We just went over building your profile, tapping into your network, reaching out to your contacts, and preparing for the call. Now you have them on the phone, and it’s finally gametime.

Be attentive. Act intrigued. Wow, that’s incredible. Act like you’re taking notes. hmmms are winners.

The trick here is to ingratiate yourself a little. After they answer a question or two, follow up with an affirmation and then something about yourself that works to align their experience with yours.

Wow, it sounds like you really involved yourself in college while you were here. I have been really lucky to do the same. I am president of my sorority, on the university’s investment fund, plus I write for the school newspaper. It’s been a great experience and have definitely learned a lot.

This gets the dialogue going both ways and opens the conversation. You want them to know about you just as much as you want to know about them.

The red zone

For those of you who watch football, the red zone is when the team is within very close reach of scoring. At this point, you should be in the red zone.

Hopefully the conversation is going great, because you are engaged, attentive, coming off intelligent, witty and funny. You have been demonstrating through experience how your skills are extremely fitting for an entry level position at the company they work for. They definitely looked at your profile and seen your stuff.

Now it’s time to start asking questions that are going to end up with you asking them flat out what you are looking for.

Allow yourself at least 15 minutes for this process because this is where your negotiating comes in and you don’t want to rush this. It has to be perfect.

Start to transition to questions about the company and their role professionally.

  • What is your management style?
  • Where do you see the company in the next 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?
  • What are some skills that make a great employee under you?

And then finally, as you begin to feel it:

Well it really sounds like an incredible company and from the looks of it I would fit in great. I am wondering if there are any opportunities for me there?  Or if there is anybody I can talk to about that. I’d love to send you my resume and portfolio and maybe we can set something up.

Holy crap. That did just happen. You did it. The hard part is done. You have just worked your ass off and made enough of an impression that you feel comfortable enough to ask for an interview. Because that’s ultimately what you want, an interview. Another opportunity to show up, in person, and wow them, to put a face to the voice, and really convince them you’re the right person for the job.

If everything has gone to plan, the person on the other end of the line will mull over the past 2 weeks of your relationship and present some options for you to move forward.

Option 1: Yes. I’m sure we are looking for some people to hire in the next few months. Send over your resume and we will be in touch.

Option 2: I don’t know if we are at the moment, but let me put you in touch with a colleague of mine who is looking for some help.

Option 3: We are not at the moment, but I will definitely keep you on file in case something comes up and we need help. Send over your resume and we will be in touch.

Either option is awesome and you should be incredibly proud of yourself. What you’re ultimately doing is building your professional network and establishing a relationship that represents to that professional, “Hey, I exist, I can help you, we have something in common, I’m an option.” Even if that person does not directly hire you, they have a professional network that they might be able to tap into to help you. I say it might take another degree or two of networking that will do the trick. And as you know, recommendations are a very valuable thing to have. People like you more if they have their friend vouch for you. And also, if you receive option 3, don’t let that course run dry. If you don’t hear from them in a month or two. Reach out to them again and make them remember you. They might have an opening or a friend that has an opening to which you have just made yourself readily available and eager for that opportunity.

That was a long process, I know. But I wouldn’t be writing this if it didn’t work. You have to remember that life after college is a marathon, not a sprint. Nothing is going to get done overnight. If you learn to have patience, be persistent, and see things through, you are going to do great in any setting you land in.

And lastly, The harder you work, the luckier you get. Work fu*king hard.

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