We’re about to break a belief held by many job seekers—you know, the one that says submit your resume then sit back and hope for the best.
While most of the world may function like that, you don’t have to let your fate be determined by your place in the application stack. And you certainly don’t have to just hope you have the right keywords scattered throughout your resume to get you noticed.
If you want a job, you have one job (and some due diligence tasks within it). Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make your success happen. Don’t just submit your resume and hope for the best--because that’s exactly what most people are doing.
Certainly you’ll want to follow all our great job seeker tips, like sprucing up your resume, cleaning up your social profiles, networking wherever you go, and of course, asking great question at the interview. But once it’s all said and done, there are a few things you can do to really stand out from the crowd—and prove you’ve got what it takes to succeed at the job of your dreams.
Connect with decision-makers and the people around them
In networking, don’t just expect to be hired after a single meeting (or worse, none). Be strategic, and follow the decision makers and people you meet while networking on their social channels. Get to know them, be a part of their community and see how you can add value to their current projects. Care about what they’re doing right now, and what they actually care about. Then engage with them on those things. When the time comes to submit your application, you’ll know someone on the inside and have a better shot than the faceless applicants.
Connect on LinkedIn after you submit your resume
Nothing says you are interested in the job and shows off your tech-savvy (and research) skills like pursuing the decision-makers after you apply. If you’re about to apply for a job, hop online and figure out who is up in the company ranks, and who will likely be viewing your application. Once you find a name or two, shoot them an email on LinkedIn letting them know that you just submitted your resume for such-and-such position, and that you are really excited about connecting with them in the near future. They’ll not only see your face from the start (and, hopefully, a fleshed out LI profile too), but they’ll get a gentle, personal nudge to dig your application out of the stack for deeper consideration.
Get the experience you need
If you don’t have the experience for the job you want, you should do whatever (ethically) you can to get some. Work your day job doing whatever you do, even if you don’t love it, then use your nights to do the work you care about, even if for free. Interning somewhere in the evenings or working at a startup after hours (they often have flexible hours or allow for remote work) can give you the experience and resume boost you need to get the job. You’ll also show you have what it takes to do what it takes.
Offer your services for free
Hiring anybody (including you) can seem risky to any company. They don’t know you, or how you will work. But if you know you have what it takes, and wish someone would give just you the chance to prove it, jump into action. Connect with a decision-maker and let them know you’ll work for X amount of time, or on a particular project, for free to show a sample of what you can do. Not only will it show amazing initiative, but it’ll demonstrate your ability to excel—and also back up your forthcoming salary request.
Just start doing the job
Don’t just sit around waiting for a yes. Start doing the job whether or not you’ve made a connection yet. What do we mean? Well, let’s say you want to work with an agency that works with big name clients like HP or Facebook. Instead of simply applying for the job, show them what you can bring to the job. What is your desired role with the company? Figure out what you can do to show them how valuable you are. Do some research for them. Build a mock website. Start building friendships and relationships with prospects. Even though the legwork you do for the company is unpaid, you’ll be able to prove that you’re more than just talk. And since you’re already doing the job, they might just start paying you for it.