Many times people struggle with the looking for the job portion. Back in the old days, you used to get a newspaper, circle the first “Help Wanted” ad you found (in red marker otherwise it doesn’t count), grabbed your hat and coat as your rushed out the door on your way to the new job.
Things are a little different now and your approach should be too. You’ve probably heard about some job application that went viral resulting in the applicant getting a ton of job offers. Either they made some YouTube video featuring a flash mob or some equally asinine idea.
I’m not a big fan of gimmicky job applications. You may have heard about people sending in a box of donuts with their resume at the bottom or people hanging out at an intersection wearing a bill board looking for a job. Truth is, most of these people get more attention than job offers. Also, most of those “job offers” aren’t usually for the jobs they’re looking for and instead are for hourly wage work. This spray and pray approach leaves too many things out of your control.
There are better ways to get your resume in front of the right people without having to appear on the 10 o’clock news.
Here are some better approaches and how you can use them yourself.
Create a resume for a specific job
Instead of standing out on an intersection, you can make your resume stand out. Nina Mufleh had failed to get any interest from Airbnb so she went back and updated her resume focusing on creating a format similar to what Airbnb’s website was as well as showcasing what she can do for them. She sent it directly to the CEO of Airbnb who was obviously very impressed and set up an interview.
Why this approach works:
She tailored her resume for a specific company and showed what she can help them achieve. Many times applicants focus on what they’ve done without considering what the company is looking for. Yes you should talk about your past experience however you should make sure you correlate that to what the company is looking for. Also, using the same resume for multiple companies is efficient however it also becomes generic. You don’t have to do a complete revamp of your resume however taking the extra 10-15mins to align your experience to the job requirements can make the difference between getting a job interview or passing out resumes on the side of the freeway.
Getting in touch with the decision makers
Although sending a box of donuts with your resume at the bottom sounds like a foolproof idea, I would recommend against it. First of all, getting your resume in front of HR isn’t really the point. The point is for you to get an interview and then a job offer. I personally don’t eat donuts so a plan of getting a box of them with the hopes that I read a resume that is at the bottom isn’t going to go far. Second, just because you delivered a resume to HR doesn’t mean they’re going to consider it. I have talked to enough HR pros who have told me that even though getting a box full of candy, confetti and a resume, donuts with resumes, or even a FedEx box with a shoe and the caption “I’m a shoe in for this job!” (get it?), elicits a chuckle and maybe even a thank you email, they never seriously consider those applicants since it reeks of desperation. Thirdly, HR and Recruiters are gatekeepers. They have the power to say “no” however a very limited range of what they say “Yes” to. If you don’t fit their profile specifically, they can’t risk to make an exception.
Instead, reach out to a decision maker. A decision maker is someone like a hiring manager who has the power to say “Yes” and make exceptions. Even though a job description may say 3 years of experience, if a hiring manager feels you can do the job, they’ll make an exception.
The best way to find a decision maker, is to first find them on LinkedIn. Basically use the job posting, go to LinkedIn, pick the company you are interested in, and figure out who would be your next boss. Then look at the job description and figure out what the problem they’re trying to solve is. Do some research online to find how that problem affects the company and would cause them to hire someone for that position. The next step is to figure out how your skills and experience matches up to those needs. You can use an email finding website to figure out what their email address is, and send them something like this:
Hi NAME OF PERSON,
I recently came across SOME ARTICLES RELATED TO THE JOB OR PROBLEMS FACED BY THE COMPANY. I would love to set up a time to talk with you and discuss some of my experiences I have solving those same problems. For example, at PREVIOUS JOB, I GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW YOU SOLVED ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THEY’RE FACING.
I’m available to meet on DAY AND TIME. If a better time works for you, let me know and we can schedule it. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Why this approach works:
No one hires just to increase headcount. Companies hire because they have a problem to solve and need someone to help them solve it. By figuring out what the problem is, you demonstrate to the hiring manager that you “get it” and are already head and shoulders above your competition. By giving them examples of how you’ve solve that same problem, you show them that you can hit the ground running. I’ve used this same template to help many of my clients get a response. My current record between sending an email and getting scheduled for a phone screen is 40mins.
In conclusion, instead of wasting time trying to dream up some outrageous way to “be different” focus on the tried and proven methods of creating a resume that is specific to the job and reaching out the right way to the right people. I’m sure your odds will be on your side.