Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you probably heard about the man who posed as a delivery person to get his resume seen by tech companies in San Francisco. And it worked- he’s received more than 10 interviews so far, which should be plenty to get a job offer.
The reality of job hunting is you need a way to stand out and the story above is just one way. I’m going to share with you four more ideas you can use to get around the competition, cut through the noise and get companies to take notice when you apply!
1. Apply to companies who aren’t hiring
This might sound crazy but think about it like this... The companies who post jobs online are the ones who receive hundreds of applicants. There’s so much competition that even if your resume is great it might only get a few seconds of attention.
So you should spend some of your time applying to companies that you genuinely want to work for, but aren’t hiring (or aren’t hiring for your position).
You want to look for growth-stage companies. That way when your application gets seen by a hiring manager, they’ll be thinking about whether they might need your skills in the future, instead of just right now.
To apply, send an email to somebody in the department you want to work for, or to a general company inbox. Attach your resume and then mention specific details about what you’re good at, what you’ve accomplished, and how you’d help them. Be clear and talk about tangible benefits you’d bring to the organization.
Don’t be vague and don’t generalize. You want them to see exactly why they should hire you and what benefit they’d get if you started there tomorrow.
I also like to include this at the very bottom of my emails when I’m not sure who is going to see it first (such as when you’re using a general company email address):
“P.S.- I wasn’t sure if this is the right email address to use. Please make sure whoever is in the best position to make a decision sees this message. Thanks for considering my note today”.
That way if a receptionist or administrative person sees it first, they’ll think twice before deleting.
2. Send a video
This is a popular tactic with freelancers right now. Instead of sending a written proposal, many freelancers are sending video proposals where they talk about what they’d do if they are awarded the job.
Fortunately for you, not very many people are doing it when applying for full time jobs (yet).
So along with your resume, record a brief video of you talking about why you thought to apply for this job, what your strengths are, and what you’d do if you were hired. Make it about them as much as possible and show them you’ve done your research about their product and overall market.
Even a video recorded with your cell phone is okay, just dress appropriately and find a background that isn’t too distracting. You can upload it to YouTube, make it private, and send them the URL with a message saying, “I also recorded this short video for you.” Make sure the content is personalized so they can tell it was created just for them.
If you feel stuck in your career, there’s a chance your location is to blame. You might need somewhere with more opportunities or less competition in your industry. While one city might be flooded with people who have your experience, another city or state might be starving for that same skill set.
So the solution is applying for jobs out of state. Relocation isn’t easy, but you can at least have some conversations and weigh your options.
You’re not obligated to move if you decide it’s not worth it, but applying and having some phone interviews will give you a sense of what else is out there.
4. Network (the old way)
Getting referred to a company by someone they already know is one of the best ways to get hired. Companies will always trust you more if you come recommended. This is the single biggest advantage you can gain when competing for a job opening.
But if you’re relying on online networking it’s going to be difficult to make meaningful relationships. That’s why I recommend doing things the old way, and meeting people in person. Here’s how…
Go search for events, talks or meetups related to your industry in your city. You can use websites like Meetup.com to save time.
Go early and introduce yourself to people. Don’t ask them directly if they know about any job openings, but do mention that you’re looking for opportunities (after telling them what your skills are).
Here’s one more great trick you can use. I learned this from a copywriter named Jesse Forrest (he uses this as a freelancer). After the talk, have a question ready to ask. Be one of the first people to ask a question. When you do stand up to ask, introduce yourself first by describing your skills.
Here’s an example: “Hi, my name is Biron and I’m a Tech Recruiter. My question is about…”
Now everyone in the room knows what you do, and anyone who wants to find out more will come speak with you.
If I did that and someone in the room needed a Recruiter or had a question about hiring in the tech industry, you can bet they’d come over and ask a few questions after.
If you use the strategies above, you’re going to get more interviews with fewer job applications, less frustration, and a lot less time.
Biron is an author, former NYC tech recruiter, and founder of the blog CareerSidekick. He’s passionate about online business, technology and travel, and his writing has been featured in Business.com, Mashable and more.