How to land any job interview you want [Even with no experience]
“We live in a world where there are no limits for those who can create results. The faster you can use what you’ve learned to execute results, the sooner your GPA — no matter how impressive or abysmal — won’t matter.” — Tony Robbins
Growing up, we’re brainwashed to believe boring resumes and overpriced college degrees are the keys to good jobs. Let me shock you: They’re not.
Delivering results is the key to landing a good job.
There is no replacement for results.
Above average job seekers understand this; and therefore, go above and beyond instead of shotgunning resumes to any and every job listed on Indeed, like every average Joe Schmoe does.
Whether you have five years experience or no years experience, doing the job before you get the job is the crucial first-step to getting the good job.
You have to prove what you know, and what better way to prove what you know than by doing a “pre-interview project?”
In this post, you’ll learn the steps to finding the perfect pre-interview project. After that I’ll share my favorite projects to get your creative juices flowing.
5 Steps to Finding the Perfect Pre-Interview Project
1. Focus on ~12 jobs.
Scour job boards to find ~12 jobs you really like. You don’t have to meet all of the requirements, but you must be able to prove you can do all of the requirements.
And education doesn’t count as a requirement. Usually, education is just an easy resume filter for companies getting hundreds of resumes.
2. Prove you know what you want to be hired for.
When reviewing job descriptions, what software or skills do you see listed repeatedly under the requirements section?
For example, on marketing job descriptions, I’m sure I’d see some of the following technologies listed:
- Email marketing software, such as MailChimp
- Marketing automation software, such as HubSpot
- Content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress or Medium
To prove I knew Mailchimp, I could create a project in Mailchimp. I could do the same for HubSpot and WordPress.
Then I’d check out the other skills listed that prove I’m actually good at marketing. I’m sure some of these skills would include:
- Editorial workflow
- Data analysis
Finally, I’d combine my technology knowledge with an intrinsic capability of mine.
For instance, I could show off my writing skills and HubSpot knowledge by creating an email autoresponder sequence.
Or, if I wanted to prove I know my editorial workflow ish, I could create an editorial calendar in Trello and design a blog in WordPress — two skills that work hand-in-hand.
3. Go above and beyond.
Make a unique project for each company. You want your solution to be so customized that the employer feels more than obligated to, at the very least, respond back to you.
(Trust me, they’ll be thrilled to respond back to someone with the gumption to go above and beyond. So few people are willing to do something without the guarantee of getting anything in return.)
Conduct research to discover what problems the company is currently facing and how you could help them solve this/these problems by hiring you.
The more tailored your project is the better. It shows you dug deep and put in real effort.
4. Make sure the right people see your project.
There’s no point in doing all this work to only send one measly email to the generic HR email listed on the job description.
Here’s a few creative ways to get the right people to notice your work.
Find the right person’s email address.
Search LinkedIn for a list of each company’s employees. Then install the Chrome Extension, Email Hunter, to find their personal emails.
If it’s a small company, email the CEO.
If it’s a large company, you can try the CEO again (I would anyway, if I thought my project was baller enough) or you can aim for the head of the department. I personally prefer the top-down approach.
Here’s a guide on how to write good emails, in case you need it.
Target the company with ads.
Make a landing page for your project, and create ads on social media that target all of the employees of the company your project is for.
Submit your project to the right communities.
Many influencers check these places daily for the next cool thing. This will also make you look badass to the company you want to work for.
Get help from influencers.
You could send influencers, who reach your target audience, a quick email that *briefly* explains your situation and offers them a quick $200 by featuring you in their newsletter or website for a certain period of time.
5. Stay open-minded.
You may not get the exact job you want, but if you do this right, I’m willing to bet you get job interviews nonetheless.
A Few Creative Examples
This is how I landed my first job as a marketing director for a local print shop, when I was still in college.
I noticed all the job descriptions listed email marketing software under their list of requirements so I created an email marketing campaign with the promotion: Get a one-week free trial of Lauren.
Gillian Wasser wanted to get noticed by a hot marketing agency in Toronto so she created an entire marketing campaign for them, including a quiz on Buzzfeed that told quiz-takers whether or not she’d be a good fit for their company.
My former boss, Sam Mallikarjunan, has been working at HubSpot more than five years thanks to a little campaign Sam created called, Hire Me HubSpot.
“… I signed up for ad accounts on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get the free credits and launched ads targeting people who worked at HubSpot to register for ‘The Free Webinar on Why You Should Hire Me.’”
This girl wanted to work at Pinterest so she transformed her resume into a Pinterest board.
“Each pin introduces a point about Jeanne, detailing her skills, education, experience, achievements, and even her Klout score. Pinterest isn’t the only online tool she’s used to put together her ‘social media’ resume. Items which require more explanation lead to a post on her Tumblr blog.” (source)
Blog your way to a job
If you read a lot of blogs, you probably recognize the name Aja Frost.
She started blogging in college for big names, like Zapier, Buffer, Fast Company and the list literally goes on and on. Now, she works full-time at HubSpot.
Here’s another one, inspired by the above one.
Here’s another personal example.
When I wanted to work for the Trump campaign earlier this year, I bought the domain fakedonaldjtrump.com, and I created a proposal of everything I could do for him. Then I emailed it to everyone’s email I could find. I finally got through to his Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway.
She forwarded my email to the HR Director, who emailed me to set up an interview, but she ended up flaking.
This San Diego social media coordinator was sick of sending his resume into black holes and opted instead to pay Snapchat $108 for his own on-demand Geofilter, which targeted the ad agencies he wanted to work for.
Find errors or Easter eggs
This one programmer’s Google query elicited a secret Google interview.
Work hard, and the interview will follow.
I said it above, and I’ll say it again. If you put in the effort to create a great side-project, and then put in the extra effort to get it in the right hands, it WILL pay off.
In a world where so few people put in any effort, those who do will be flabbergasted by how easy getting a job actually is.
It’s almost too easy… when you put in the effort.