Prove It And Get Hired, Part 1

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Kevin Donlin
  • Updated: July 14, 2008 - 1:11 PM

The two Ps of job hunting: proof and persistence; a true story about how they paid off for one job seeker.

You've heard of the three Rs of education: reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic.

But have you heard of the two Ps of job hunting? They are proof and persistence.

To get hired for your ideal job -- or better yet, to have that job created just for you -- you need to prove you can do the work, and persist past the point where others give up.

Here's how one woman did just that. What can you learn from her story?

"I was dashing from the office, on my way out of town. While waiting for the elevator, a young woman appeared and complimented me on my wardrobe. She continued chatting and asked me what I did for a living. When I said, 'PR,' she jumped on the elevator and rode with me to the garage where my car was parked," says Katherine Roepke, President of Minneapolis-based Roepke Public Relations.

"Talk about an elevator pitch! Meghan had one. She managed to get the most important points across: she had recently graduated with a degree in journalism; she had a job but was looking for a way to get her foot in the door with a PR firm; and she would do anything for experience, including an unpaid internship."

"In the end I gave her a business card and told her to contact my assistant. I decided that she was either really good or crazy, and that I'd let my assistant decide. She turned out to be better than good. We interviewed her and hired her."

That woman was Meghan Bonneville, now an Account Executive at Roepke's firm.

But success didn't happen on the spot for Meghan. She had to persist doggedly just to land a job interview.

"I contacted Katherine's office by email and phone once a week after our first meeting. I left messages with her two assistants, made sure they had my name and number, and requested to meet with her, restating my background and qualifications each time. After four weeks, she set up a meeting," says Bonneville.

That interview went well, according to Bonneville, although there were no jobs open at the firm. Did that stop her? Of course not.

"The day after, I sent them four writing samples to give a full picture of my skills. A couple weeks later, I was offered a part-time position, which I took. One week later, I was made full-time because they loved the work I was producing," says Bonneville.

Now, let's look at how Meghan Bonneville used the two Ps to get hired for a job that didn't even exist beforehand ...

Proof: In public relations, you must create instant rapport with busy decision makers and "sell" them on new ideas. This is exactly what Meghan did in the elevator with her future boss.

"I think my 'pitch' was good because I was just returning from a job interview with another firm when I met Katherine by the elevator. I was already pumped up about finding a new job, so I saw the opportunity and I seized it," says Meghan.

While you may not have a job interview every day, you can have your qualifications and your ideal job clearly in mind every day, which can turn chance encounters into job interviews. Just like Meghan did.

Let me rephrase that.

Will you to meet your next boss in front of an elevator? Not likely. But, will you fail to impress a potential employer at a dinner party, or in church, or while volunteering at a charity, because you weren't prepared with an "elevator pitch"? That is very likely … unless you're prepared.

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