How to get a job at a big company
January 18, 2010 12:10 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a job at a big company?

I realize the answer is "apply" but I've tried that for years and gotten nowhere. All of my jobs have been at small businesses where I ended up getting the interview by virtue of calling them up and following up. This seems not to work as well at bigger companies. Is there something I'm not doing that I should be? Some kind of special big company thing I need to know about and incorporate into my strategy?

I'm don't have crazy skills and am pretty much your average clerical/admin drone, if it matters.

I want to work at a big company due to the fact that I'd like to have name recognition on my resume for the future as well as it would be nice to work somewhere that has benefits.
posted by josher71 to Work & Money (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For a job like clerical/admin work lots of big companies outsource the initial hiring process to recruiting agencies. You should research the agencies local to you, and see which are employed by the companies you'd like to work for, and then get in contact with that agency.
posted by shownomercy at 12:12 PM on January 18, 2010

Know someone who works there. Find a connection to someone, whether it's a friend of a friend or your mom's bingo partner's daughter. Just getting your resume into the right person's hand is half the battle at a big company, and you need someone working for you on the inside to do that.
posted by jckll at 12:12 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've gotten my last two jobs at big companies by temping. They hired me on permanently after 3 months.
posted by desjardins at 12:18 PM on January 18, 2010

Linkedin is pretty good. Try finding people doing a similar job to what you want to do, ask them politely:
- How do you like it?
- How did you get it?
posted by jevy at 12:33 PM on January 18, 2010

Go thru a temp agency. That'll give you the opportunity to try out several big companies, and hopefully you'll find the right fit.
posted by spilon at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2010

What desjardins said. Almost all of the megacorps I've worked for used temps/contractors as a way to try out employees before hiring them.
posted by birdherder at 1:07 PM on January 18, 2010

You could also check the company's website and look under the "Careers Section" and see if they have any postings. Most companies have a protocol for hiring, and while it may not make the process any faster, it helps to follow the established rules.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 1:52 PM on January 18, 2010

I disagree with @TheBombShelterSmith. I used to be a hiring manager at Dell. Approximately 20% of the dozens and dozens I hired were hired through the traditional, approved rules. Frankly, they were the ones I tended to regret hiring. Referrals are golden.

Most hirings were referrals. It jumps you so far ahead of the frickin' huge pile of resumes, that it isn't even funny. Usually I wouldn't make it past the top ten or twenty resumes from HR on my desk. Not because I didn't care, but because I was too damn busy. Get any referral, no matter how tenuous. Simply gold.

Also, here's simple key to getting hired anywhere, but especially at big companies. It is not PC. The truth is that you are being considered for employment primarily to help your boss do well on their next review. Forget all that goody-two-shoes "I'm here to help the company and advance my career blah blah blah." Tell them exactly what I said on your interview. Mean it, or fake it well. Tons of points for you, and you just raised your chances of getting hired.

If they ask you what you want to be doing in 5 years, lie. Tell them the most obvious, ass-kissing thing you can think of. I hope to be in charge of the DB department for XXX division at the company. It is a natural growth, and I hope to be worthy of that promotion. The hiring managers *do not* want you to talk about taking their job, or stupid stuff like that. Instant pass, at least when I was hiring.

Hiring managers, want to deny what I said? I thought not.
posted by Invoke at 3:45 PM on January 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'm don't have crazy skills and am pretty much your average clerical/admin drone, if it matters.

Try choosing something a couple steps up from clerical/admin, in a specific direction--do you have any interest in, say, marketing? IT? internal training? knowledge management? Pick something of interest to you and research titles/job descriptions you might be interested in. Then, start networking to learn more about it and make connections toward that particular career trajectory. It doesn't have to be the thing you do for the rest of your life, it just has to be a way to start conversations with people in companies you'd like to work for. Those conversations can sometimes lead to jobs (i.e., "We happen to be hiring in that department..." or "You should call my friend Joe at Acme Co., I think he could tell you more about that").

I'm not trying to knock admin/clerical work, but it's hard to get people interested in talking to you about your passion for data entry. On the other hand "Right now, my experience is as an admin assistant for a small business, but I'd love to move toward a career in knowledge management. Can I ask you some questions?" can get people to want to help you. People like giving advice and talking about themselves: informational interviews and networking are exactly that.
posted by Meg_Murry at 6:12 PM on January 18, 2010

I always end up at large companies, and I always go through a recruitment agency.
posted by pompomtom at 8:45 PM on January 18, 2010

I'd also suggest temping. I temped for a year, and almost every big company I temped for offered me a real job. For them, this is a cheap way of trying out potential employees-- and you get paid!
posted by pippin at 9:26 PM on January 18, 2010

« Older How to be a cultural imperialist foot soldier...   |   How to get a glass paperweight restored Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.