You might be surprised at how many job candidates won’t do it, and that’s what will make you stand out among the crowd...
You know the saying: “If it seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.”
Nowhere does this adage ring truer than in the jobs market, where we are daily barraged with so-called silver bullets offering shortcuts to landing our dream job. Kiss bassist Gene Simmons once illustrated a very simple truth when asked if he thought the band’s success was just dumb luck. “Well, one thing I always noticed,” he replied, “was that the harder we worked, the luckier we got.” Fact is, there is no silver bullet—finding a new job also requires work.
So when you’re in the market for a new job and wondering if it might be a good idea to polish up your resume, write a thank you note to hiring managers who have interviewed you, or continue to follow up after applying for a job, ask yourself this simple question: “Does it require work on my part?” If the answer is yes, then just do it. You might be surprised at how many job candidates won’t do it, and that’s what will make you stand out among the crowd.
While others coast along the easier route, here are some great ways to get closer to “you’re hired”:
THROUGH THE BACKDOOR: NETWORKING
A common approach to job hunting is to apply online and/or post resumes on job boards using what is sometimes referred to as a “shotgun approach”. That is a numbers game, and although it may eventually lead to success, a little more work can increase your odds and expedite the process tremendously: (a). do some research on the company, (b). find someone who works there (try LinkedIn, the company’s website—you may even be surprised to learn you’re already connected to someone in the company), and (c). be bold—make contact! Networking is a proven way to conduct a successful job search because most employers will favor a referral over just another of hundreds or thousands of applicants.
RISING ABOVE THE WHITE NOISE: PROMOTE YOURSELF
Nothing is more effective at capturing the attention of a hiring manager than promoting your successes and creating a “buzz” about them. It goes without saying that this should be done in a professional manner: be humble, but bold. If you have the skill (or know someone who does), build a CV website—an online resume that a hiring manager can visit if your paper resume leads them to want to know more about you (include a reference to the URL from your paper resume). Even if you fail to land the job today, your extra effort can still pay off: next time they have an opening, they are more likely to remember you.
TARGET COMPANIES THAT DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
This is a great way to tap into the “hidden job market”. Do a local Google search on companies that do what you are passionate about, then use the results to target your resume and your networking efforts. If you make contact and an interview becomes a possibility, research, research, research. Learn everything you can about the company, what it does, and the challenges it faces in its day-to-day operations: this will arm you with the knowledge you need to speak the hiring manager’s language when you reach the interview stage, especially if you can illustrate how your own experience/expertise might address specific company needs and challenges.
DO MORE THAN SHOW UP: FOLLOW UP
By now you’ve picked up on the gist of this article: making the extra effort is what it takes to put you ahead of the pack in the jobs market. A key part of making that extra effort is following up after the interview. What’s so special about following up? Simple: many, if not most, candidates don’t do it. So this is another area where you have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd—but it is crucial that you do so in a professional, unobtrusive manner.
Following up effectively is such an important aspect of your job search that it merits its own article, which we will bring to you here next month. Please stay tuned!