As we’ve now landed in the first full week of 2019 and shaken off the holiday lull, all of those New Year’s resolutions are front and center. For many people, a huge goal for 2019 is to take their career to the next level and often this will mean jumping back into the job market to look for a new position.
I personally come from a sales background, but regardless of what career field you’re in, job seekers everywhere could learn a few things from the sales process to more effectively land their dream job. Often one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is being too passive, and expecting fantastic roles to just fall in their lap. Unfortunately, this very rarely plays out in reality, and we need to be more aggressive to reach beyond the “low hanging fruit” in order to get those big career opportunities we’re after. Below are some “Sales 101” tips candidates can use to stand out from the crowd and let employers and agency recruiters know they’re serious and worthy of consideration.
Be The First To The Table
“The early bird gets the worm” might be a bit of a cliche, but it would be very hard to argue its truth. I’ve seen job posts on Linkedin get literally hundreds of applicants in just a couple of days for very popular job titles in Marketing, Sales, and other hot career fields. If you’re applicant number 100+, you’re much less likely to even have your resume viewed versus applicants 1-20. It is imperative to be the first to the table when it comes to applying for new job postings, and although constantly digging through job sites might be a bit tedious it’s absolutely in candidates’ best interests. I tell candidates I work with as well as friends of mine who are in the market to check all job sites from Linkedin, Angellist, Indeed, Ziprecruiter, and so forth at least twice per day. This may seem like overkill, but it will ensure you’re among the first applicants and may be the edge that makes a difference when there could be several dozen other actively-searching candidates in the market who could do the job extremely well.
Use Multiple Channels To Sell Yourself
So you’ve started checking job sites multiple times per day, and you’ve been catching those new roles the minute they hit the board. What’s next? Apply for the role on that first source and anywhere else you can find it, and try to track down other ways to get in touch with a potential hiring manager as well. This may include applying on the company’s own careers page, making a resume submission to a generic submission form on that same site, and scouring the web for anywhere else it could be posted. Another important outreach channel to stand out from the crowd, is to find one or more profiles on Linkedin who could be potential hiring managers for the role and reach out by adding them and including a short note. The note is absolutely critical, and should be well thought-out considering the character limitations (I believe the limit is 200).
The final channel which might push you out of your comfort zone but could yield excellent results because it’s something very few people are willing to do is to cold call the company. Find their phone number, and reach out asking for either the hiring manager(s) you found on Linkedin or for their HR Department regarding the role. If you connect with someone or even if an admin takes a message which is successfully delivered to a hiring manager, they’ll know you mean business and are worthy of consideration.
No salesperson should ever limit themselves to contacting a prospect just once, and the same goes for job seekers. It’s important to follow up with hiring managers at least once on every channel possible, from sending a second email or Linkedin message to “check-in” on your application to making a second cold call and leaving another message for the hiring manager. It’s also helpful to keep in mind that open roles often have several decision-makers in the hiring process, and if you’re not getting any traction with one you should do some digging on Linkedin to find another. Don’t be a pest and reach out several times on the same channels to the same hiring manager as this might be counterproductive, but don’t be afraid to give them a second call/email/message if you don’t get a response from the first. It could be the action that sets you apart from the crowd and earns you their consideration.
This last point pertains to the way candidates speak to hiring managers in interviews, as well as the most effective strategy in writing a resume. A candidate should always be focused on selling their value to the companies they’re applying to and interviewing with. What this looks like in practice is describing accomplishments on a resume versus simply listing skills. Which sounds better, “Executed paid social media campaigns via Facebook and Instagram”, or “Executed $50k+ monthly budget Facebook and Instagram campaigns for 40% ROI YOY”? One lists a skill/experience point, the other quantifies successful execution and paints a much more valuable picture to the hiring manager. Always convey “what’s in it for them” to a company you’d like to work for by describing what you’ve done for other companies in the past.
I can personally attest to the value of these four points from my own job search efforts prior to my career in recruiting, and I’m positive you’ll see a noticeable difference in your results if you take a more active stance in your outreach to companies you’d like to work for. So you want that excellent new opportunity in 2019? Don’t wait for it to come to you, go out and get it!