Inc. | Jeff Haden
A friend of mine can't find a job. "I've worked hard on my resume," he says. "I've written a killer cover letter. I've applied for dozens of jobs and I haven't even gotten an interview, so clearly no one must be hiring."
Maybe you've done the same. Maybe you've submitted plenty of resumes. Maybe you've included catchy cover letters. Maybe you've even asked someone to put in a good word for you.
And then you didn't even get a reply, much less the job.
Why? You did some work ... but not the right work.
There are many things you can't control about the job-seeking process. Cumbersome application systems, automated filters that identify keywords instead of talent, lazy hiring managers content to simply find a square peg for a round hole, all of that is outside your control.
But there is one thing you can control: the amount of work you put in.
If you're struggling to land the job you want, don't complain. Don't blame other people. Sure, the system often sucks — so accept it sucks, and then figure out how to beat it. Commit to doing more. Commit to doing what other candidates aren't willing to do.
That's how you stand out. That's how you get the job you really want.
So let's do it:
1. Find the company you want to work for.
Obvious, right? Not really. Many job seekers respond to as many job postings as possible, hoping the numbers will be on their side.
But shotgun resume submissions result in hiring managers sifting through dozens of candidates to find the right person. (Good luck emerging from that particular pile.)
To show the hiring manager you are the right candidate, you have to do the work. Instead of shot-gunning your resume, put in the time to determine a company you definitely want to work for — both in terms of the job and cultural fit.
2. Really know the company.
Pretend I'm the hiring manager. "I would love to work for you," you say. What I actually hear is, "I would love for you to pay me."
You can't possibly know if you want to work for my company unless you know a lot about my company; that's the difference between just wanting a job and wanting an actual role in a business.
Talk to friends, relatives, vendors, customers ... anyone you can find. Check out management and employees on social media. When you know the people, you know the company. Learn as much as you can, then leverage that knowledge.
3. Determine how you will make an immediate impact in the role.
Many companies see training as a necessary evil. Training takes time, money, effort, all of which are in short supply. An ideal new hire can be productive immediately.
While you don't need to be able to do everything required in the job, it helps if the company can see an immediate return on their hiring investment. (Remember, hiring you is an investment that needs to generate a return.)
Identify one or two important things you can contribute from day one.