Hunting for a new job is daunting. While it may start off with rainbows and illusions of grandeur, it quickly becomes overwhelming after dozens (or hundreds) of applications and zero call-backs.
Having landed some great gigs at great companies the past 10 years, here are a few of my suggestions for getting that job you really want.
Find the company that makes your heart leap!
Instead of perusing lists and lists of open jobs, first look into stellar companies in your city (or dream city). Research the company – dive deep within their corporate website, search online for local and national press coverage, stalk their social media pages, and find out what they’re doing in the community. Your heart should leap as you learn about the company and its culture. Training and development should be something you’re actively looking for in a company, as well. You’ll get a good sense of “fit” right away.
Find a seat on the rocket ship.
Now that you’ve found your dream company, find a seat on that rocket ship.
Even if your dream job isn’t necessarily open, find another gig that may be a good fit that you could use to get your foot in the door, and eventually promote from within. Many stellar companies like to promote from the bottom up, and as you gain a reputation for excellence, you will make a name for yourself and make great connections along the way who will help you rise to the top.
Prepare a killer resume and cover letter.
Hiring managers peruse resumes all day every day. What makes you different than the rest? Obviously, education and experience are key, but there are other ways to stand out too.
I have been involved in ample charity and community service work in my professional life (thank you, single girl life), so I created a space on my resume for “Professional Activities and Leadership Development.” Fancy title for “Ways I Give Back & Am Awesome.”
Remember, your resume is your place to pat yourself on the back. No humility here.
Here I listed all of the Chamber of Commerce’s, Young Professionals Organizations, non-profit Charity works and events that I spearheaded and spent time being involved in, even my half marathon and world travels I’ve embarked upon. This space takes up 1/3 of my resume, but it’s truly what I’m passionate about and believe it’s my point of differentiation amongst others who are competing for the job I want.
In my last interview with the stellar company I currently work for, my now-boss commented on how much he loved this part of my resume and the fact it was creative and shows a different side of who I am and what I bring to the table.
Ultimately, I landed the job in large part because of how my personal life was a great “fit” for the company, as much as my professional skills.
Be persistent & ace the interview.
Call and email HR regularly until you get a “no” or an interview – hopefully the latter! Find out who is handling the hiring of the job you want, and let them know you think you’re a great fit for their organization and would love the opportunity to interview. Be persistent. Show confidence in yourself and ask for the interview!
For your interview, plan to overdress for the part. I always wore a suit to my interviews and it gave me such an air of confidence! Thoroughly research the job and company and come in with bullet points in your mind about why you want to work for this company, what you know about them and how they operate, and a bit about their competitors. Bring thought-out questions. Show confidence, experience, a positive outlook on life, and teachability.
After you get the interview, ensure you follow up with a thank you email and handwritten note. Continue checking in once a week or so with your interviewers until they offer you the job. Negotiate for what you think you’re worth and what the market currently is, then buy yourself a new outfit and get ready for your first day. Congratulations!