Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, and Intel are some of Portland’s largest employers, and some of the world’s most recognized brands. Jobs at high-profile global brands like these are highly sought after from applicants around the world.
And that’s one of the reasons that you don’t frequently see these positions on Mac’s List. These companies don’t do a lot of advertising themselves, because qualified applicants come to them.
So if you want to get hired at Nike, Adidas, Columbia, or Intel in the Portland metro, where do you start? We asked professionals who work for these brands how they got a foot in the door. Here are their answers, along with a few helpful tips to get you prepared to compete for one of these coveted roles. All it takes is organization, preparation, and a strategic approach.
Use your network
“My cousin referred me for my job at Intel”
Many of these corporations offer incentives for referrals, so use your network! Connections are the number one reason people tell me they got their job at one of the big brands in Portland. In fact, over 80% of job opportunities at companies like Nike or Adidas never get posted on a public job board.
Contact Portland-area recruiters
“My recruiter suggested me for the role.”
Several Portland recruiters manage constant hiring for local corporations, particularly for Nike and Adidas. It doesn’t have to be complicated to get in touch with a recruiter. You meet these folks by networking, but also by identifying firms in town that recruit for these jobs. Places like Boly:Welch, Aquent, Vitamin T, and Mathys + Potestio regularly recruit for the big companies in Portland, though there are several more excellent recruiting companies in town that are worth your time as well. So start reaching out and get found by Portland recruiters.
Customize your LinkedIn profile
“I was recruited off LinkedIn”
More and more, recruiters are using LinkedIn to search for qualified candidates for their open positions. This fact underscores the importance of knowing how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, complete with recommendations from others, sample work items, and a thoughtful summary.
A great way to get found for the jobs you want is to read through job descriptions for the job openings you want, then incorporate keywords from the description into your LinkedIn headline, summary, and experience sections. That way when a recruiter searches for that term, your perfectly-optimized profile will pop up!
Demonstrate your passion for the brand
“I designed my resume to highlight my experience with athletics.”
Employers like Nike look for passion in candidates. Saying you’re into soccer isn’t enough. If you’re really passionate about something, it will show up in your extracurricular activities. Volunteer to strengthen your resume, play a sport, join a tech meetup, or donate your time. Build your position in the industry you’re pursuing, and demonstrate that you’re committed.
Tell your story to stand out from the crowd
“I practiced my elevator pitch.”
Along with a solid attitude, you need a great career story.
A friend who works at Nike in retail design tells me that you better have a good story about why this is the job for you, or you won’t be considered. Even if your professional history doesn’t line up exactly with what you think the ideal candidate’s would be, get creative and come up with a unique angle that will stand out to hiring managers. What do you bring to the table that no one else does?
Take a contract position, then network your way into a full-time job
“I started out as a contractor and transitioned to full-time after six months.”
Many, many people start out working for Intel, Columbia, Nike or Adidas by taking on limited-time positions. These contract roles are not quite freelance, and not quite full-time positions. Large brands hire lots of contractors, and they use subtle differentiators like badge colors to show who’s full-time versus a short-term hire. While contract work isn’t for everyone, it can be a great opportunity to prove yourself and grow your connections within the company you want to work for.
If you do land a contract role – likely through a recruiter – you need to get busy networking within your team and department. Make solid connections with your leadership team and pursue informational interviews to learn as much as you can about the company’s needs, challenges, and long-term goals. Be upfront about your desire to pursue more responsibility, and work hard to earn recommendations for full-time opportunities from your managers and colleagues.
Get started by getting to know the brand, then go for it!
“I finally went for it!”
Once you know how to tell your story and make the connections you need, get after it! It’s not enough to wait for a recruiter to come to you, and you likely won’t get much traction with cold applications on big brands’ websites. But if you follow the advice above, you’ll be in a great position to get a foot in the door at one of Portland’s big-name companies. Ready to get started? Learn more about the companies we covered in this article. Get to know their cultures, read through their job listings, and apply for something if you find a great opening! Here are links to their careers pages to get you started: