In today’s job market, it’s not very effective to simply respond to job postings online and wait for a call. It only makes you one of dozens, or hundreds that are doing the same thing with each of those postings.
It is much more effective to pick one, or five, or ten companies you most want to work for, and execute a strategy to target them whether they have an appropriate opening posted or not. Here are 5 steps:
1 ~ Prepare your lists! Create your target list. You can do this by searching people on LinkedIn in your area with titles similar to what you are looking for. What companies do they work for? Pick the ones you want most. Search LinkedIn and ask your other networks for contacts at those companies. Create your list of phone numbers and email addresses for each one. You can use WhitePages.com, JigSaw, and Google to help. Often by Googling the person’s name you can find a direct phone number or email address, or at least find the general format for the company email addresses then apply the individuals name. At the very least, you can certainly find the company’s main phone number to call and ask for the person by name.
2 ~ Get smart about them. Learn what you can about those companies. Read their websites, Google them, check finance sites for news about them. Check what kind of jobs they may have posted. Figure out what skills, experience, knowledge, and strengths you have that may uniquely fit their organization or solve a problem for them. Write it out. Using what you’ve learned, create a tailored resume to emphasize your strengths for each organization.
3 ~ Write Scripts! No matter how articulate and well spoken you are, you will be better if you’re well prepared with what you will say. Create detailed scripts for multiple scenarios… contacts that are not related to the position you’re pursuing, and contacts that may be a hiring manager for you. Write ‘decision trees’ so that you have a response regardless of their answers. Don’t ask for a position, but ask who they recommend you talk to, what they recommend as the best way to get noticed, ask for further information about the company, culture, tools they use, etc. You don’t have to memorize the scripts, and certainly don’t read them word-for-word, however, by writing it out and having it handy as a guide you will better stay on track and be much more effective. Make them brief and to the point. Make them professional and practice them. You can find additional help here.
4 ~ Connect! A well prepared call is always better than an email. Contact the names you’ve gathered and make an introduction. Let them know you are specifically focusing on opportunities in their company. Gather the information you can and let them know that, if they don’t mind, you’d like to reconnect with them again as you may have additional questions. Use your scripts. Follow up EVERY call with an emailed Thank You to keep your name in front of them and to be sure they have your contact information. ALSO sending a written Thank You note in addition to the email is an added way to stay connected and shows professionalism.
5 ~ Connect some more! Persistence Pays! A person from one of my job search classes contacted five people at a company he had targeted. Each of the first four told him there were no opportunities coming up any time soon. The fifth invited him to meet, and over the course of the next 3 weeks he ended up getting a job offer. Most people would have given up after the first ‘No’. Don’t let one person that doesn’t help you discourage you from continuing to pursue as many others within the organization as you can find. Contact multiple people from multiple areas within the organization. Follow up with them more than once. Be professional and ‘Pleasantly Persistent’ with each contact, but don’t quit after only one call!
Professional persistence in targeting specific organizations will be much more effective than ‘carpet bombing’ your resume to dozens or hundreds of companies. It takes more effort and initiative, but you are much more likely to get the job you want, where you want it than any other method. So get busy!
Thank you for visiting The Wise Job Search. I truly appreciate your interest. If you like the material here and would like to help keep it viable, please peruse and visit book recommendations, and other resources posted throughout the site. Best wishes on your continued search, and feedback is always welcome!