So you’ve found a job that you really want, but don’t know how to make yourself stand out or get the company to really notice you. Well, the good news is that there are several ways you can go above and beyond to stand out against other candidates and possibly get the civilian job you want.
Most companies these days are on social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Follow them everywhere to figure out their core mission and values. Attend events if you can. Try to engage with them on social media in a relevant way. In addition, many companies may post job openings on Twitter or Facebook, so you’ll always be up to date on the latest opportunities.
Google is Your Friend
Set up a news alert so that every time this company is in the news, you get an email. Staying up to date on the company’s latest accomplishments, new products and any other changes will give you an advantage and help with #1 – engaging with them in a meaningful way.
Network through LinkedIn
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one right now. No, seriously, stop reading this, create one and then come back. I can wait. Many companies have profiles on LinkedIn, many recruiters look for candidates on LinkedIn, and the best part? You can search for people who work for that company on LinkedIn, who you may already know, or could be just an introduction away. One of the best ways to network is to have a friend introduce you to someone at the company you want to work for, and then develop a relationship with them.
Many companies have employee referral programs and take very seriously the candidates that come to them via a current employee. If you find someone on LinkedIn that works for the company you’d like to join but is not connected to anyone you know, there is no harm in sending them a note anyway, asking if they’d be willing to talk to you more about the company and what they do. The worst they can do is say no, or maybe they will introduce you to someone who can help even more. Be bold and use professional networking sites like this to your advantage.
Follow Up and Be Persistent
There is definitely such a thing as being overbearing in your networking – sending unsolicited emails multiple times a week, or even hunting down phone numbers to cold call people. However, there is also such a thing as being persistent in a professional way – once you have contact on the inside, realize that while they are busy, they are probably not ignoring you on purpose. Sending emails every couple of weeks is fine, but try to do so with a purpose – maybe try to set up an informational interview over coffee. Your advantage will come from meeting in person to establish that all important relationship.
It will also help you to figure out if the company culture is even right for you. It will also make it easier when someone can say, “not only is this candidate qualified on paper, but they have the personality traits that will help them succeed in this environment.” I once applied for the same job three times before the company ever took notice – but in-between applications I established professional relationships with people who worked there. So, the third time did, in fact, wind up being the charm.
Finding a job can be a frustrating process. But luckily, you have many tools at your disposable to make it less painful and help you stand out as a candidate. If you use them to your advantage, it won’t be long before you start building a network of contacts and landing that job!