About Luck in Your Job search
Peter was about to take his first step. Pay attention to the words “about to”. So far, he hadn’t even started his job search in Germany. We just finished our first coaching session a few minutes earlier. But Peter was about to get lucky.
I ended the zoom call with Peter, folded my hands, placed them on the table and rested my head on them. I closed my eyes and thought about the new client. What were his strengths? What did he need to learn?
I had just shown Peter how he could find the managers behind a job offer. Peter is a robotics engineer and his dream was to work for a car producer in Germany. On top of his list: Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Berlin-Brandenburg.
That’s why we used a job at Tesla as our example. It was a real job, that Peter was interested in. We searched xing and LinkedIN for the right manager or someone in the same team. We found the right contact and Peter could see: There is no “magic” to my method – just common sense and discipline.
I asked myself: “Did I give Peter everything he needed to get started? Yes, sure.”
Then I paused.
I realized: There was one more thing that I could do. I looked at the door. My family was waiting for me and I was tired after a long day. But the manager that I used as an example in my coaching, actually was a good contact. Why just use him as an example? Why not simply reach out and see if I could introduce him to Peter? After all – that’s what it’s all about.
My inner “Schweinehund” barked. “Just leave it. Get some rest”. I sighed and told him to get lost.
So, I restarted both my slightly outdated computer and my even older brain. I formulated a short, specific message that I could send to the manager together with my contact request. (Never, ever send contact requests without messages. They get ignored and rightfully so.)
The text had to be personal, honest, specific and kind – all in the maximum 300 signs that LinkedIN allows for contact messages.
I wrote the message, sent the contact request to the Tesla manager and shut down my computer. I was a bit proud of myself. I walked the extra mile for my client.
Just as I stood up to join my family, my phone beeped. The manager had accepted my contact request. I knew that “momentum” was extremely important. If someone new connects with you, you have to engage that person in the conversation right away. These people are busy. If you are not there, when they listen: They move on.
I sat back down. My big red rubber “sitting ball” groaned as I made myself comfortable and restarted the computer. I logged into LinkedIN and saw with delight: The manager had already replied.
“Dear Chris, I am surprised to receive a connection from you. Never imagined I would. I follow your work and passion about expats and their integration / jobs in English in Germany. It’s fine to introduce us to each other. Tesla is really looking for engineers now.”
A neutral observer might point out that I looked rather smug, while I read those words. My not so small ego grew considerably. “Always nice to meet a fan…”
I wrote back right away, thanked the manager and asked if I could introduce Peter. “Sure”, he replied. He was an expat himself and knew how hard it can be to break into the German job market. I made the introduction via a group chat, wrote Peter that he had a new friend, gave him advice on his next steps and shut down the computer again.
I felt that I deserved a reward and went scavenging for some cake (hopefully my kids left me some). I just had opened the fridge when my phone beeped. It was Peter. He had followed my advice and asked the manager for a short phone call – to better understand the goals of the position. The manager answered: “Sure, I am free. Give me a call at 3pm.”
“Good deeds get punished right away.” My family was waiting for me. But when luck knocks, you have to answer the door. I fired up my computer and sent Peter a zoom invite. This phone call could change Peter’s whole career. Now he needed to learn a whole bunch of new skills and insights in 30 minutes. Usually, my clients have time to perfect the art of the interview. (It’s you who interviews the employer, not the other way round.)
But Peter’s luck was still holding. The manager was a wonderful guy. (Still is.) He took his time to answer all of Peter’s questions and gave him lots of useful tips. In the days that followed the manager reached out to the HR person responsible for the position and even recommended him in Tesla’s internal recommendation program.
Remember: This all happened before Peter even started to implement my program – right after the very first coaching session.
All because of a moment’s decision to take action, instead of nothing.
PS: My wife tells me that the end of the story is a bit weak – Peter did not end up with as job (yet). He “just” got an interview. I agree with her in regards of telling a story. But this is the real world. In the real world, getting past hundreds of other applicants to your first job interview is a big step.
How do you celebrate your first job interview with your dream employer?