Life Lesson #3: If you don’t ask the question, the answer is “no”

When I graduated, I really wanted to work at an investment brokerage firm so I could learn how “investment professionals” were investing money for high net worth individuals.  I was applying online through multiple job boards with no success.  I applied to 50+ openings.  I was probably competing with over 1,000 candidates that were equally as interested as I was.  I was a new graduate and likely had less relevant work experience than the other candidates.

I would try to compensate for this by spending extra time customizing my resume and cover letter to match the job postings.  I was doing everything I could and it was likely not being read by a real person as most job applications nowadays are being screened by a programmable screening tool that picks out qualified applicants based on certain “key words”.

Worse of all, a lot of the positions being posted could have been for positions that were already about to be filled by internal candidates and I would have no way of knowing.

I was competing in a process that wouldn’t allow me to get recognized and show employers how I can help their operations.

I realized I would have a better opportunity if I started contacting the branch managers directly instead of applying externally through the corporate job board to find out about job openings.  I did some research and found out the branch managers were the ones that made all the final hiring decisions and corporate HR was there to help them facilitate the hiring process.

I began reaching out to branch managers directly by e-mail to find out if they were looking to hire.  I included a brief introduction and my value proposition.  I was asking the question and finally knew which branch managers/locations had an immediate need to hire.

Reaching out to the branch managers directly allowed me to hear about vacancies before they occurred and before they got posted on the corporate job board.  I was now able to direct all my focus and attention to these branch managers which yielded results.

I sent 10 e-mails, heard back from 5 branch managers, and got two job offers at the end of it all.

I saved so much time and effort by just asking the question.

What I learned from this experience?

If you really want something in life, you should ask the question.  If you don’t, the answer is “no” and you’ll never know the real answer.

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