The Most Unconventional Thing I’ve Done To Get An Interview

The weather has been gloomy these days.

I’m happily cozied up in my blanket as I type this week’s newsletter.

Last week, we talked about different way to diversify your job search.

So this week I thought I would share a story about the most unconventional (and probably awkward) thing I did to get an interview.

So grab a cup of coffee or tea, get cozy and enjoy.

Also, feel free to reply back and share your own story about what unconventional methods landed you a job or interview.

Alright, on to the story time!

The Most Unconventional Thing I’ve Done To Get An Interview

Once upon a time, my dream job was working in a school and helping students.

And in this particular instance, I was talking to a friend who was an Academic Advisor and he told me about the role.

I really liked the supportive role he played in helping students succeed.

A lot of the strengths he described were qualities I felt like I had – empathy, compassion, a good listener, etc.

So when a posting came up at another school, I wanted to apply.

Now this is important to keep in mind — this is in a school I had never worked in nor attended.

I also had no prior experience as an academic advisor.

I was not familiar with the programs.

I had never worked in the industry of higher education.

From a recruiter or hiring manager point of view, I would not be the most ideal candidate and I do believe my resume would be put in the “no” pile if I had applied online.

I did, however, have transferable skills and relevant experience including coaching, advising and working with students.

But probably so did other applicants.

I knew my application needed to be good if I wanted to be selected.

So I researched the website like crazy, looking for clues on how I could tailor my resume and cover letter.

I wasn’t coming up with much until I stumbled upon the school’s Academic Advisors page.

Of course, I made sure to look up all the advisors on LinkedIn to get clues on what skills to highlight in my application.

But what intrigued me most was they had open advising appointments (for their students, not job seekers).

My brain had a lightbulb moment! 

What better way to get information about the role than to talk to the person currently in the role?

There was also a strong part of me that wanted to know if I had enough qualifications to do the job.

But then my brain started having other thoughts in regards to clicking on that advising link…

 Would this be too weird?

 What if they turn me away? *insert my fear of rejection*

 What if this disqualifies me completely?

I hummed and hawed about this for a while.

It was paralyzing.

And honestly, exhausting to think about.

I wanted to give up because it felt hard.

But in the end, I decided that I was already probably not going to be selected with just my resume anyways, so why not see this as a way to increase my chances?

I’m glad there was some part of me that still had courage. 

Thank you wise, higher self version of me.

So the next day, I went to the open advising appointment.

The advisor was surprised to see me (not a student) but fortunately was not too busy to have a conversation.

She was actually so lovely!

We chatted about the role and why it was available.

I gained confidence that perhaps this really was a good fit for me!

And after the chat, I asked to be connected with more people to learn about the role.

She connected me with the hiring manager and encouraged me to apply.

I spoke to the hiring manager and they also encouraged me to apply.

So I did. And a week later, I got an interview.

Mission accomplished.

Now, if I’m being real honest, most times there probably won’t be a random link that will get you access to the person you need to talk to…

But I encourage you to get creative and think of ways you can connect with people.

Maybe there’s a conference.

Maybe you find their personal website and it has a link to their email. Write them a nice email to connect.

Maybe it’s your instructor.

Even though I was so nervous and felt super awkward about meeting that advisor, I didn’t regret it.

Now did it feel weird and scary initially? Yes.

But did it get better afterwards? Also yes.

It also reminded me that people do want to help.

And I was lucky that they had time for me (otherwise I probably would have apologized for showing up and shamelessly asked to meet another time).

Now to close the loop — what happened with the interview?

Well, I didn’t move forward with the role after the interview, and I later found out they hired someone with all the relevant skills, qualifications and industry experience they needed.

I was disappointed but I also knew I tried my best.

And I leave you with this – whenever you try, you will learn something. 

If you feel afraid, that means you’re going to grow.

Your Quote of the Week

“Be brave enough to take that first step. 

Have the courage to show up, even if you don’t feel ready. 

Show up imperfectly. 

Make mistakes. 

Do it wrong the first time. 

Give yourself permission to stumble. 

Find lessons in your losses and opportunities in your failures. 

Tiptoe gently when you must. 

Sprint forward when it feels right. 

Do it for you – because every beat of your heart is calling you in this direction. 

Because every cell inside your body is lighting up in excitement. 

Because every part of you knows this is the way. 

Do it wrong until you can do it right. 

Do your best until you learn how to do it better. 

Follow the nudges. 

Trust the journey. 

Release perfection. 

Be brave enough to try.”

~ Zanna Keithley

I hope these words give you comfort and motivation as they did for me. 

Your Reflection Question

How can you be brave this week? 

Think about it, journal, share it with a friend.

If you would like, you are welcome to share your reflection with me and I am also happy to hold space for your thoughts.

I hope you gained something from today’s email.

See you next week with another topic on career/life, an interesting quote and a question for you to reflect on for the week.

Take care,
Amber

PS. If you think any part of this email will help someone you know, please feel free to forward and share it with them. The more, the merrier.