Picking your dream job is easy. Getting the interview… not so much.
Meeting the right people, at the right company, at the right time in order to get the perfect job, is a science. Here are a few tips to help you move from an admirer to an employee.
Do your research. Do you want to work for a small company? How many employees? What type of industry do you want to work in? Compile a list of target companies that meet your criteria, and begin to develop your value proposition.
Work your network. LinkedIn is a great resource for job seekers. Use it to identify contacts at your target companies that you can connect with, and to keep track of and stay in touch with your network. And do not forget about your friends, coworkers and family. They might be able to provide an introduction to someone.
Draft the cold email. If you cannot connect on LinkedIn with someone at your target company or cannot get an introduction, then send a cold email and directly introduce yourself. Sending a cold email is the least preferred method to make an introduction, and can be a bit awkward. To make sure you get traction, keep it short. Use this simple three-line email template:
Subject: ‘Some recent, very specific news involving their company’
I noticed the ‘recent, very specific new’…
Here’s is something I think you want or need, and here’s how I can provide that skill…
What’s the best way to get some time on your calendar?
(or Who do I need to get in contact with to talk about this?)
Prepare, prepare, prepare. When you get invited for an interview, make sure you are adequately prepared. Use and understand the nuances of the company’s product beforehand. Identify reasons why you like it, but also think about how you can improve it. Know the company culture. Be appropriately dressed, and discuss values the company finds important. Also, educate yourself on recent news surrounding the company.
Ask questions. When they ask, “Do you have any questions for me?” make sure you ask something! Have a few thoughtful questions about the company’s culture, product or the responsibilities of the position. Examples include: “What would be my biggest priority in this role?” and “Do you have any concerns about hiring me?”
Finish strong. Always end your conversation with “Thank you and…” Ask for another meeting, or tell them you will follow-up through email. In your email, be sure to reinforce what you can do for them, and give them a unique idea that can improve their product or business. If they expressed concerns about hiring you, address those with specific examples of how you can overcome each weakness.
Most importantly, be genuine and honest. Most people can detect insincerity within the first few minutes of a conversation. I will leave you with an insightful comment from a recent fireside speaker, Miro Kazakoff of testive.com, a SAT tutoring software:
“You’d rather have one person feel passionate about you than many people feel okay about you.”
Get the interview and make it count. Good luck!