When everyone is hiring, then anyone can get a job. But our market today is still tougher than that. Besides, who wants just any job?
In today’s job market you need to do something differently than everyone else to land the job. That’s where a targeted job search is the smart way to find the job and land the job that you want.
Start by knowing where you’d like to work. Most people know what job field and industry. But do you know what company you’d like to work for? Maybe you know what department within the company you’d like to work for.
Once you’ve identified three companies that you’d like to work for, your research begins. You need to understand the company and the company’s needs. Then you need to understand which departments are hiring and who they hire. Be sure to understand what characteristics they look for. These are the entry positions to working within this company and one of these positions could be your first job in this company.
Target one or two of these positions. Find out who is the decision maker about hiring new people. Next, find that person or a way to contact that person. Typically, you can’t directly contact this person, but you can find a contact of yours that knows him/her. Ideally you use your contact as a reference (with their permission) and eventually mention them in your cover letter. “Jane Smith suggested that I contact you” or “Joe Smith referred me to you to talk about this job.”
If you can’t connect to the decision maker through a contact, try to reach them through a professional affiliation. If you belong the same professional network, or Linked-In group you can mention that group.
If you can find multiple ways of connecting informally, then do so. You shouldn’t be ‘hard selling’ or asking for the position. Now apply both through the website and also try to mail a resume directly to them, or get your contact to pass a resume to them.
Job applicants with a credible reference or referral will attract more serious consideration than the pile of job applications without a reference.
When you apply for this job you should target your resume to the position. Move positions that demonstrate your mastery of those key characteristics the company looks for to the top of your resume. Bullet-ize your cover letter to feature those characteristics and how you meet them.
You are building trust with your future employer. If they trust your reference, you gain trust. If the decision maker trusts your affiliations, you gain more trust. If your cover letter really shows you understand their needs, you build even more trust. While you won’t win every job, you have increased your odds and shortened your search.
Finally, you may gain the job of the entry position. Now you will target the next level within the company to move toward (wiggle) the job of your dreams.