It’s a fact that only around 25% of jobs are advertised. Most jobs are received through the “hidden job market” which we will discuss in our next post. I also recommend you spend 90% of your time on the hidden job market and only 10% of your time to applying for jobs online.
That being said, if there is a great job for you advertised, by all means, do take the time to apply for it.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed in getting hired into a job you apply for:
- Ensure you have an amazing resume.
You’ll be competing with perhaps upwards to a thousand people or more, and your resume needs to stand out as one of the top 20-30. It needs to have a strong summary section on the top third of the first page – it maybe be glanced at for perhaps 6 seconds when the decision is made whether or not to put it in the “keep” pile. Or, if an applicant tracking system (computer) is reviewing the resume, it will need to be full of the correct keywords for the industry and the job description.
Also, if it makes it to the hiring manager’s desk, it must clearly articulate your value and why he or she should hire you – why you are the best. If you don’t really dive deep into understanding your value, communicating your brand, and articulating your accomplishments, it won’t have the “sizzle” it needs to really amaze the hiring manager.
If your resume doesn’t appeal to the person giving your resume a quick scan, the ATS system looking for keywords, AND the hiring manager evaluating the value you bring, you won’t land an interview. Yes, your resume has to be that good.
- Track down the hiring manager and send him or her your materials directly.
You should apply for the position in the way you are instructed to, which usually means filling out an online application. Do this carefully and thoughtfully filling in all requested fields. The resume text you post should be in ASCII format. Then, track down the hiring manager for the position.
Since LinkedIn came on the scene, this is not as difficult as one might think. Most likely, the hiring manager will be the departmental manager for the group in which the role will be reporting to. For example, a Market Research Analyst will report to the Director of Market Research, who in turn reports to either the VP of Marketing or the CMO. The VP of Chief Person of a group will manage all of the directors or managers of that group. You can use the advanced search function on LinkedIn to identify the hiring manager.
This is NOT the time to connect with that person on LinkedIn. You simply want to find out their name and title. You will send them a resume and a cover letter directly – either through email if you find their address or snail mail (USPS) if needed. If the company is local, you may even want to put on a suit and drive the resume in and leave it with the receptionist.
- Prepare and practice for the interview.
Practice common interview questions you may anticipate. Develop good answers to “problem questions” that you anticipate being asked, such as why you left your last position or why you have an employment gap. Be able to articulate what your strengths are and why you are the best person for the job. Be ready to ask intelligent questions. In addition, be sure to ask the hiring manager what they expect the person in this role to accomplish in the first 90 days on the job (you’ll use this in follow-up).
- Follow-up with enthusiasm and a 90-day action plan.
Write out your thank-you notes in the parking lot and hand deliver them into the receptionist, writing a note for each person you interviewed with.
Go home and write out a “90-day action plan” – use the intelligence you gathered in your interview to fill in what you plan to accomplish on your first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job. Then, immediately put this in the USPS mail. The hiring manager will receive your 90-day action plan at about the same time he or she receives the others’ thank you notes. This will help you to stand out – you’ll look brilliant and miles ahead of everyone else.
Again, only 25% of jobs are advertised and it’s of utmost importance to tap the hidden job market, but when you do apply for jobs, these tips will help you to excel and give you your best shot of getting hired.
In our next article we’ll talk about tapping the hidden job market – where 75% of jobs are.