Here’s the excerpt from my post:
“- Use your school’s alumni network.
- Use Linked In, and Linked In Groups
- Use Direct Mail, mailing not to human resources, but to the engineering manager (you need big numbers to be successful with direct mail).
- Do your best to meet people actively, and talk shop with them, rather than asking them for a job.”
These are all separate activities. My comment about direct mail has nothing to do with Linked In.
Direct mail means direct mailing with a cover letter and resume to the engineering manager at a company. This bypasses human resources and puts your resume in the hands of someone who might hire you. This takes big numbers. Sending 25 won’t do it. You need to find out who the engineering manager or director is, so this takes research and investigation (if they employ 250 engineers, then if you mail to the VP, your letter gets passed to HR). If you can connect to that person via a contact, go that way (and 3rd level Linked In connections are worthless – they don’t know you and can’t vouch for you). If you can’t network your way in, use direct mail.
The engineering manager gets 300 emails a day, so sending him a cold email (if you can get his email address) is a tough way to go. People get less mail now, which is why I recommend direct mail.
I have gotten jobs through direct mail, and also have sold many consulting assignments using it, at least a couple of over $100,000+ consulting assignments using it (and I’m a solo consultant).
Regarding talking shop: networking meetings are a nuisance for most people. They’re one sided – I have to take a half hour out of my day to talk to a networker, work an extra half hour at home because of that, and gain nothing from it. The networker is hoping to get a job or referrals, but offers nothing in return. Good networkers are bringing something with them – something new. News of an acquisition or that there has been a buyer change at a customer. News of a new technique that someone else in the industry has been using. A way to get a new customer (or keep an existing one happy). You’ll gain this knowledge when you start meeting with and talking to people. Bring up what someone told you at an SME meeting, etc.
In a few cases, you may bring up something you learned in school that they haven’t gotten to yet.
Some people like helping new graduates, especially if you’ve just graduated from their college.
Yes, you do ask for help ... gently, but also do your best to bring something to the table.
By the way, another thing that can be helpful is to try connecting with the local engineering organizations (IEEE, SME, SQE, whichever one there is for ChemE’s, etc.), and if you’re willing to relocate, you can contact the chapter chairs who are out of town and ask if they know of someone – they often are very helpful.
Last edited by EarthPig; 10-10-2012 at 08:31 PM.