This email exchange is a true story — all but the names. It's an example of what NOT to do when someone refers you to a company that's hiring.
Louie Lancelot, job-seeker:
Hello, Ms. Capello. My name is Louie Lancelot and I just graduated from such-and-such University with a degree in telecommunications. Robert Lapinsky told me you were looking to hire some people and gave me your information. You can reach me by email or phone.
Hope to hear back. Louie Lancelot.
Miraculously, the employer responded:
Why would you be interested in working with us?
Well I'd like to work. In all honesty, I'd like to find a career in play writing, but I don't have confidence in my ability to write plays, and it is not exactly an easy field to break into. Working in your company seems like a nice choice to support me while being able to be creative. As for your company and why I'd rather work there over another is because of the content you specifically deal with. Your product excites me more than other products.
She actually wrote back again? Yes, and she gave some good advice:
I'm sorry, Louie, but it sounds like you're just looking for a job and aren't sure about what you want to do. A lot of people are looking for jobs. I'm looking for someone who wants a future doing what we do. I'm hoping to find someone with initiative and ambition and talent who's hungry and enthusiastic to work with us and demonstrates those traits at every opportunity and in every communication. We're small, and hiring someone is a major investment of time and money, so we're extremely selective.
Instead, do this
1. When friends tell you to contact their associate, have a greater appreciation for what that means. By referring you, your contact puts his or her reputation on the line. Don't make your contact look bad by being so thoughtless. You can bet Ms. Capello and her pal Lapinsky will talk. Good luck getting more referrals from him.
2. Do more than just react. Think: Does this company exist to give you an opportunity? No. The owners have been working their tails off to build this business. They want people who know and understand what they do, share their vision and care to be a part of it. Why would they be interested in hiring you above all others? It's only because you're worth their investment.
3. Now figure out how to explain that starting with your first email so you don't blow the next opportunity.