The Digital Revolution have changed the job search process. Everything has been flipped and changed. Old advice doesn’t work anymore.
After years of experimentation and studying many books and even taking some premium courses, I’ve found out what works in the new world when it comes to getting a job interview that you care about and acing it.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Job Boards are Black Holes You Should Avoid
You know those generic job boards that post every job under the sun? Like Indeed.com, Zip Recruiter, and Monster?
Don’t use those. I learned the hard way that only the crappiest jobs get on there and each of these listings get hundreds of applications (go figure when you offer a 1-click apply button). You won’t stand out or even get seen.
It’s almost impossible to get a job or filter through the resumes. Employers are flooded with thousands of resumes for positions; more than they can bother looking at.
They will give each resume a few seconds max.
Nowadays, this is the default and laziest option to “apply” for work. I thought that if I spent a whole week or month with this method, it wouldn’t matter because I’d eventually get a call back. I did eventually get calls but they were rare and most of these jobs were scammy or low-level cold calling.
I have been on the other side of a job posting on Indeed.com and seen hundreds of applications come through for the most mediocre positions. What’s even more disgusting is that many of the resumes had horrific, obvious issues. Most applicants clearly didn’t read the job requirements or description, didn’t submit a cover letter or essay, and obviously shotgun applied. If you don’t pay particular attention to each application, the errors you make will ruin your chances of being considered because it looks sloppy.
The point is: It’s better to figure out specifically a range of which companies you want to work for and meet in person with employees of that company through a connector or reaching out through LinkedIn. You can do this by asking for an informational interview or knocking on the door of their company.
Talking to real, successful people in the industry you want to get into helps you in many ways beyond increasing your chances of getting a job.
At the very least, you get to see the potential road map or trajectory to a higher level job or company. You can find out if anyone else got to where you want to get to without credentials if you don’t have credentials. You can essentially get a thorough understanding of how the successful people get their foot in the door into the industry and how they behaved differently from others to rise through the ranks.
2. Smaller Organizations Are Easier To Get Into
Some college students like large campuses while others like small ones. Similarly, the size of a company can have a huge impact on the culture and work environment.
If you prefer a more personal, small company, you’re in luck. Companies with under 100 employees are easier to get into. And if they’re making real money and know what they’re doing, you could be in a safe, secure, and growing environment.
These companies are easier because they are easier to get into contact with, there’s generally less office politics, and less gate keepers and resume or LinkedIn filters stopping you from talking with an employee or stopping by. It’s often easier to apply and not be overlooked in a sea of resumes.
I highly recommend applying on companies actual websites rather than through a middle-man like Indeed or CareerBuilder. By doing so, you are applying straight to the source rather than having to wait for one of their employees to log into a third party website.
3. The Resume’s Objective Is Simply To Get An Interview
Not to get a job. The objective of the resume is to over perform in the few seconds it will get and intrigue or interest the employer enough to get you in for an interview. Rather than cater your resume for the kill, you want to cater it to be extremely amazing and intriguing to get you in for an interview.
4. The Resume Paints a Story. Don’t Include Everything.
I know there’s an urge to include every achievement you have because I made this mistake for way too long. But employer’s don’t necessarily care about your soccer trophies or high school certificates.
Also, the longer a resume is, the more likely it is going to make an employer’s eyes glaze over.
If you have one or two eye-popping achievements in your industry, you want to highlight those. If you stuff in three pages of fluff, you end up hiding your top achievements and the person reading your resume is more likely to miss it. Keep in mind that they have hundreds of resumes to go through and can only give yours a couple seconds of time — maybe a minute if you’re lucky and apply to a smaller organization.
The ideal length of a resume for a person just starting out in the job market is 1 page. If you are only getting a few seconds, you need to cut the fat of irrelevant experience on your resume.
A story and vision of how you want to come across should be painted. There’s a reason why storytelling has contributed to many billion dollar industries. It’s because it’s ingrained in our psychology. Make sure you tell a story in your resume. Anything that is confusing, mediocre or contradictory should be cut out.
It might be cool that you were a manager for a prestigious hospitality company. But if it doesn’t align with the job title or description you are going for in digital and social media, don’t put it on.
5. There Are Always Jobs Available For The Dream Employee
There will always be great jobs available or readily created for a top performing badass even if it’s an economic recession or depression. Great companies are willing to pay a lot of money for someone who knows how to bring in sales because cash is the lifeblood of any business.
Before and after you get your job, you must always ask yourself how you can become this badass dream employee. Constantly seek to learn and improve and you will outpace most of your coworkers who don’t over time. If that means taking extra courses on the side, reading books in your free time, or taking extra time at work to develop those skills, do it.
6. Have The Interviewer’s Perspective In Mind
Think in the perspective of the other person.
The hiring manager doesn’t care about what you want to do or where you want to travel to. They care about what you can do for them.
Rambling on for 5 minutes about how you are passionate about this and wish this was in the job is not putting the other person in mind. Many people want to travel the world and play video games for a living, but the hiring manager wants to know why he or she should hire you to help them with their goals.
They’re not there to fulfill extreme interests of yours.
Note: Passion is important for a job and many of the best companies will screen to see if you’re actually interested in the work. They realize it’s an important part of being good at a job. However, the point is that you can go to the extreme of caring too much about what you want, and failing to highlight yourself to what the interviewer is looking for.
You can be a little picky and screen for what jobs and companies will be most satisfying to you and/or set you up for an upward trajectory. Just don’t go overboard.
7. Avoid Any Contact with HR
HR managers are usually the gatekeepers. Their job is to screen and filter to prevent applicants from getting through to contact important people. In order to get informational interviews or in-person meetings with awesome people in a company to grow a relationship, avoid trying to go to someone in HR.
Instead, find a connector who you may know as part of your college or school alumni to introduce you or go through LinkedIn. Another method is walking there on-site to introduce yourself. This works better for smaller, less busy companies.
8. Companies Find Jobs Backwards
Companies do things the exact opposite of how most people search for jobs: they start asking employees for referrals, look to networks, slowly move out to career fairs and recruiters, and the last steps are usually the job boards.
When they hit the job board part, they get floods of resumes. You are now competing against hundreds of people if you go through a job board.
Rather, it’s better to do deep research on what job titles you like and specific companies to target so you know deeply about them. 5 to 10 titles and companies is ideal (so you don’t get too focused on one or get too broad that companies are turned off that you aren’t very specific with why you want to work for their company).
Then, get some type of in-person contact or form a relationship with former or current employees.
9. Don’t Rely On Job Boards
Don’t rely on job boards and don’t look at just one. Companies, especially bigger ones, do not post all their job listings on a single website or job board. You may find job postings on their company website that are not listed on LinkedIn or Indeed.com.
The truth is that job boards are often the last resort because it costs a lot of money per posting. Therefore, they will sometimes only list the job postings that they really need help with on job boards.
10. You Need To Get People To Like You
Don’t forget about human nature!
People might reject you for a job interview even if you exceed all the required skills if you don’t seem like someone they would enjoy hanging around! They want to be able to hang with you. I mean, you will be working with them for 8 hours a day for at least a year to come.
Don’t under-emphasize the importance of social skills and being likeable. Tell 1 or 2 safe jokes, show that you fit with their culture, and show that you are fun to be around.
Many employers have rejected applicants because of this. Jessica Alba still spends time personally hiring some of her staff for The Honest Company (valued at 1 billion). She uses the airport test: “Will I enjoy being around this person if I’m stuck with them for 4 hours+ at an airport?”
Richard Branson emphasizes this too. If he or she is not someone you enjoy hanging around, it’s a no go. Culture fit is imperative at his company, Virgin.
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