Picture the scenario: You’re unemployed, or you’re not in the right job (you know, the one that causes you to smile while sleeping). You have heard all of the right advice from all of the right experts; your resume is perfect, you have crafted cover letter, and you have even role-played interview questions with your mentor. What’s next?
You begin applying to every position you think you have the skills to perform.
Landing the right role, in today’s job market, is similar to applying for a credit card… the more positions you apply to (at one company) – the more your value, in the eyes of that company, decreases. Think about it, when you apply for 10 credit cards, what happens? Yes, that’s it – your credit score DECREASES. The same is true when applying for jobs today.
You Will Be Remembered By Your Passion Or The Lack Thereof
Employers today are looking for the most qualified candidate with a true passion for the work that he/she performs. Let’s not forget, most companies have 500+ candidates applying for each and every job they post. Only those candidates that leave a positive impression, as it relates to the entire recruiting process, receive the interview and chances are will land the job. While it may appear to candidates that the best way to land a job is to apply to everything, it is actually the worst thing one can do as it relates to showcasing one’s brand. It gives the appearance that you are unfocused.
President Obama Only Applied To ONE JOB
Regardless of your political affiliation, you can see a recurring theme here. Find the one thing you firmly believe you are good at, aligned with your passion, and only apply to the roles that allow you to do that. Now, I understand – when you are unemployed you simply want to land A JOB. But in today’s job market, candidates who can clearly show passion in the jobs they apply to, begin to build brand awareness of their skill set. And, oftentimes, they will receive regular calls from recruiters prior to jobs being posted.
A great recruiter is known by his/her network and how quickly they can locate diverse top talent for the organization. If a recruiter can quickly call their top three Brand Strategy & Marketing candidates for the newly posted Director role instead of waiting for the hundreds of qualified, and unqualified candidates, to apply – guess who gets the informational meeting or the interview FIRST?
Sage Advice: Apply To 1 – 2 Jobs Per Company Per Month Instead
So, you applied to the one or two positions that fit your skill set. It’s obvious the company somehow took a peek at your resume BEFORE they posted the role, as every single line seems to read your name – IN BOLD. You sit and wait, wait and sit; maybe you even searched LinkedIn for the top recruiter to contact ensuring your resume is seen. You bite your nails right before reality sits in, you were not chosen to interview. Bummer! How dare they ignore you and the value you bring to the table?
So, now what?
This is the time when you network your way into the job you want.
I’ve often found candidates with skills who didn’t land the job as well as candidates who didn’t have all the skills but are receiving the new company badge, business cards, and corner office. So, there’s got to be something to this thing called NETWORKING. It’s clear, just having the right skills doesn’t cut it in today’s marketplace.
Now, think back to the 1-2 jobs you just applied to but didn’t get – the first step is to develop a relationship with the recruiter. Making this extremely important person in the hiring process your best friend is crucial. That doesn’t mean you stalk them or buy lavish gifts, but regularly follow-up with him/her to make them aware of your continued interest in the company.
In every communication, make sure to highlight the area in which you’re passionate about (Marketing, Finance, Development, Script Writing, etc.). At some point, you can even invite the recruiter to coffee or lunch – but this can be tricky – take the lead from your recruiter and his/her openness to such an invitation. Your objective is to always be seen as a top candidate who just hasn’t found the right role within the company – not the pestering candidate who doesn’t understand “NO.”
The second step is to reconnect with the hiring manager by locating the top organizations that cater to the leaders in that industry. For example, in the Entertainment Industry, NAMIC (National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications) would be at the top of my list if I were trying to network with industry leaders. Your objective is to be in the places they are, again, without being seen as a stalker.
The more you get involved…
- The more likely you’ll increase your network.
- The more likely you’ll run into the hiring managers that said no.
- The more chances you’ll have to convince them they made the wrong decision.
- The more likely you’ll receive a call when the next opportunity presents itself.
Today’s job market has redefined how companies recruit, requiring top candidates to redefine how they get noticed. As a candidate, it is important to always be mindful of the brand you are displaying and polish that brand regularly in a way that brings positive attention to the skills and attributes you bring to the table. Don’t fall into the trap of applying to everything; instead polish your brand and network, network, network. I have yet to meet the candidate who just applied online and landed the job – I am sure s/he exist – I have simply never met him/her. But I constantly meet the candidate who made a lasting impression upon the company, built relationships, and networked their way into a role. That candidate can be YOU.
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