Hacking Mailchimp: tricks to getting hiring manager's attention
Prioritizing quality over quantity when applying for jobs by email
Most hiring managers do read your job application emails, they just chose not to respond. Here are some tips for fixing that.

When I first arrived in New York looking for a job, I had a notebook. A small, passport sized pocketbook that I would scribble job postings in. Each time I sent an application for a job, I would add an entry to the notebook. I ended up filling the entire thing. 212 applications in total. A triumph! I felt proud, like this was proof that I was really making an effort. But I shouldn't have, sending dogshit applications to hundreds of employers doesn't deserve a medal or a pat on the back, far less a job.

My job applications tracker from 2018

I did eventually weasel my way into the industry after a month of frantic applying and what it taught me is this. Stop wasting my time and others and focus on quality over quantity.

So the next time I went looking for a new job, I had a new plan. To email agencies directly where possible (not job postings), and to make my email stand out. Quality connections, not numbers scribbled off a list. This is where the hack comes in, I used Mailchimp's email tools to achieve both of these things.

I essentially hijacked Mailchimp's newsletter design tools. But instead of sending them to a giant email list, I used them to create a visual CV/Portfolio. One that included imagery, animations and great typography.

Here's an example of what my old one looked like. It's a little dated and I'm sure you could write a better one; please also ignore the super cheesy picture of me.

You could design this any way you want. But my thinking was; a brief blurb about me, a photo of my cheesy lid, and some samples of my portfolio that linked out to my actual portfolio website.

There are still templated elements to the email, you can see I would swap out the agency's name at the start, and customize the smaller paragraph section (below my photo) to be relevant to each place I was applying to.

You can do all of this with a free account too. (This isn't an ad for Mailchimp I swear).

To commandeer Mailchimp's newsletter tools, you'll need to add email addresses manually using the 'Audience' tab. As well as specify a 'Group or Segment' so that you don't send to multiple contacts at once.

BEWARE. These tools are made to easily send to giant lists of contacts. But here we only want to send to, say, one hiring manager. So make sure you don't include your whole contact list when you hit send. And make sure you have the right agency names in the template also.

Nothing screams 'I don't give a crap' than sending an email to Pentagram, but throughout the email the agency name is 'Landor'.

Finally, a last great feature of Mailchimp's is that you can see if the place you applied actually viewed your application, through the 'Summary Report'. You can views things like the number of opens, what links and images were clicked, etc.

Surprisingly, 100% of the places I applied for at the very least opened the application, despite me often assuming they were too busy to get back to me. Or hadn't opened my application at all.

It's a bummer that 90% of places couldn't give two shits about getting back to you, even when they view your application. But don't let this deter you, if they opened it, maybe follow up in a week or two? Don't be annoying though, use your best judgement to assess when it's likely a dead end.

Additionally, if you didn't get a response, use the Summary Report. What links were clicked? what images were clicked? Use these insights to optimize and tighten the application for the next agency.

It's hard to get noticed amongst a sea of competing applicants nowadays, but I hope this little hack can maybe be of some use. The aim of the game here is quality connections, not numbers crossed off a list.

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