A strategic approach to job hunting can help savvy applicants stand out from the crowd. Here’s how:
1. Make contact. As in any business transaction, it’s always better to approach a prospective employer through a referral or a personal contact – particularly in an era when many job applications are gathered online and sorted by machines. Hiring managers feel more comfortable and take on less risk when hiring someone they know or have met in person. For job seekers, it pays dividends to prioritize networking over searching through ads or sending unsolicited applications.
2. Be specific. There is no industry board or government agency that certifies people as “visionary leaders,” “team players,” “results-oriented” or any of the other vague superlatives people add to resumes. If it’s a description that anyone can self-apply, then most probably have. Instead, use language in application materials that is unique to you. What’s the largest number of people you’ve supervised? The biggest project budget? What specialized industry knowledge have you developed that is possessed by few others? What are concrete examples that show your leadership and smarts? Perhaps your sales team managed to grow revenues when your overall industry was in a downturn, or you created a process that made your business more efficient. No one remembers the self-anointed “visionary leader” in a stack of resumes. Executives remember the employee whose good idea saved the company 20 percent of a project’s cost.
3. The “Golden Rolodex” Even big business can become a small world over time. Your mentor from a college internship, your repeat client at a previous company, the talent you hired that has since moved on – all of these people are advancing in their careers just as you are in yours. Keeping in touch through a short email when the chance arises, crossing paths at a conference, or even sending a holiday card can lead to unexpected opportunities. Keeping an extensive database of contacts over the years, no matter how seemingly trivial, can serve you throughout your career.
4. Have something to say. Every professional develops a level of expertise at what he or she does, and engaging with like-minded professionals can grow your network and open doors. Keeping a blog that offers real insight into your industry, cultivating an interesting Twitter feed or updates to LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks can generate an audience of potential employers. You may never get a chance to pitch the top executives of your dream company directly, but if one of them finds value in what you write, you’re doing something very similar.
5. Write a cover letter. A surprising number of people send a generic form letter to accompany their resume. This can indicate to a hiring manager that you’re applying to as many places as possible without consideration for the demands and benefits of the opening at hand. Cover letters are a single page that need not contain Pulitzer-worthy prose. But they can be a highly valuable chance to pitch why you’re interested in a company and why, beyond the impersonal qualifications on a resume, you’re the best person for the job.
For more than two decades, Christopher Frederick has been a trusted recruiting partner to the real estate industry. To learn more about how we can help your company benefit from our extensive network’s fast and affordable new search process, contact Chris Hingle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit our website at www.chrisfred.com.