It’s time for a change. You feel like a cog in a machine, or perhaps the pay, benefits or work environment just don’t make the cut. You want out of your current company.
You’ve tried before. Crafted an amazing resume, sent it to 100 different places and nothing. No response, or no good responses. I know the feeling. It seems like you are lost in the sea of applicants.
So the question is, how do you get an interview? What will make you stand out above everyone else? Here are 5 unusual steps to get an interview.
It’s a numbers game… but not a large number.
Conventional job search wisdom tells you to send out resumes. A LOT of resumes. Stories abound of people sending out 100, 200 or even 1,000 resumes. Guess what? It doesn’t work. Everyone sends resumes. You need to be different. Here is the first step. Start with 10 companies where you would like to find a position. Do enough research to know they fit your skills, values and preferences. Learn what you can about the company culture. But do NOT send out resumes, not yet at least.
1. Get connected
Next you should dig into information about the company and find the person in charge of the area or department you’d like to work. Connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. Read articles and blog posts they write or share and make positive comments. Be sincere. This is where you begin to get your name in their mind.
2. Bypass the application process
Conventional wisdom will also tell you to go to the company website (or online job site) and fill out an application. Don’t do it! That just lumps you with everyone else. Use the connection you are building on social media. Ask for their permission to contact them directly via email. This is important, ask for permission! If you just send an email it can seem intrusive and pretentious. If you ask for permission they get the opportunity to be kind AND will be looking forward to your email. In the email tell them you are interested in working for them. Give 3-4 short bullet points as to how the company would benefit by having you on board. Then let them know you’ll be back in touch soon.
3. The necessary resume evil
Now get your resume ready. Make sure you customize your resume to highlight the skills that would best serve the company or department. Everything is about them, not you. Be honest on your resume, but emphasize how your experience is good for them. Depending on your contact you could send your resume in a physical letter or via email. But either way wait for a couple of days after the previous email. In the letter accompanying your resume let the person know you’ll follow up by phone. Give a specific day and time, generally 2-3 days after they receive your resume.
4. Stay in contact
Staying top of mind means doing something unusual. Do you know what job seekers don’t do? Follow up with a phone call. Especially before even landing the interview. For this step you need to make the phone call, at the exact date and time you indicated in the letter attached to your resume. This is the simplest step but the most daunting for many. But do it, it makes a huge difference.
Suggestions for the conversation: It’s a short phone call. You want to remind the person who you are and emphasize one or two points from your resume that can help their company. Always address the person in a formal way unless invited to use a first name. This shows respect. Remember the goal – to set up an appointment. Don’t use the word “interview”. Ask when you can get together and chat. I know this article is about getting an interview, but don’t say the word. This way you are more of a partner offering to help (for compensation) than an ordinary job seeker begging to be hired.
In summary, the secret to getting an interview is three words.
Ignore the rules.
You have to keep yourself top of mind for the decision maker. Stand out, be unique, and don’t give up. Building a relationship will jump you to the head of the line. One last note, if you don’t get the results you are seeking after contacting 10 companies, then do the process again with another 10. Keep looping through the process until you’ve found the job of your dreams!