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3 Clever Ways to Get in Front of Someone You Admire

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get in front of someone you admire

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard “the story” of a guy who sent an employer a shoe with a note that said, “now that I have my foot in the door.”

Raise your hand if you’re really sick and tired of hearing that story.

While we can’t deny the effectiveness of that attempt, trying it now might not result in the desired outcome. More often than not, when people want to meet their idol, snag an interview or land a mentor, they send a half-assed email that neglects to get the job done.

There are other more subtle – but just as effective – ways to get in front of someone you admire:

1. Send a handwritten note

Want to know how many handwritten notes I’ve received this year? One. From my grandma on Christmas. Want to know how many handwritten notes that industry idol of yours has probably received? One. From their grandma on Christmas.

Let’s take it a step further – how many emails do you think they’ve received this year asking for some favor/coffee/Skype/interview? A million billion, that’s how many.

Meaning a handwritten note is the best way we can possibly think of to stand out from the crowd, make an impression and seem sincere in your admiration, all without looking like an asshole.

A great time to send something is after seeing your idol speak or meeting them at an event. Send a quick note (to their office; don’t be creepy) saying how much you enjoyed hearing them speak and how you love everything they do. Be genuine here.

2. Make friends with their assistant

Never, for a second, forget who runs the joint. If your dream mentor has an administrative or personal assistant, you absolutely need to be their best friend. This is important because a) they transfer the calls and can make your life infinitely easier and b) can give you all the inside knowledge.

I don’t mean “make friends” like, be nicer than usual, but actually make friends. Find them on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook and invite them out for a drink. Be honest. Say you really admire their boss and would love to learn more about the industry and what it’s like to work for Hotshot X.

This has a 50/50 chance of working as there is some serious creep-sounding potential. But it’s worse to try and make friends with someone only for them to feel used and abused later on. Telling it like it is and getting in with the office in a genuine way can make all the difference.

3. Comment on their blog

A few years ago, when I was looking for a job in publishing, I made a point to read every publishing blog out there. I read, shared, commented and met in person all the bloggers I could. Through one little blog comment, I met a guy who ran a major publishing website. And through that comment I landed my first-ever freelance writing gig.

This is the power of comments. It’s more than just putting your name in front of someone you admire. It’s more than just sending an email. Commenting on someone’s blog shows you read what they write and care about their opinion – and that you have something valuable to share of your own.

Become a regular commenter and you become part of their community. And trust me, bloggers notice when a name comes up on every post. On my own site, I let commenters guest post, answer their emails before anyone else’s and many have become close personal friends. Meaning if you want to be seen, start on the blog first.

How did you end up meeting someone awesome you really admired? How did you meet your mentor? What other tips can you add to this list?

Marian Schembari is a blogger, traveler and all-around social media thug. She’s based in Auckland, New Zealand, hails from Connecticut and blogs at marianlibrarian.com.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://www.goperuvian.es/ ginaerica

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  • http://twitter.com/WannaBMarketing Erica Roberts

    This is excellent advice – there have been many people I’ve wanted to try to speak with, and this is extremely difficult to do without a referral or knowing someone in their network. Making friends with the assistant and paying attention to their blog are such great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

    Erica, YouTern social media intern
    http://www.youtern.com/thesavvyintern

  • Inboxsners

    What is you find your looking person in social media or social network , and if you connecting from their it can have a different effect compare to real……..?

    http://www.glowmovies.com/

  • http://vshamanov.wordpress.com/ Vladimir Shamanov

    Thank you for this useful article! I really like the handwritten note idea. It’s true, everybody is overwhelmed with emails and I think the same goes for comments / mentions if we are talking about some real hotshots. The 50/50 ratio of sounding creepy in my opinion is closer to 10/90, 90 being dismissed as a crazy fan.

    Cheers,
    Vladimir

  • Brower Jacob

    GUILTY of the shoe attempt years ago! I would now try a more subtle handwritten note.

  • Lamar Morgan

    If you have desired to get in front of people for a better future, but are finding it hard to do because:

    1) Resumes’ are now being trashed without even being read.

    2) Applicant tracking software is “pinmping” your efforts online for profit from the employers you want to reach.

    3) OneStop Career Centers are taking what you freely place into their system away from you for their benefit.

    Perhaps it is time you adopted a very different approach to finding a better future for yourself. Perhaps it is time you started using a Storefront Display Card to draw attention to your REAL VALUE. Make a commitment that from NOW ON the general public is going to find out about what you have to offer via a display card at the where they bank, eat and play. Rather than waste any more time and money begging employers to allow you to come to them, reverse the trend. Now, it is them who must come to you. Why? Because they learned about you where they had lunch, did their banking or went to play.

    What does that even look like? Well, go to http://budurl.com/LinkedinToLamar and scroll down the Linkedin profile until you come to the Box area. Then, download the Display Card for Storefront Venues. If you have further questions, Tungle.Me at http://tungle.me/lamarmorgan.

    Lamar Morgan

  • Nate

    I agree on the personal note. I was the lest qualified for an internship, but the only one that followed up with a thank you note, and according to the lead person that put me ahead of the other candidates.

  • Sudangautam

    As a person who looks after Human resource department and recruitment i can tell you that, we don’t read your resume more than 60 second. Don’t tell us that where you went for your study. Tell us what did you achieve over there and what makes you stand out. If not we have plenty of resumes who have gone to same colleges and sometimes better than yours. Please don’t try to be yourself in interview. Just be genuine and be prepared otherwise the door shall be closed before it opens.

  • Patricianolanbrown

    Marian, I think getting a handwritten note is priceless and so impressive. Simple gesture for positive results.

  • http://theziagroup.com/ Katee

    These are great tips! So simple yet so often overlooked! Lots of focus on relationships and engaging with people.
    How could anyone read the third one and not leave a comment! :)
    Thanks + Happy Day!

  • Jrandom42

    It also depends on how aggressive his personal protective security detail is. Lying on the ground with your wrists in cuffs and a gun to the back of your head, because they percieved you as a threat, does your cause no good.

  • hltruelove

    I’m going to try this immediately. I have a specific person in mind, too. Thanks for the kick-in-the-pants.

  • Ceceilia Allwein

    I have increased my network exponentially through volunteering. Everyone has a cause. Find out about the charities your mentor invests in and get yourself involved, especially if they’re large events or fundraising committees. You have a great platform for getting yourself in front of (or asking someone with more leverage to help you get in front of) your superheroes, and many times you’ll end up exercising your skills right alongside potential mentors.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamBritten Adam Britten

    I’ve found that number 3 can be especially helpful.