The actually “landing the job” portion of the job search is probably the toughest aspect of the hunt. Sure, you can draft a stellar resume, land a couple references, and create an online image, but when it comes down to it, you still need to follow-through if you want to be the perfect candidate.
One of the most important tactics when looking for a job is to reach employers directly. Why? Well, if the employer knows or notices you, you’ll have a better chance at actually landing that job. Although reaching employers directly may seem intimidating, and sometimes even impossible, you’ll have a better chance of it actually happening if you follow these tips:
Beat the ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are recruitment software, designed to pick out the right candidates for the job. Want to cross the finish line and reach employers directly? Beat the ATS by catering to what they’re looking for.
Many applicant tracking systems are formulated with certain standards, such as picking out select keywords. These keywords may be listed in the job description of the company site. You should put them in your application (as well as with context) in order to have the greatest chance at getting flagged by the ATS. Just be sure not to make common mistakes like stuffing your application with keywords or not following directions. You’ll lessen your chances at getting noticed if you do so.
The beauty of the modern-day job search is the fact that we have one thing that past generations didn’t: the social Web. Use it to your advantage by connecting with employers and their organizations directly. Tweet a question, notify them that you’ve submitted an application, praise their practices on Facebook, use job search platforms to connect directly. Above all, make sure you’re memorable and your name is noticed. That way, when there’s a stack of resumes or applications, yours will pop.
Go old school
Who says you can’t pick up the phone or send e-mails, meet in person anymore? Though they may seem outdated and old school, these methods worked in the past for a reason. Even if it’s just to follow-up, you can always make a quick phone call or shoot the employer a brief e-mail. With this tactic, try to do more than just talk about yourself. If you’re meeting for coffee, discuss the industry, ask specific questions. Attempt to start a conversation because this can always lead to more opportunities, as well as getting your foot in the door.
Get to the point
Employers are busy people. They want to find a match just as much as you do. So, don’t waste their time with miscellaneous details, documents, or requests. Submit the application the way they want it to be submitted. Only include items they request. Don’t get crazy with the follow-up. Above all, remember to brevity. Employers don’t have time to hear about that one time you met that famous industry leader. They want to hear how you can help them be better. By doing so, you’ll have a much better chance at not only reaching them directly, but also landing the job.
What do you think? How do you reach employers directly? What’s worked and what hasn’t?
Mary Marino is the founder of EmploymentPipeline.com, a job search resource that inspires job seekers to become their own recruiter. EmploymentPipeline.com has launched its “Occupation Pipeline” widget, a unique tool which enables users to perform broader career searches by sourcing occupations and employers, rather than job titles. Connect with Mary and EmploymentPipeline.com on Twitter and Facebook.