kelly Preston from Walt Disney Music but can’t find her info, I’ll take a look at the contact that I have for Michael.Thompson@Disney.com, copy the format, and send Kelly.Preston@Disney.com an email hoping that it’s the right address. This has worked numerous times in the past.
Here’s an email I sent to someone from Walt Disney Music:
My name is Jun Loayza and I am very interested in working for the Walt Disney Company. I recently applied to the Senior, Social Media position at Walt Disney Music and noticed that you currently work there.
I would like to schedule a time when we can chat on the phone about your experiences at Walt Disney Music and how I can best prepare myself to work there.
I am very confident that I can bring unique value to your company and add to the amazing company culture.
I am available Friday afternoon, Saturday all day, and Monday all day to chat on the phone. My number is 714-657-9332.
Thank you very much and I look forward to connecting.
All the best,
I sent about 10 emails to people I found through LinkedIn. Here is the one email that I got back:
I am actually new to Walt Disney music myself…I started in October and I am based in the Townville, Neverland office calling on Walmart.
You would probably be better served making contact with someone in our Los Angeles, CA office (I am assuming the position you applied for is the one based in Los Angeles).
I suggest the following: Donald Duck, Lead Human Resources for Walt Disney Music. His number is 1-888-888-8888, and email is Donald.Duck@Disney.com. Donald is a Superman, and he can hook you up with tons of info and insight. Let him know I gave you his contact info.
I wish you the best, Jun. Please stay in touch and keep me posted on your progress.
Perfect! I got a name, a contact, and best of all, I have a referral!!!
Step 2: Strategically leverage the referral you have
Now that I have the exact person to contact with a powerful referral, I need to create a strategic email that will land me the 1st round interview. Here is the email I sent:
My name is Jun Loayza and I was referred by Mickey to speak with you about my interest in working for Walt Disney Music. I feel that my abilities and experience make me the perfect candidate for your Senior, Social Media position at Walt Disney Music.
My experiences make me qualified for this position because I have been able to develop my social media and brand management abilities as the Founder of Future Delivery. I have a passion for new media technologies and learning how to use it to market a company. I know that Walt Disney Music would be the perfect place where I could implement my passions and watch them grow as well. I am particularly interested in Disney because I have a close relationship with Daisy Duck, who is the Director of Recruiting at Disney Media. I had the opportunity to see the company culture and I fell in love with the people and atmosphere of the company.
I can contribute to your firm with my strong creative and analytical skills. As the founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Future Delivery, I have built and marketed several online companies: www.fdcareer.com, www.viralogy.com, and www.futuredelivery.tv. I am proficient in building relationships with people in the blogosphere and have been able to successfully market my own blog, www.junloayza.com, using tools such as Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Facebook. I have analyzed and documented all site analytics to increase traffic and improve retention. More importantly, I have been able to successfully manage advertisements on our sites and maintain relationships with company sponsors.
I believe that I have the qualities that make a successful Social Media Manager: I enjoy working in teams and excel in working with people, I am very detailed oriented and have excelled in promoting companies using online social media tools, and I am an excellent multi-tasker.
I would enjoy speaking to you further about the possibility of a position at Walt Disney Music. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
1st Paragraph: I clearly state that I was referred by Mickey and what position I am apyling for
2nd Paragraph: I explain exactly why I am qualified for the position
3rd Paragraph: I clearly layout how I can contribute to the company
Last Paragraph: I solidify my want to work for Disney and thank Donald for his consideration
Unfortunately, it turns out that Donald was out of the office:
I am currently out of the office on vacation. I will be back in the office on Monday, February 9th.
For any urgent need, please contact my Manager, Minnie, at Minnie@disney.com.
Thank you and have a stellar day!
This step is completely up to you. Some people might consider not doing this step, but I had the balls to do it and as you will see, it lead to a positive outcome. Donald is out of the office and he clearly refers me to speak with Minnie if it is something urgent. Well, “urgent” if very subjective, and I feel the job hunt is very urgent indeed. So I send Minnie this email:
My name is Jun Loayza and I contacted Donald to get in touch with him about a position at Walt Disney Music. He is currently on vacation and left me a message to contact you about this opportunity.
The position I am interested in is the Senior, New Media position at the Walt Disney Music in Los Angeles. It would be great to set up a time to chat on the phone this weekend about your experiences with the company so that I can be better prepared for an interview and so that you can find out more about me.
I am available:
- Saturday: 10am – 5pm
- Sunday: 10am – 5pm
My number is 714-657-9332.
Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to getting in touch with you.
All the best,
Yes, I know, very ballsy. But if you’re going to interview for a company, I believe you have to go ALL out. If you don’t give it your all and leave everything on the court, you may regret it afterwards.
Step 3: Never, ever accept a “No.” How to bounce back with an objection
Looks like my emails got Donald’s attention because he sends me this email when he gets back from his vacation:
Hi Jun. Thank you for your interest in the role. While you definitely have an impressive background, we are really looking for someone with more of a strong product marketing background mixed with new media but who also has some solid experience working within the music space. That being said, I would love to hold on to your resume for other opportunities. Mickey is great so any referral of yours is golden
Never take “No” for an answer.
While I understand most people would accept this email from Donald and move on, I saw this as a “weeder”email. Just like requirements for a job position, these types of emails are meant to weed out the weak and allow the strong to demonstrate their value. Understanding this, I immediately followed up with this email:
Thank you very much for getting back to me.
I completely respect your decision and objective opinion about the required skills for the position. After all, you’re the Lead Human Resources and know exactly what you need for the position. With that said, I would like to request an interview for the position because I strongly feel that my background and skills have prepared me for this exact position.
1. Product Marketing
I have developed and marketed 3 products so far:
In the first 2 weeks of the FD Career launch, we accumulated over 3,000 members. In 5 days after the Drop For Me launch, we have just over 1,000 members on our email list. For FDTV, we have over 12,000 monthly hits on our site.
2. Experience in the music space
I will admit that I have not worked in an actual “music space”; however, I feel that the skills I have developed would help me thrive in the music industry. As you can see from http://LivingtheStartupLife.com and http://FutureDelivery.tv, I thrive in the public eye and am able to communicate clearly in front of the camera or spotlight. I am very familiar with all the Disney bands (who isn’t) but am not a groupie or fanatic so I can compose myself in a very professional manner when meeting any Disney celebrity.
I have worked with and pitched to many high-level executives. I have pitched to Prism Ventures here in Venice Beach, Ellie Elber who is the founder of Add Sense, and at the Web 2.0 Conference held in 2008. I have even pitched to the Media Group team in Los Angeles.
As far as an intimate knowledge of how the music industry works, in terms of deals, agent salaries, and what happens behind the scenes, I feel that I can quickly learn that in less than a week. I am currently working with Shelly Tiger and Newton John to help promote their music.
I am very eager and enthusiastic about the opportunity of working at Walt Disney Music. I feel that if I came in for an interview, I would blow you and your staff away with my energy, ability, and skillset.
Thank you very much Donald and I will respect any decision you make.
All the best,
1st Paragraph: Respect the recruiter’s decision and reaffirm that you understand that he knows best about what the company is looking for. At the same time, I confidently set up my request for an interview.
Main Content: In his email, Donald laid out 2 main objections: my lack of experience with product marketing and my inexperience in the music industry. I therefore construct two carefully designed paragraphs that explain exactly why I would do well in product marketing and in the music industry.
Concluding Paragraph: Yes I know, another gutsy move. I write: “I would blow you and your staff away…” Am I advising you to talk in this exact tone? In a way, I am. But what I really want you to grasp from this is that you can portray your confidence and enthusiasm for a company through your emails. If you demonstrate to the company that you have a passion to work there, they will give you the opportunity.
I swung for the fences with my emails and it paid off:
Thanks for the email, Jun. Why don’t I give you a call next week and we can talk more about the role at that time?
Until then, have an amazing weekend.
Are you doing everything you possibly can to succeed?
When I commit to something, I pull out all the stops to succeed. I give Future Delivery 110% of my energy so that we can build a successful startup company. When I saw this opportunity at Disney, I felt that the income I made at Disney could have been injected into Future Delivery and positioned us better for success.
If you’re looking for a job, are you doing all the research you possibly can on LinkedIn, and more importantly, are you contacting people who currently work at the company to get referrals, get your questions answered, and build an immediate report? When you get rejected from a 1st round interview, are you hanging your head in shame or are you fighting back and not taking no for an answer?
I just proved that it is possible. Requirements don’t mean crap! They’re just there to weed out the weak and let the strong stand out.