Posted by Brian McCullough
This is not an Ask Brian question, exactly, but a reader sharing his experience:
I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now, and you have made the fair point that the best way to get hired is to find a way to solve the employer’s problems. Don’t just fill their need; suggest that hiring you might fill ALL their needs in a way. I thought you might like this story because I applied that sort of thinking recently, and it got me hired.
I heard through a friend of a friend that a local place was thinking of doing a Vista upgrade on their whole office. But they had no one to do it. Too small for a tech team. Now, this is a place I’ve been dying to work. As I say, I know some people who work there, but they’ve never been able get me an in.
But my friend told me they had this need. So I told him to offer to his boss that I’d come in and do their upgrade. They said they couldn’t afford it. So I said I’d do it for a small stipend.
It took me the better part of a day, but it was a great experience. I got to know most of the people around the office, sitting at their desks and working on their computers and all, and I got them all up and running. I even got to go back a couple of times to answer some questions and fix a few things. But it was a great thing. I basically got to show my face to the whole office.
So, last month, they came to me! They finally had another opening, and where before I couldn’t get in the door even with my friends, now they basically offered me the position because they already knew me. The office manager said that at the very least, they’d have someone else around the office who could help them with their computers. So even though computers aren’t exactly my thing, my offer to help them got me in front of them when I couldn’t before.
I don’t know if this sort of thing would work for everyone. It’s probably not a good idea to go around to businesses offering to “work for food” so to speak, but I guess my lesson learned is that any thing you can do to show them you’re a good guy is worth doing.