from Patrick McKenzie | by Patrick McKenzie

Patrick McKenzie


7 months ago

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Pro-tip: also works for getting hired at many places. And, as long as I'm here: many conference talks end up on Youtube. Conference talks are often by senior employees and almost always include their email address on an early or late slide.

Plus either of these allows you to put a credible proof-of-human-work into the first paragraph of a cold email, at least until GPT advances a bit. "I really enjoyed your talk on XYZ, particularly the point about ABC. I've written on that before here: $LINK. Could we perhaps..."

"... chat for 15-30 minutes about what you are doing recently at $COMPANY?" You can be pretty explicit about it being a hiring oriented conversation if you want, but the person you are emailing is not stupid. That is why you are emailing them, after all.

"Isn't that an imposition?" No no no no no no no it is not! The reason the company paid for them to go to the conference in the first place, the reason their email is there, is to find plausible candidates to potentially hire! YOUR TIME IS VALUABLE AND THEY WANTED TO BUY IT.

"But how do I know if this person has hiring authority?" Sometimes either they'll explicitly say they do or the nature of their job makes it obvious, but regardless, having one human inside the building who enjoyed a conversation with you and will say that to anyone who asks...

... is far, far more effective than the world's most impressive PDF file forwarded to a team of sourcers who will spend ~60 seconds evaluating it.

Also, for somewhat unfortunate class-related reasons and neither fortunate nor unfortunate reasons about the psychology of humans, people tend to have a much better opinion of professionals who message "I will give you the opportunity to sell me on a job" versus "I want a job."

You (yes, you!) have many options. You have an in-demand skill set. Sensible people with hiring authority who give this an ounce of thought should immediately do this math with respect to any candidate. But that math is not necessarily done, and so presentation *matters.*

And so prior to talking to potential employers I recommend putting on some classic Beyonce and humming "I could get another one of you in a minute so don't you ever ever ever get to thinking you're indispensable." Don't say that out loud, but exude it.

Mentally: "I mean, I was capable of finding your email address to have an interesting conversation. But I can find a lot of email addresses that would lead to oh so many interesting conversations. Interesting conversations are much more common than the opportunity to hire me is."

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