Are you currently engaged in a job search? Although it can be fun, it probably isn’t because, quite frankly, it’s work, work that’s often stressful to boot! And usually a lot of work. Which, if you’re working while looking for other work, is almost unworkable. Obviously, the goal is to get hired and get hired as quickly as possible. We know that you’ve put together a list of targeted employers designed to make your job search as efficient as possible, right? Just having a great list, however, isn’t sufficient if you don’t work it effectively. Here, then, are our tips to work your list of targeted employers in order to get hired quickly.
Do. Not. Procrastinate. As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present. Some things can be put off until another day. Working your list of targeted employers isn’t one of them. One day may mean the difference between an interview and a rejection letter (or worse yet, the sound of crickets…). If you want to get hired, get to work!
Be clear about why. Start a research folder on each company and the industry it represents. Read everything you can about the company_ press releases, the company website, annual reports, etc. Keep notes about the key facts you learn, what interests you about the company, challenges they are facing in the industry and the market, names of the movers and shakers in the company, and thoughts about where you would “fit” best in the company and add value.
Use all the tools at your disposal. Know someone at one of your potentials? Communicate with them to see if they can help get you an interview or at least steer you in the right direction. Already doing business with a company on your list? Use your next interaction to demonstrate why you would be an asset. Let someone know. You can blow your own horn without making it seem that way. Have specific expertise that makes you a perfect fit for an employer on your list? Incorporate that fact into your initial communication. If you’ve done a good job of researching to create your list, it will have information you can use to fine tune your contact with your targeted employers.
Link up on LinkedIn. Search for each of the companies on your list of targets on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will return a list of everyone in your network who currently works at the company or have worked at it in the past. Reach out. Establish a dialogue! Both current and past employees of the company are invaluable sources of information about the company, the main players, and possible opportunities. They may even be able to introduce you to the “right” people in the company.
Be a follower. Set up Google Alerts to receive regular emails alerting you to news regarding the companies you are interested in. Check the company’s website on a regular basis and make sure to subscribe to any RSS feeds available. Follow the company page on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
Identify the players. If you don’t know who the hiring manager is, find out. If possible, attempt to identify those people who would be your peers or managers and see if there’s something that connects you to them (for example, alma mater, fraternity/sorority, social organization). Establishing common ground early in a relationship facilitates communication.
Take it from the top. Focus on those employers you believe offer you the best chance of getting hired. Although there may be more attractive options on your list and you should certainly pursue them, going exclusively after a reach, while exciting, lessens your odds of getting hired quickly for two reasons: 1) It’s a long shot; and 2) It detracts from your efforts to pursue opportunities more likely to come to fruition. It’s technically not procrastination, but it has the same possible outcome-by the time you get around to some of these employers, the job may no longer be open. Allocate and prioritize your time wisely.
Be organized. When you sit down to complete an online employment application, for example, be sure you have all the information you’re going to need at your fingertips. Choose an environment that allows you to complete the process with a minimum of distractions. Interruptions are frustrating and may even cause you to abort the session, forcing you to start from scratch at a later date (and later may be too late – did we mention what a delay can do to a potential job opportunity?).
Stay organized. Use a method that works best for you to keep track of where you are in the process. Spreadsheet, pocket diary, desk calendar, virtual post-its on your desktop, whatever you use effectively, use it religiously. You’ll avoid redundancies in your efforts and you’ll also minimize the number of opportunities that slip through the cracks.
If you have your own system of working lists you create, use it. Whatever you do, however, stay focused. Be wise, keep your eyes on the prize, prioritize. If you want to get hired quickly, act like it.