Pounding the Paving Tour: Day 1


I took the suggestion of many professional contacts and from What Color is Your Parachute 2009.  I actually started to take my resume directly to the firms I want to join.


I decided to make a list of the top 50+ consulting firm, visit the office closest to me, and ask about the application process.  Yesterday was my first day, and while I what brought to me to exhaustion yesterday is providing me energy today.  I believe that is due to better habits after a two week vacation.  I was surprised at the nervous butterflies in my stomach the entire day.  However, today I feel more confident in the process.


Taking Note:


-It’s easier to find someone to speak with in suburban offices

-Doormen were my gatekeepers in the major urban offices

-While the doorman were extremely helpful for my cause, I could not get passed any in the urban areas

-Some doormen gave me the name/contact of who I can call

-Sometimes, when a company has Corporate HQ for recruiting in other cities, they don’t want to see you in irrelevant cities

-Unless you’re recruited on campus, there is almost always an electronic process to follow for competitive firms


The Process:


1. Most resources for this process are not found online, but I highly recommend purchasing What Color is Your Parachute 2009, or better yet, split the cost with a friend who is also looking for a job.  To make my initial list, I found it helpful to use excel to organize the “Top 50” list from Vault.com.  I added in a few other “Top Firms” and “Top Diversity” firms that didn’t make the “Top 50” list too.


2. I created a binder to store my: lists (with addresses and contact info), notes on each company, directions for each day to visit 4-5, and many copies of my resume.


First Day Reflections:


I cannot say how important planning and a focused industry list are for this exercise.  Having a focused list allows me to systematize my cover letter writing process and I learn a lot about one single industry.


This is my second attempt at “Pounding the Pavement,” but the first attempt where my plan, list, and pre-work (see Binder in #2 above) were sufficient enough to get me moving this time.  Last time, I neither had thought about a plan/script nor had I created one list for ONE industry (rather I had 3-4 industries all mixed up without focus).


I’m going to seriously consider it a waste of my time to try to get by more doormen in the major urban office locations.  I think I’ll focus more deeply on those online applications.


I’m going to go to each office with cover letters AND my resume.  It will require a few extra pages to print, but I will need the cover letters for the online applications already.


Wow, am I super lucky to have a car and the means to transport myself to the non-urban firm locations.  I realize this is a very beneficial luxury that is not available to all job hunters.


I’m a pretty outgoing person and I’m comfortable talking with people about anything including jobs and applications.  However, this is EXTREMELY impossible to do if you are not seriously committed to the field of firms you are visiting.


Passion is what will drive this activity and overcome any hurdle.  I say that because I’ve been very successful at business to business sales, and this is a challenge even for sales professionals like me.


This should go without being said but, I wear a suit to every visit, carry a nice portfolio, wear comfortable women’s business shoes, and smell clean and nice.


I am still pursuing other leads and applications not included on my list, so I figured 4-5 companies and applications per day would be just the right number to sustain this activity until the end of the list.




After two and a half weeks of this process, I will have applied to over 50 firms, met some amazing people, and I will have created an entire competitive analysis of the top 50+ firms in my desired field and geography.  I know I will learn a lot about myself and my career through this process.  I’m committed to making this work.


Please let me know if anyone else has tried this.  What tips do you have for success?


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