“It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi
When you apply for an advertised position, you are often one of many qualified applicants, especially in the current job market. A job interview is critical for advancing through the hiring process, positioning yourself as a strong candidate, and accepting a job offer. It is essential to create a strategy that best demonstrates your qualifications and elevates you above your competition. I would like to help you explore ways you can improve your ability to get an interview and secure a job offer.
First of all, knowing that you are likely one of many applicants, how do you get “noticed”? There are a few steps that you can follow to greatly increase your odds of landing that interview. Here are my top 10 ways to get an interview:
10. Be Specific
Develop a list of specific target companies that you can identify to those with whom you are networking. For example, if you say, “I want to work in engineering,” that doesn’t really get my brain working. However, if you say, ” I want to work for XYZ company in an engineering capacity, namely leading a team of hardware engineers,” that helps me to a) understand what you are looking for and b) start thinking about who I may know at XYZ company.
9. Know Your Strengths
Knowing what you bring to the table and clearly articulating it sets you apart from the masses right away. Often, people are not clear on what they can do to specifically help a company. Companies want to know what you can do for them… it helps to answer that question well.
8. Reach Your Target Companies
Know those companies that appeal to you and appear to be a great fit. If you don’t know about the company or if you don’t really want to work there, it typically shows in a conversation. If you are excited about the potential of working for the company and you have clearly done your research that will make you extremely appealing and different from the rest.
7. Develop A Resume That Stands Out From The Rest
I have seen great resumes and terrible resumes. What makes a great resume? Clearly defining what problems you will solve for the company and adjusting the resume based on the job available are two important factors. Highlight your achievements rather than your responsibilities, this way you are showing what you have actually done in your last role instead of just copying and pasting your position description.
6. Write An Effective Cover Letter
Since your cover letter serves as your first chance to make a good impression on the hiring team, customize this introductory note for the job listing. Be succinct, a cover letter should be short, sharp and to the point and should not copy what already is in your resume but purely an overview of your skills which should tie in with what the selection criteria outlined in the job advert or application pack.
At the end of the cover letter, prompt the hiring manager to take the next step in the application process. For example, you can encourage the hiring manager to schedule an interview with you to discuss the job opening further.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Call The Hiring Manager
Be assertive. If you know who the hiring manager is, call him/her and briefly state that you have applied for the position. Take the opportunity to alert them to this and let them know that if they took ten minutes to meet with you, they would find you a viable candidate. The worst thing that can happen is that you get turned down.
4. Don’t Rely On Job Boards
Not that you cannot find a job utilizing a job board but statistics show that 90% of jobs are never posted (which is why #2 is what it is) and those that are posted are swamped with job seekers taking the traditional, ineffective route.
3. Create Your Brand Utilizing Social Media
Develop your brand as an industry expert using LinkedIn and, if you’re brave, Twitter. Post-professional, relevant articles that are pertinent to the type of jobs in which you are interested. Ensure that your personal social media profiles are market private and are only viewed by a select few. Trust me – ALL hiring managers and recruiters will search your social media profiles to see how you present yourself.
I can’t say this strongly enough. The best way to make it to the top of the resume pile is to network. Network within your own industry and community and tell people that you are searching for your next opportunity. Meet with recruiters that can help you and who work with companies in your industry. Then, most importantly – follow up!
1. Follow Up
Networking and all the other steps are worthless without following up. Be persistent without being obnoxious. Ask your contact how best he/she likes to be communicated with and how often. Respect that they have their own priorities but don’t give up if they don’t respond immediately. While nothing can guarantee an interview, taking a proactive, professional approach will certainly increase your odds.
Can we help you? We also offer Career Advice to job seekers where we will help you tailor your resume and LinkedIn profile, prepare for an interview and research companies before you apply. If you are interested in hearing more, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org