Want to Get Hired? Follow This 5-Step Strategy
Companies are always looking for qualified, passionate candidates to add value to their business, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to land a great job. It’s challenging to snag one you feel is right for you, and sometimes it’s simply because you’ve been overlooking some aspects of the job search.
Instead of applying haphazardly and hoping to get hired, devise an intentional strategy aimed at securing the job you want. If you get stuck in the process, turn to our career coaches for advice. In the meantime, here is a five-step strategy to help you nab your dream job.
1. Use your network
One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is neglecting to network. In simple terms, networking means creating connections with other professionals who can help you succeed in your career. It’s not a one-way street, though—if you want to reap the benefits of networking, you have to prove useful to your connections as well.
Networking can manifest in different ways. Start with your family and friends. Is there anyone in this group of people who can help you get the job you want? Having a personal connection with someone in a company you want to work for can be worth even more than qualifications and skills.
Then, reach out to professionals in your field or who work at companies you’re interested in. A great way to connect with such people is through LinkedIn. Professionals across all industries gather on this online platform, happy to help others as they advance their own careers. You can connect with people who can help boost your chances of getting a job by recommending you to their boss or endorsing you on LinkedIn, which can help convince hiring managers of your value.
Also, get involved in online groups and chats about your field. This not only puts you in touch with ambitious fellow professionals but also keeps you up to date on what’s happening in your industry. Does networking take time? Of course, but it’s worth it for career development and job opportunities.
2. Pen a spectacular cover letter
It’s always best to include a cover letter with your resume unless the job posting specifically says not to do it. However, many people submit generic or lackluster cover letters that detract from their application and may cause the hiring manager to lose interest in them entirely.
The goal of the cover letter is to pique the recruiter’s interest and make them want to read your resume. It doesn’t simply list your qualifications—that’s what the resume is for. Instead, it’s a persuasive letter that shows why you’re a top candidate for the job. It should end with a call to action alluding to future contact with the hiring manager. For example, you can close with “I am looking forward to discussing this position in more detail.” This demonstrates confidence without being too pushy or telling the hiring manager what to do.
A cover letter can make all the difference to your job application, so take the time to make it shine. Need help creating a remarkable cover letter? Contact our cover letter and resume experts.
3. Create a job-specific resume
A well-crafted cover letter should be accompanied by a job-specific resume. Each position you apply for needs a resume tailored to that specific job. While tweaking your resume for several different jobs may not be fun, it’s the only way to land a good job. If you could get hired with a generic resume, it probably wouldn’t be a great job.
First, read the job description thoroughly and mark any keywords or requirements. After filtering out the ones that don’t apply to you, find ways to incorporate the rest into your resume. Why is this important? Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATSs) that filter resumes based on certain specifications, generally the keywords used in the job description. So, if you don’t use the right keywords, your resume will never even make it to the hiring manager.
Next, focus on your skills, which are what proves your expertise. However, you also need to prove you possess these skills since anyone can say they have a given skill. Throughout your resume, use examples of previous achievements to provide this proof. What does this look like? For example, you may have listed “developing new marketing strategies” as one of your skills. In your work history, you can prove it by saying something like “Developed a new marketing strategy that helped increase seasonal sales by 33%.” Now, you’ve quantified your skill by naming a specific achievement it fueled, and hiring managers can easily see the value you could bring to their company.
Finally, the best way to craft a killer resume is to hire a professional resume writer. Putting together a resume on your own can be stressful and time-consuming, and it probably still won’t be as good as one crafted by a professional. A good resume can make a huge difference to your career trajectory, so consider investing in a professionally written, expertly tailored resume.
4. Highlight your value
Whether on your resume or in the interview, always highlight your value as an employee. How did you support the mission of your previous employer? What quantifiable results prove the value of your work? How have you kept honing your skills?
Think through these questions so you can show the hiring manager that their company needs you. The more specific you are, the better your chances of getting the job. Always provide numbers if you can, but hold back if this would mean divulging another company’s secrets. For this reason, percentages are always preferable to exact figures.
5. Prepare for the interview
Your final opportunity to impress the hiring manager is the interview. This is the time for you to seal the deal and land the job, but it’ll take some preparation to feel confident and ace the interview.
First, research the company. The more you know about it, the more effectively you can link your qualifications and skills to the position and the organization’s mission. If you have no idea what the company does or what its mission is, you’ll pale in comparison to any peers who have done proper research. Of course, you won’t be able to learn everything about the company, but do your best to get as much information as possible by searching its website and reading up on its products or services. Another benefit of this research is that you can determine whether your values align with those of the company and whether you want to be a part of its culture—it’s always best to figure this out before getting the job.
Next, have questions ready to ask the hiring manager, such as, “What is expected of a person in this role?” “Why do you enjoy working for this company?” or “What are the most important qualifications for this job?” These types of questions show engagement in the interview and interest in the job. Be ready to ask questions—hiring managers are always happy to hear them!
Finally, be prepared to clarify or elaborate on anything you included in your resume. Hiring managers usually ask for more details about quantifiable results, so take stock of the achievements you included and consider how you want to explain them in advance so you can present the story smoothly and confidently. The best way to prepare for a job interview is to do a mock interview. Contact our mock interview experts for insight on how to have the most productive interview.
There are never any guarantees in a job search, but you can certainly increase your chances of getting hired by following the advice presented in this post. Need help with mapping out your job search strategy? Get in touch with our career coaches for personalized advice.