Thrilled, you run to your computer, zip off your resume to the appropriate website, and wait – certain you’ll get hired quickly. And you wait. And you wait.
The truth is, there are thousands of people applying for those jobs; and it’s going to take the companies some time just to weed through the resumes to find the best candidates.
How do you rise to the top of that stack? Here are some tips:
1. Get specific. Which of these areas/workplaces/jobs is a perfect match for your skills, interests, education, background and location?
2. Find out which “Job Titles” they’re hiring for – Lingerie Sales Clerk or Hardware Sales Clerk? Corporate Banker or Mortgage Analyst?
3. Using your address book, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., contact anyone you know who might be associated with one of these companies or fields (i.e., retail, automotive, banking). Ask if they know anyone who works at this company or a like company. What you want is specific information about the job you’ll be pursuing.
4. Ask your connections what skills are involved in that job? What are the particular challenges involved in that job? What makes people excel, and what’s the easiest way to fail? Ask who else you should talk to before you apply for the job and/or what advice they can give you in pursuing the job.
This is key: When someone you’ve asked for advice gives it – act on the advice! You’ve asked them for information; don’t dismiss what they’ve told you.
If they tell you to get an industry magazine, buy it. If they tell you to contact your biggest competitor from high school, do so. And if they tell you to follow some stranger into the desert – hey, don’t even think about doing that!
Use your brain and your instincts to take actions that feel right to you. Use what works for you, ignore what doesn’t. But always, ALWAYS say thank you to the person you’ve sought out for advice.
5. Go on a fact-finding mission at the place where you’ll be applying. Walk around. Make notes about what you love about the customer service, the products, the employees, the management. Also make notes about where things could be improved and how you (in your new job) would go about doing that.
6. Talk to someone who works there. Don’t corner some poor clerk when they’re super-busy in the store. Go at a slow time, and find someone who looks friendly. Tell them you just heard the company’s hiring, and you’d like to know what it’s like to work there. Keep it informal, conversational, and don’t linger more than a minute or so. You just want to get the general feel of the place, and how contented or discontented the employees are.
7. Get excited. Figure out what would make you look forward to going to work there each day.
8. Update your resume and cover letter to reflect the new information you’ve gotten about this job.
In your resume, make sure your “Job Goal” matches the “Job Title” for which you’re applying.
In your cover letter, be sure to talk about what you love about your prospective workplace; then highlight skills you’ve got that are in keeping with what they require of their employees.
If the friends/associates you’ve contacted are willing, list them as references in both your cover letter and your resume.
9. And here’s the part most job hunters never do: When you get an interview, a job or even a rejection, drop a note to your mentor(s) and let them know how things worked out – thanking them again for their help.
Jobs may come and go, but helpful friends and associates should be cherished for a lifetime.
Did you find this helpful? Would love to hear your comments or questions.