Job searching has always been a delicate art, even more so in the Internet era. Since the early days of Monster.com, eager job seekers have learned the ins and outs of online application etiquette and strategy, shifting tactics with each new site or tool. Social media in particular has revolutionized the online job search. Rather than add to the flood of faceless résumés, candidates can connect directly with recruiters and corporate influencers. But as more people leverage social for its networking potential, job seekers must find new ways to stand out. To do that, you need to mix modern methods with old-fashioned face time. Let’s say you’re interested in an engineering job at Dropbox. You scan your LinkedIn connections and realize that your nextdoor neighbor’s brother heads the engineering department. You ask your neighbor for an introduction. Suddenly you’re not just another name in a sea of applicants. You’re a dynamic candidate with an endorsement from a trusted source.
As more people leverage social for its networking potential, job seekers must find new ways to stand out.Your social networks and online job boards help you identify opportunities. But don’t fall prey to the path of least resistance. Nowadays applying for a job is as simple as hitting apply in the LinkedIn app – no résumé required. But if you want to make an impression, you must give companies a reason to pay attention to you. Think about the last few times you submitted an application through a database or standard application form. Chances are, you didn’t get many calls from those companies, if any. The reason isn’t because you’re unqualified or jobs are scarce. There are just too many people of similar qualifications applying for the same jobs. You need to get the right eyes on your candidacy to compete. Use these tips to distinguish yourself from the masses and land the corporate job you want.
1. Build Your Network – then Work ItBe mindful of opportunities to connect with influential people. That way, when you’re ready to make a move, you can put the word out among the right people. The more genuine connections you’ve made, the more opportunities you’ll have as you build your career. Plan ahead. The right time to build your network is not when you need to find a new job. Regularly spend time expanding your network and social circles, and adding value to the people that you know and meet. That way, when you need it, your network will be ready for you and eager to help. Timing is everything and requires some forward thinking.
2. Research Companies that Interest YouIdentify the companies you think are a good fit, and keep tabs on their job openings. Find out their recruiting processes and who makes their hiring decisions, and look for ways to connect through social media. A simple note to a LinkedIn connection can yield a powerful introduction or recommendation.
A simple note to a LinkedIn connection can yield a powerful introduction or recommendation.Leverage your online communities for job contacts, but be selective. If you want a job in a company’s finance department and you have a friend in the marketing group, she’s not your best bet. Unless she’s close with the hiring manager, her referral won’t mean much. Instead, reach out to recruiters or decision-makers who have skin in this department’s hiring game. Department heads or senior level managers actively look for great candidates, so they’re more likely to respond and be your champion.
3. Don’t Treat Your Job Search Like Finding an UberAt a time when we can call a car at the tap of a smartphone button, we’ve come to expect everything – even finding a job – to be easy. That’s why hiring managers notice when you take time to make a personal connection, whether that’s through a recruiter or a contact within the company. Nothing truly worth having comes easily. Even with Uber, during the truly busy times, it is not easy to hail one, you have to be patient, and you have to try several times. But your patience and persistence will pay off (and you’ll be happy it did when you are warm and dry in the middle of an rainstorm in downtown San Francisco.) The same attitude applies to your job search.
Applying to a LinkedIn posting without bothering to upload your résumé is the first sign to a hiring manager that you aren’t serious about the application.Anyone can upload a résumé or hit apply on a LinkedIn posting. Applying to a LinkedIn posting without bothering to upload your resume is the first sign to a hiring manager that you are not serious about this application. Going above and beyond and writing an actual cover letter describing your interest in the opportunity and WHY it makes sense for your career goals will distinguish you from the masses. Finally, seeking out a face-to-face meeting or making an actual phone call will really set you apart from the masses. Once you’ve identified an influencer or contact, ask yourself, “How can I get in front of this person in a meaningful way?” You get back what you put in with a job search, so close the apps and start talking to people.
4. Make Online Applications Your Last ResortThe Internet is a vital resource in your job search. Companies expect you to know their history, mission, and current activities. Between Google and social media, you have a wealth of data to bolster your candidacy. But going through the online application process should be your fall back. We’re all familiar with the black hole of online job applications. Most people don’t believe they’re going to see great results by blindly applying to broad posts, but they do it anyway. Again, it’s the path of least resistance. They can say they “tried” even if 25 applications yield zero interviews.
Many companies rely on their internal recruiting networks to screen candidates, regardless of their jobs being posted online.Most of the people we know, particularly at senior levels, got their jobs through networking. Many companies rely on their internal recruiting networks to screen candidates, regardless of their jobs being posted online. A personal connection or recommendation within the company carries far more weight than even the most stellar résumé. Ultimately, a successful job search comes down to how hard you’re willing to work. Diligence and sincerity are rewarded; laziness is not. If you’re serious about advancing your career, leverage every resource available to you, from the web to your personal relationships. Great candidates start the search online, then take the conversation into the real world.
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