When you’re looking for work, you need all the advantages you can get. Here’s an idea that can show off your skills in a way that goes way beyond a resume or code portfolio. Some call it a “mockup strategy.”
A mockup strategy requires knowing a prospective employer — and the position you’re aiming for – exceptionally well. Once you’ve learned all there is to learn about them, go out and do the job as though you actually hold the position. Then present the mockup of your work along with your resume to the person in charge of hiring for that position – or even the CEO.
It worked for David Rogier and Tristan Walker, who managed to hit home runs with this approach. Rogier describes the experience in a blog post.
In Rogier’s case, he wanted to work for Evernote. He went out and interviewed 23 new users about their experience with the company’s on-boarding approach, drafted some ideas to improve it, wrapped in 10 slides, and emailed it off to Evernote’s CEO. The result: He got an email back 30 minutes later asking him to come in for an interview.
Tristan Walker’s experience was similar. After inundating Foursquare’s CEO with eight separate emails asking for a job, Walker found a couple of companies who’d be willing to advertise on Foursquare. (Important note: He introduced himself as a student and not a Foursquare employee.) In his ninth email to the CEO, Walker told him he’d found several new advertisers. This time, the CEO responded and he was hired. Eventually, he ran the company’s business development.
Magic of Mockups
Taking the time to do actual work, on your own, before applying for a position demonstrates several things to a prospective employer. First, it shows you’re hot to work there. Second, it gives them a taste of what you can do. Finally, it makes your application stand out among the slush pile of resumes. Indeed, it might help you bypass the slush pile entirely.
Of course, while the strategy can be effective in grabbing the attention of hiring managers, it isn’t always going to get you in the door. Rogier ran into this himself. He sent three versions of sample work to a hiring manager, who never responded. In that case, ask yourself: Do you really want to work for such a rude company?