First let's assume here that you know what job you're looking for. If you're not sure, you can find advice here to find your passion, which should help you move forward and narrow down how you would like to spend your working days.
The idea of this article is to ditch the usual approach to job searching...
Don't send 20 CVs per day and wait that something happens. Doing so drains your energy and you end up applying for anything. Just as everyone else.
That's a terrible strategy that I used to use, and on top of being highly inefficient, it's very depressing.
Instead, you should pick the companies you would really like to work for and try to get in, even if they don't have any job advertised.
Here is the step by step approach, inspired by Ramit Sethi's videos and courses.
This is no guarantee to land a job - especially if the company you want to work for isn't looking for anyone.
What this article can do though is increase your chances to get into the door and get an interview before the job you want is even advertised.
Or if there is an advertised job that you fancy, applying these techniques will definitely put you way ahead of other candidates.
1 - Find a few companies you would really like to work for
Browse the internet to find the perfect companies for you. I know many offer remote jobs now, but to use this technique you actually need to be around to meet people in the company.
2 - Be clear about your skills, about what you can bring on the table
Forget about the job offers all together for a moment and focus on your skills, on what you would like to do, what you would like to learn.
The implicit thing here is that you feel confident about what you can offer to the company.
Maybe you know you're a good sales person, and you feel you could help with that. Or you're a creative designer and you always got good ideas on improving a company's site or product. Maybe you specialize in conversions and know you can improve any site page.
3 - Find out what are the main challenges of these companies
Then, you will need to be familiar with what they do, explore their site, read their blogs and news, their company culture, and then…
4 - Take some employees for coffee
Because social media is everywhere, it shouldn't be that hard to find out who is working at what position in the company.
The "Our team" page of their site, Facebook page, LinkedIn profiles should get you these info.
Get in touch with someone in the company, and ask her if she will be willing to meet you for coffee as you need her help.
Tell her that you know she works at that company, and that she's in a position to help you understand the needs of that company. You're curious and excited to know more.
Because you know exactly what position you want, ask someone fairly related to your position, however, don't ask the CEO or any high level position. Ask an average position employee as they are rarely solicited and they will be more happy and available to answer you.
5 - Uncover what you need to know
The idea here is to ask questions that will be useful for your future interview.
During your interview, you want to say that you know what the company needs at the moment, and that you can help them to sort out just that.
Ask what are the biggest problems and challenges of the company. Probe where you could bring help. If you can find numbers to illustrate these problems, better.
Figure out exactly who can help you with what you're trying to accomplish, and ask for an introduction if necessary.
You also need to know the interview process… obviously the employees know it.
The goal here is to assemble a team of people who have your best interest in mind.
Show them that you're worthy of being helped. Do your homework before meeting them, and follow up on their advice afterwards. Keep them informed of your progresses, as people like to know they managed to help.
Your end goal should be to get an introduction to the person who has the authority to hire you for the job you want. And to be 100% qualified and prepared to ask for it by the time you get there.
You do have access to many people… You might just fail to recognize who they are.
Check your network and send a few cold emails.
6 - Preparing the interview the right way
Every hiring manager number 1 question is: « Why should I hire you? »
If you answer « Because I’m hard working, reliable, passionate and smart » - Great, so is every college kid across the street… (that's Ramit's hour by the way...)
Same for « I really believe I can make a great contribution ».
Even if it comes from the heart, it doesn't work.
7 - You have to show that guy why you're the best solution to his problems
Not necessarily a more experienced or better technician, but a better hire.
How? By knowing and understanding the issues they care about the most.
The interview should be like a discussion, not an interview really. If you already went for coffee before with one or a few employees, it will be way easier on D day, because you understand their problems and you can communicate them with their words, better than anyone else.
Link the challenges of the company with your skills, and back that up with measurable results of your past experiences.
That's proof that you can do the job.
Use the briefcase technique, pulling out documents of what you would do for them in the first 30, 60 and 90 days. Really, check out this video, it is that good.
The problem has shifted from hiring you or not, to either or not the hiring manager wants the benefits you just proved you could bring to the company.
But to be able to present this, you need to prepare well.
9 - A few more general advices
- Don’t talk much about yourself in the interview, it's usually better to talk less (maybe the guy will ask you to tell more, then you develop), but 30-45sec per answer is great.
- Use the words they use.
- Smile more, be enthusiastic about the new job!
- Stories are critical, use them. Try to have like 10 stories ready to go about how you overcame this and that situation. Be specific.
- Personality is more important than technical stuff.
I hope these recommendations will lead you to more clarity on what your future employer is actually looking for in you.
Prepare well, and be bold. It might just work.