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  • Writer's pictureAhyiana Angel

How to Get A Job Without Applying Featuring Melanie Feldman

On this episode, we chat with Melanie Feldman, a career coach and co-founder of Going Places who has built a successful career by landing roles at her top choice companies (i.e. Twitter, Uber) without ever applying for a single job. She shares the strategies she’s learned with us!


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*Please note, the below transcript has been uploaded without the eye of a human editor so please expect some typos!

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[00:01:58] Now let's get this conversation started. On today's show, we're chatting with Melanie Feldman. Melanie is a career coach and co-founder of Going Places. She's built a successful career by landing roles at her top choice companies without ever applying for a single job. After her first role, she authored Bold: Get Noticed, Get Hired. A book that provides both inspirational stories and the techniques of people who set themselves apart to land their dream jobs. It is now used in college curriculum courses at Lehigh University and Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to her work as a career coach, Melanie is also still climbing the corporate ladder at one of Silicon Valley's top tech companies.

[00:02:45] You all know how I typically feel. The career coach conversation. I feel like I'm always talking about this and that's partially because I'm inundated with coaches and this conversation was different and unique for me. And I loved it because Melanie is coming from a completely different perspective.

[00:03:07] She has a skill set that she's learned along the way of actually thriving in her career and being able to go from top company to top company and learning some really key takeaways as to how you can make these strategic moves and not actually apply for a job. So I think you're gonna enjoy this chat.

[00:03:28] Let's get started with you telling us what your very first job was and what you were doing in that job?

[00:03:35] Absolutely, so my first job was at a company called Undertone, an advertising network in New York City. And I was a media coordinator to be honest. I didn't even know advertising networks existed I just watched mad men. So, I thought that's where I was getting myself into.

[00:03:52] Part of the reason that I wanted to chat with you I think you have an interesting story and journey because you are also a nine-to-five employee right now as well. And so share with us a little bit more about how you got into this career coaching space and how you're navigating your career right now?

[00:04:13] You know, what's funny is I never woke up one day or, you know, through college was like, I'm gonna be a career coach, it's actually, yeah, it's actually kind of funny how that started and I'll take it back. I graduated from college, almost 10 years ago now, and I flew back to Hawaii where I'm from. And I was like, okay, I'm gonna work in New York City. I'm gonna crush it. You know, I just felt like on top of the world.

[00:04:39] I was a finance and marketing major. I played a division one sport. I had three internships and I thought, okay, I have this in the bag. Mm-hmm. And I applied to a hundred jobs a day only to get automated responses saying, no, thank you. And I just remember these like pain points probably around three months in.

[00:04:58] And I remember my mom just being like, how can I help you? Like, do you wanna go to Barnes and Noble and find a book or something? You know, it was like, yeah, I just, I realized like, did I ever learn how to apply for a job in college?

[00:05:11] Like, I don't think so. And so I'm completely struggling. And four months in, at this point, I catch a webinar on LinkedIn by Louis House. He said I challenge you to reach out to someone you never think you can get in touch with. And I was like, okay, you know, I never really thought about this.

[00:05:29] I've just been applying for a million jobs. And I ended up cold reaching out to a sportscaster at ESPN because I was like, okay, I wanna work at ESPN. I played a sport and I was a business major. So that's the only company I wanna work at, which who knows why I was thinking that now, but it's that mentality when you get outta college, you no clue what you wanna do.

[00:05:50] And I sent that email off, put 25 different emails attached to it, and didn't think anything. Cuz I had no idea what his email was and I was like, okay, Neil dot Everett and Everett, like I just threw it out there. And nothing happened. And I was like, okay, I'll pause on that.

[00:06:05] I didn't expect anything. But at the same time, I started just thinking, wow, maybe I should. I mean, I have to change something up at this point, applying online, isn't doing anything. And so I started just messaging so many people on LinkedIn, and through email and trying to leverage any part of my network I possibly could.

[00:06:24] And the funny part, Ahyiana is I got every interview I ever wanted from every single job that I had on my list. I was like, oh my gosh, I was the same person, no one ever responded to any of the resumes I had sent out. And all of a sudden I'm getting responses, which was crazy.

[00:06:41] Meanwhile, one month later, Neil Everett calls my phone and he's like, how did you get my email address? I was like, Neil, don't worry about it. But so the funny part was he got on a call with me and the next day I had an interview at ESPN. Was that interview a result of that phone call?

[00:06:56] Yeah. So I said, Neil, I, we just, we hit it off on, on the phone. I was telling him, you know, I'm from Hawaii, you worked in Hawaii. And he was like, all right, what, what do you want from me? And I was like, all right, well, can I get an interview? And, and he called the HR department and he got me an interview the next day and everything after that changed for me, because, you know, I just realized it's all about human connection and no one teaches you that in college.

[00:07:23] Long story short, I ended up getting a job in New York City. So I ended up cold emailing the CEO's assistant. She got me an interview. One week later, I'm flying from Hawaii to New York city, starting an advertising, knew nothing about the space or anything.

[00:07:38] And, what really interest me was, did everyone else land their jobs like this? And I, I was so curious and so I ended up writing a book called Bold: Get Noticed, Get Hired, which was a complete interview series of like 30 people around the world who I thought did really cool things and I was interested how you landed your first job.

[00:07:57] So mm-hmm, that, that was a really interesting start to just being in the space and, you know, naturally I was speaking a lot of colleges after I had launched my book and I would just get message after message from college students saying, can you help me with my job? Can you help me land a job? And I realized that gave me a ton of energy to help people navigate their careers. And so long story short somehow I fell into the space and it's something I just absolutely enjoy.

[00:08:23] It seems like you were crafty with trying to figure out what Neil's email address was. Mm-hmm and you were also crafty with probably seeing that there was a job posting available at this advertising agency and then going after the assistant because they're usually the gatekeepers.

[00:08:39] Is there something that typically comes up for you when you are recommending for people to take certain actions or certain steps when they're trying to get their foot in the door without a resume?

[00:08:50] Absolutely. So I think there's a few things. One, in particular, is this mentality of asking people for things, you know, I don't know about you, but for me, it's like I get a lot of LinkedIn messages where people are just asking me to do things and I've never even met them before.

[00:09:07] Yep. And it's one of those things where like, yes, you're gonna carve out time to help people, of course, but it's this weird offputing thing when someone's asking for something and you've never met them. I think the first thing that I try to train people on in terms of a mentality, especially from a young age, like, even in high school is don't ask people for things when you're creating a network and you're building a network from scratch, which, you know, is the core to getting referred into a company and, and getting your foot in the door.

[00:09:35] It's about how can you do research on that person and add value. And the only real ask is can I have 20 minutes to talk about you and ask you some specific questions that I have because I find your background so interesting and so inspirational. And so I try to get people out of this mentality of, hi, can you refer me to this company?

[00:09:56] you know, mm-hmm, it's like, it just feels a little off-putting and I don't think they get the results that you want. And so, yeah, that's the first thing I usually talk to people about is like, we're gonna build this from the ground up and mm-hmm you never are gonna ask people for things, even, if you wanna get introduced to someone, you're gonna write that introduction so all they have to do is press one button to send it off.

[00:10:16] So tell us, how did you get your current position? We know that you are doing other work you're employed outside of the career coaching work that you do. How did you land this position?

[00:10:29] Yeah, absolutely. So for one, all of the jobs that I've ever had in the advertising space, I've never actually applied online. I really believe like landing your first job is, is the toughest because it's, it's so competitive.

[00:10:42] And so mm-hmm for me, it's really been about. Doing the best work I possibly can. And, creating a network around me and, and always having conversations with people and always asking about them and learning about them because ultimately that's how I've gotten every job. It's, you know, we started at one company, people left to other companies and they're like, oh, there's an open role at their company.

[00:11:04] And they're like, oh wow. Melanie would be a really good fit for that because I, you know, I try to put my head down and, and show that I do quality work because. At the end of the day, your network is, is what you have. And, and so you want people to see you in the best light. So yeah, it was, it was through my network.

[00:11:21] It was someone that I had worked with previously who reached out to me and said, Hey Melanie, are you interested in this role? I think it'd be a perfect fit. And I was like, all right. Yeah.

[00:11:31] So in the book, Bold: Get Notice, Get Hired. What did you figure out? Was there a common theme that you were able to come up with or was there anything surprising that you figured out from speaking to the people that you spoke to for the book?

[00:11:46] It was really interesting because I chose people with all different backgrounds. It was people who were engineers and in advertising. And, you know, I tried to really pick different industries and what I realized were two things. So one, not everyone is extroverted. A lot of people aren't extroverted and, and don't feel comfortable like reaching out and having tons of conversations.