Landing the interview – it’s time to get tactical
Today’s job hunter can’t rely on traditional methods of finding a job, these now should be combined with more innovative and sophisticated techniques. Below is a guide on how to get an interview – the strategic way!
Enhancing the Classics
1) Do your research. Be proactive. Who do you want to work for? Why? What job do you want to do? In what ways will you be good at it? What’s your mission statement? Being clear about what you’re looking for and why will save a lot of time and make your job search targeted and focused
2) Apply to a job advert. Whether in the paper or on a job board such as Monster or Jobsite, sending your CV to an advertised post is a direct and easy way to apply for a job. Unfortunately, thousands of other applicants are doing the same thing. An employer takes just 8 seconds to read a CV, so the chances of getting a job this way, especially if you’re looking to change career or have little experience in the field, are slim. (For more on how to write the perfect CV, see my article ‘How to write the perfect CV in 10 steps’). To maximise your chances of getting an interview this way, follow best practice; write a compelling covering letter, ensure your CV is relevant and well-presented, send it both by email and by post, follow up with a polite phone call to ensure it arrived and find out timescales. The major problem with this method is that once you’ve applied to an ad, the ball is firmly out of your court and there isn’t much you can do proactively that won’t be met with a, “we’ll be in touch should your application be successful”
3) Sign up with an agency. Yes, there are some quality ones out there. Find an industry specialist, identify the best consultant to work on your behalf (get a recommendation), meet them to develop a relationship and encourage them to be proactive. A decent recruitment consultant can give you great advice, open doors for you and devote time and energy to getting you the right role. Make sure you interview them too though, and get them to agree what they will do on your behalf, and where they’ll send your CV.
4) Use your network. Conferences, exhibitions, golf days, office parties or awards ceremonies are great ways to network your way to your next position. Do make sure you’re always representing yourself professionally though, a great industry reputation can quickly be soured by a few too many drinks. There are any number of networking organisations you can join to promote your career aspirations, such as BNI or WiRE. Of course, a huge amount of networking is now done online, Linked In for example is a smart way to find out who’s who in the industry, which companies are growing, what experience companies look for and who you need to contact to get an interview
1) Get yourself headhunted. Get noticed by the right people, either hiring managers or search firms and then take your pick of interviews. You need to do something exceptional to make this happen, such as winning an award, speaking at a conference or having a promotion noted in the trade press. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s a very powerful one
2) Use social media. Follow companies you like on Twitter, Linked In and Facebook. Get yourself noticed by commenting (relevantly) on their posts. Contact managers through them. Start your own pages about your search and what you’re looking for. Be proactive, professionally knowledgeable and pertinent
3) Research a target company, approach them. Once you’ve done your groundwork and are very clear about the role and company you are looking for and have a target list of approximately 15 companies which match that brief, be proactive. Contact that organisation explaining exactly why you are relevant and why they should interview you. Companies very often can create roles for the right people. Make sure that it’s you, not somebody else
1) Display stalkerish behaviour. Know when to stop calling and move on.
2) Seem desperate. Play it cool, make them want you.
3) Apply for everything. Be strategic.
4) Bitch. Never tell a potential interviewer how terrible your boss is.
5) Moan. Put a positive spin on situations – there always is one. For example, “I was made redundant 6 months ago and can’t find another job. If I don’t get this one I’m giving up” could become, “Company-wide redundancies 6 months ago meant I’ve had an opportunity to volunteer and gain experience in my chosen field”.
6) Panic. You’ve always got options, you’ve always got control.
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