If you’ve read my about page or my How to Live Your Dream Life post, you know that I work an 8-5 job as a dispatcher.
Specifically, I’m a dispatcher for a third-party logistics company.
You might also know that my Bachelor’s degree is in Communication Studies (minor in psychology).
How do my job and degree relate?
I communicate a lot via phone and email.
Honestly, my degree and job couldn’t be MORE unrelated.
But my degree is the reason I have this job.
NOT because a 4-year degree was required for the position (though it was “preferred”).
NOT because the communication tactics/grammar skills I honed in school would be practiced in the position (they aren’t *sob*).
NOT because the various group projects I was forced to engage in (because GVSU thinks group projects teach “real-life teamwork”) taught me real-life teamwork. (THEY DIDN’T, GVSU. GROUP PROJECTS TEACH ONE PERSON HOW TO DO THE WORK OF FOUR PEOPLE AND FOUR PEOPLE HOW TO RIDE THE COATTAILS OF ONE PERSON. This is my only complaint about you, GVSU, you glorious, muggle-filled Hogwarts.) Anyway, ” teamwork skills” are irrelevant because my dispatching job is a solo venture. I work mostly alone all day. Love it!
My degree got me this job because, in college, I learned persuasion tools that I exercised mercilessly on my future bosses.
I’m going to teach you these tools. Because they are amazingly effective.
They won me a job I was ridiculously unqualified for.
How unqualified, you ask?
This unqualified: Among the terms listed in the job description, I had to google and study industry-related vocabulary words so I knew what the heck I was even applying for. Words like drayman, intermodal, reefer truck, and dispatcher.
If I knew diddly squat about the position, why was I even applying for it?
Because of the money!
And because my brother already worked for the company. He told me about the opening and how great the benefits were. Win-win!
Now, I am sure that my brother’s preexisting employment influenced my hiring.
Since I managed to earn him a raise during my interview, I’m taking credit for getting the job.
How did I do such crazy things?
I’ll tell you!
Follow these steps and I guarantee you that you’ll be hired for a position you’re totally unqualified for. Unless you’re applying for a doctor’s position and you’re not a doctor. Work with me, here.
Step 1: Research the heck out of the company you want to work for.
If you don’t know what the position entails (well, even if you do), put your research goggles on and get to work. Find out what duties are expected of someone in your desired position. Necessary skills, required/preferred experience, etc. Google is your best friend.
So are other job postings similar to the one you’re applying for. What are other people looking for in a person applying for your desired position? Soak all up those details like a jobless sponge!
Cyber-stalk the company, too. Learned about its history, key start-up players, and its breadth (how many offices it has throughout the country).
I memorized my company’s core values. It sounds nerdy because it was.
I WANTED that salary, and I was ready to recite the company’s morals to get it.
Keep track of your research. I wrote down everything and placed it in a very sharp-looking folder. I brought that folder with me on interview day and studied my facts in the office’s waiting area before I was called in.
Beforehand, I used those company/job facts to tailor my resume.
YOU MUST TAILOR YOUR RESUME TO THE JOB YOU’RE APPLYING FOR.
Step 2: Prepare an AWESOME resume and reference list.
Resume-creating scares everyone. Just take your time and use Google’s billions of resume resources to craft your own.
Here’s a resume and cover letter guide I STILL HAVE from my GVSU writing consultant days. I used that guide to write my own.
It took me days to perfect the wording on my resume. I tailored every sentence to the position I was applying for.
Here’s a snapshot of my “related skills” list at the bottom of page 2 of my resume:
Each skill in my list was fine-tuned to play musically in the ears of my future bosses.
I created my resume FOR THEM. Do the same for your future bosses!
What about a cover letter?
I applied for the job through Monster.com, and the application said the cover letter was optional. If you’re unsure about including one, INCLUDE ONE. Better safe than sorry. I chose to omit it. I had just spent days polishing my resume and there was NO WAY I was going to spend another week on the cover letter. Omitting it was a risk, but the position was very technical, and I assumed my bosses would prefer the short-and-sweet format of my resume-only submission.
What about an awesome reference list?
A reference list is an essential component to a resume, but I mention it separately because you must care for it separately. Your three references (the standard number, but some positions ask for more) must be kickass. These people must love you. All three of mine would paint the sky for me.
Make it pretty, too. I designed my reference list in three columns so I could list the references’ names/titles in the first, my relationship to them in the second, and their contact information in the third. It looked SO SHARP. You should briefly explain how you know your references, too. It just screams thoroughness. Top notch!
If you’re submitting your application in person, bring TONS of copies with you.
Bring TONS of copies with you to your interview, too. Like, ten copies. Because what if a tenth person wants a copy and you only have nine?
Step 3: Turn your “problems” into “opportunities.”
Compare yourself to the job position. What are you lacking?
For me, it was experience.
The job posting listed “3+ years’ experience preferred.” Did I sulk and turn away? NO! I turned that foreseeable problem for my BOSSES into an opportunity for my BOSSES.
I interviewed with three of them. Two bosses (separately) for the initial interview, and then a third interview with the Head Honcho a week later. In my first two interviews, my no-experience “problem” came up.
“I see you don’t have any experience,” said Boss 1.
“The only problem would be your lack of experience,” said Boss 2.
I responded to both like this:
“I look at it as an opportunity. I haven’t been trained to do any of these tasks anywhere else. Which means I haven’t been trained incorrectly. You will have a clean slate with me. You can teach me EXACTLY how you want things done, and I literally won’t know any other way to do them.”
They both chuckled when I said it. Boss 1 even stroked his chin, leaned back in his chair, and said, “That’s good. I’ll give you that, that’s a good answer.”
You’re damn right it is!
Now, get crafty with your own “problems” and spin them into “opportunities” or “assets.”
All’s fair in job interviews!
Step 4: Dress to impress and show up early.
I wore my nicest pants and sharpest blouse. Do Millennials even own “blouses”? It was a nice, flowy shirt.
I showed up in that parking lot fifteen minutes early. I strode in thirteen minutes prior to my interviews.
When I walked in, I smiled confidently. I stood with my shoulders back and tried to exude breath of fresh air. My professional-looking note/resume-filled folder sat in the crook of my arm.
I looked prompt and awesome.
Do the same!
Step 5: Firmly shake interviewers’ hands and look them in the eye.
Now, I’ve got something to say that some of you (women) (well, maybe men, too) won’t like.
There’s a woman trick I learned in my Nonverbal Communication course that I’ve used a few times in my life.
The trick comes from this truth: some men prefer women who DON’T maintain strong eye contact. Strong eye contact can be intimidating and off-putting to some
Woman trick = when you’re trying to impress/persuade a
caveman, avert your eyes every so often during the conversation. The caveman will find that he likes you more when you do this. Because you’re acting according to his batshit idea of how a woman should act (submissively).
Use this trick at your own discretion. It’s not always easy to discern whether you should act ultra-submissive in front of a male interviewer.
If you’re a male, you should NOT act ultra-submissive. Men react positively to strong men. It is what it is, ladies.
Did I use this tactic during my interviews? Kind of. At first. I tested the eye-averting waters and determined that confidence was preferred among the men interviewing me.
I apologize to some feminists out there who hate the avert-your-female-eyes-to-make-dinosaurs-like-you truth. But it’s the truth! Use it or lose it.
Always use a firm handshake.
And when in doubt about the chauvinistic tendencies of your male interviewer, maintain STRONG eye contact. You don’t want to avert your eyes around someone who would prefer you peer into his soul.
Eye contact = confidence. Confidence = hire me.
Step 6: Sell yourself.
You just spent all that time creating a resume, so you know what kind of skills you have. Create and practice some “sales pitches” for your interviewers. But don’t repeat what’s on your resume.
People don’t like to be told what to think. People like to think they came up with their own ideas. And the best way to plant an idea into someone’s head without them realizing it was YOUR idea is through STORIES.
DON’T SAY: “I’m great at quickly assessing situations and coming up with solutions.”
DO SAY: “In my previous job, I had just thirty minutes to consult with each student, which required quick assessments of students’ work to determine immediate areas for improvement.”
DON’T SAY: “I’m great at adapting to impromptu requests.”
DO SAY: “At my previous job, I was tasked with finding software and recreating a company-wide map program to better identify the locations and coverage of the company’s representatives.”
With “stories,” interviewers draw their own conclusions. Self-drawn conclusions are a billion times more powerful than handed-to-us conclusions.
Step 7: Mail handwritten thank you notes.
You know what will DEFINITELY get you the job? Mailing a handwritten “thank you for the interview” note. I learned this one from my Nonverbal Communications professor. I just love GVSU.
If you totally F up your interview, mailing a handwritten thank you will put you back in the game.
Because it’s classic. Mailed thank you notes are a lost art. They’re nostalgic, too, which makes the receivers feel awesome (about you).
After I finished my initial interviews with my first two bosses, I went straight home and spent the next hour writing distinct thank you notes to each interviewer. I thanked them for their time and for their explanations and insight. And I signed those notes by telling them both I looked forward to hearing from them.*
*Side note: When I returned Boss 1’s very first “come for an interview” call, I ended the phone conversation with, “I look forward to meeting you.” He paused on the phone, and I swear I could hear him smile when he said, “Thank you! I look forward to meeting you, too.”
Anyway, I finished my thank you notes and went straight into town, dropping them into a blue PO box to ENSURE they arrived the next day.
BOSS 1 AND BOSS 2 BOTH EMAILED ME and thanked me for the thank yous.
Sounds silly to thank someone for a thank you note.
But when you get a personal thank you note IN THE MAIL, you love the gesture so much you can’t help but thank the sender.
I knew there was no guarantee that I’d get a final interview with the Head Hancho. But I sure as heck could impress Boss 1 and Boss 2 and hope they told Head Hancho to call me.
And he did!
Step 8: Stay committed to what you want.
Before I went into my final interview, I made up my mind about what I wanted: the POSTED salary on the job offering.
I had an inkling they were going to try to give me less due to my lacking experience.
But the job posting said experience PREFERRED. NOT required.
In my mind, that meant I was entitled to the full amount.
I met with Head Honcho, and I could tell he liked me. Probably because I was so professional-looking and prepared. And because I firmly shook his hand and looked him in the eye. And because I repeated a lot of the words he used.
I let him talk a lot, too.
Then, it came down to my salary.
“Well, this all looks good! We can get you started at *$2,000 less than posted salary* and get you all set up! We’ll have to call LeAnn and…” he continued to talk for at least another minute.
When he said *$2,000 less than posted salary*, I froze. My spine and my face got all hot and nervous and I started to freak out. He wanted to give me less!
Good thing I was prepared for this. How was I prepared? Because I spent the morning looking in the mirror and saying, “You are going to accept nothing less than that posted salary!”
Eventually, there was a lull in his sentences, and I jumped at it.
“About that salary,” I said, maintaining razor-sharp eye contact. No more flattering. I wanted it.
He merely raised his eyebrows.
I nearly passed out.
“The job posting said *full posted salary*,” I said. I was perfectly still.
“Yeah, well, you don’t have any experience,” he responded, holding my gaze.
“The listing specified that experience was preferred, not required,” I said, raising one eyebrow and holding his gaze.
“Do you think you’re worth it?” he asked, smirking.
Every inch of my skin was prickly and on fire.
“I do,” I nodded. “I guarantee you that I will prove to you I’m worth every penny-”
He cut me off: “Well, if I give you the extra two grand, I gotta give your brother a raise, too.”
“I’m here for my salary, not his-”
Again, he cut me off.
“No, no, no. If I give it to you, I gotta raise his to match it. It’s only fair. Do you think he’s worth it?”
“He the smartest person I know, so yes, I know he’s worth it,” I nodded. I sounded like a badass but I was shaking. I clutched my professional-looking folder for dear life.
“All right,” he said. “Deal.”
Did you know? Being brave gives you superpowers. Superpowers to convince a man you don’t know to pay you more money than he wants to.
Before you go into your interview, decide what you want. The more certain you are about the future YOU deserve, the more confidence you’ll exude during your interview.
Step 9: Ask for the job offer in writing.
This is a no-brainer. Hopefully the company that just agreed to hire you isn’t looking to go back on their word, but just to be safe, ask for the agreed-upon terms of your employment (including your salary) in writing.
Right before I left Head Honcho’s office, I asked him to give me a copy of my salary in writing.
My request surprised him, but he nodded and agreed and said he’d “get right on it.”
I had an email waiting for me at home with my salary, job description, and benefits all typed out and signed by Head Honcho.
Do the same. Seriously, you never know when you might need that in writing. And don’t worry about your interviewers hating you for asking. Any person with half a brain will see how smart your request is and respect it (and you).
There you have them!
The 9 steps you should take to land a job you’re unqualified for. Use them for jobs you are qualified for, too. Every effort counts!
I used these 9 steps to land my job. It’s not my favorite job in the world, but it pays the bills well.
Plus, I work next to my brother, which makes work way more fun.
Plus, I probably shouldn’t have been hired in the first place.
But I WAS.
And now I’m a dispatching queen.
How about you? What are some go-to tricks you’d recommend for job applicants? Have you used any of mine? Share your secrets with me in the comments!