Thank you for your interest in Deloitte China. We regret to inform you that, despite your impressive credentials, we have chosen a different candidate for the Associate Consultant position listed in Shanghai. We will keep you on record and let you know if we are in need of your services.
Deloitte… are you breaking up with me? Who is this other candidate? Deloitte, how could you just dump me like this?
You know what, it’s FINE, Deloitte. I was never REALLY into you in the first place. I always thought your friend Accenture was cuter anyway. I wasn’t going to tell you this, but I interviewed with BCG behind your back – TWICE.
All right, but seriously now – does this HR rejection email look familiar to you? It sure does to me. I’ve gotten this rejection email in four languages in six countries as I went about my own international career launch. After banging my head against the wall for months about how to charm these people and their cryptic methods of choosing candidates, I decided to do the next best thing: entirely sidestep HR and engineer myself a back door into companies I liked.
I formulated a systematic method for hacking into companies and producing interview offers and job offers for myself and my clients, which has been incredibly effective across the board – particularly for emerging market careers, in which organizations are less “flat.”
This blueprint will apply to you if you’re one of the following:
- You seek gainful employment abroad but have no clue where to begin.
- You have been emailing addresses like “careers@consultingcompany” and never hearing back.
- You are are looking for quick results. You also understand that, occasionally, it’s worth investing a small sum of cash to save yourself immense amounts time and energy.
Phase 1: Join Linkedin
If you haven’t already, you need to join LinkedIn and upgrade your profile to a “Business Plus” account.
“But why pay for LinkedIn? I need money for Hulu Plus and Heineken!”
Would you pay 5 dollars to treat a Managing Director to a lunch at Wendy’s if it meant that you could source an interview and potential offer? Yes, you probably would. By upgrading to this account, your search abilities are enhanced and you can send unsolicited messages, called “inmails”, to decision makers within your target companies. By sending carefully crafted messages to decision makers within your target companies, you are essentially taking a calculated gamble on securing interview offers.
After you’ve received an offer, you can cancel your paid subscription. However, you have to make sure that you are using the monthly subscription and not annual.
Phase 2: The Profile
You need to make your profile as compelling as possible to the decision makers you will contact. These are some things you should do immediately upon creating a profile:
- Add a picture of yourself in formal business attire.
- Add all of your academic information with your major and relevant coursework.
- Add each of your previous work experiences, your responsibilities, and how you added value to the company for each of these placements.
Now that you’ve got a profile, you need street cred. Search for former colleagues, managers, professors, or basically anyone who could give you a solid reference regarding your competence in the workplace and level of integrity and professionalism. Add these people as connections and then request a recommendation.
For example, if you worked at Google, first add as a connection your manager at the time. Then, under the “profile” tab, click “recommendations”, then “request recommendations.” You’ll be brought to a form that will allow you to request a reference from a specific manager, colleague, professor, or person of authority from a previous organization with which you were involved. Having these references will make it clear that you’ve added value in your past work placements.
Phase 3: Finding your Target Managers
In this phase, you are going to find a handful of people with hiring power who are going to help you hack into the interview process. Primarily, you should choose your target city abroad. For this example, let’s use Shanghai. You should first compile a list of 10 companies in Shanghai for whom you’d like to work. You are then going to use LinkedIn’s search feature to find decision makers you will contact. These “Target Managers” will generally have titles like “Managing Director”, “Senior Project Manager” or something similar.
Ideally, you want to find someone with whom you have something in common. The best commonality is actually knowing someone in common who can introduce you. If not, a common nationality, university, or native language is usually a solid foundation.
Phase 4: The Pitch
At this point you need to create a template of a message that you will use for each target manager. You can use this as a general framework:
“Hello Mr. Flynn,
My name is Dan Lang and I am a recent graduate of NYU. I have previously worked at the American Embassy in Beijing as an intern. I am interested in pursuing a career with (Target Company) in Shanghai.
I am interested in opportunities with (Target Company) because (list 1-3 strong reasons). I also feel like I would be a good fit because (list 1-3 strong reasons).
Is it possible we can set up an interview?
Use this template to create a custom inmail for each of your target managers and send them out, one by one. By the end of this, you should have set up several interviews with your target companies by getting internally referred by a manager, thereby hacking past human resources gatekeepers.
By now you ideally have set up 3-5 interviews in your target city abroad. If you are unfamiliar with your target city, make sure you know how to get to each of these offices – I made this fatal mistake in Paris and it cost me an offer. I was heading to the RER station from a Parisian suburb into the metropolitan area when the workers of Paris conveniently decided to strike. I was unprepared to deal with the fallout of this situation, which ended up being my downfall. Traffic patterns in the city will vary depending on the time of the day, so make sure that you take a pre-emptive trip and map out your route.
This goes without saying, but dress formally in business attire – that means a suit and tie for the gentlemen….no matter how sweltering hot it is in Beijing, Saigon, or Sao Paulo.
Set all these interviews up during the same week so that you can gauge the various offers you will receive against the others. Happy Hunting!