Early this year I decided to take a writing class that I had been mulling over for months. Did I want to make the investment? Did I really want to to sit in class for three hours every week? College was over, does homework sound like something I could manage on top of trying to maintain some balance between my job and social life? Eventually I bit the bullet, and it was the best decision I ever made. On top of getting to spend one night a week with amazing writers, workshopping our ideas for a book proposal, I was led down a path that would eventually unite my passions with my day-to-day job.
I’ll never forget when my classmate Nancy came in and told me about The Levo League. She had heard the founders speak and let me know that they had basically built a company that was completely aligned with the subject of my book proposal. So I decided to seek them out and become the most committed user they had, and before I knew it, I was asked to come on board with a company that was a complete marriage of my many passions.
Most of us all have that special company that would be a dream to work for. Especially with young companies, that dream can sometimes become a reality. In this age of cool startups and widespread entrepreneurship, young companies are more prevalent than ever. You can land the job by transforming your enthusiasm for the company into actionable steps. Even if your eye isn’t on a young company, there are still things you can do that could eventually transform you from user to employee.
Be Open About Your Passions
Call it the law of attraction. Call it the secret. Whatever you call it, when you’re open about the things that make you tick, you tend to find more of them. As I sat in my writing class talking to a group of women about my ideas on mentorship, Gen Y, business, and my own quarter life crisis, I demonstrated to this group of women what I was passionate about. And I chose to follow those ideas and write about them as part of a book proposal. Had I not chosen to be so open and transparent about the things in life that jazz me up, I would have never been referred to Levo by my classmate. I would have never began writing multiple articles a week for them, and likely wouldn’t be where I am today as a part of this team. Communicate your interests and opportunities will follow.
Ask for a Meeting
Within weeks of finding out about Levo, I was on a mission to get a meeting with the managing editor who I was determined to write for, and to meet both founders, Amanda and Caroline, the next time they were in San Francisco. By doing a little Google stalking and email brainstorming, before I knew it I was meeting all three of the women I had sought out. Making personal gestures goes a long way, as does putting a face with a name. I knew that all three of these women were working in roles that I could learn from and wanted to know more about.
Meetings, whether virtual or in person, will always be a stepping stone in building your relationship with that company. And with young startups, access to the founders and executives is easier and a wonderful opportunity you should always take advantage of.
Volunteer your Skills
When I first looked Levo up on Facebook, they had a post asking for contributors on the site. I immediately sent in my pitches for recurring features. As an avid writer and former sports broadcaster, I knew I could volunteer my skills, express my passions and contribute to this young company. I would spend a few nights a week writing articles that I enjoyed and hoped the Levo audience would too.
Writing allowed me to show my dedication to Levo and belief in their mission. Even if an organization doesn’t need writers, you can show your presence acting as one of their social media soldiers (aka liking, favoriting, retweeting galore!). Find out what the company needs, and if it’s within your realm of skills, offer it up! You’ll show both your value, passion, and dedication.
Any chance I got with Levo, I would shoot emails to talk about my experience with new site changes. I knew that this company was growing and as a daily user, my feedback would be important. I shared my voice, both positive and critical. The beauty about social media is that we all have that voice to communicate with companies, especially the ones we love and use everyday.
Most companies, both old and young, value user or customer feedback. It is how they grow, modify and pivot their business plans and product. Your opinion, whatever that might be, is valuable to a product that you use consistently. So share it and trust that someone is taking notice of your initiative.
Photos Courtesy of Brunch at Saks