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Don’t just hit APPLY: Build a campaign

I’ve heard some people say that the likelihood of getting a job increases with the number of online applications you submit.


I disagree.


Here are my recommendations for building a campaign to get the job you want at the company you want to work for.

  1. Identify your style. Determine which type of company organization and culture will allow you to thrive. Big or small? Structured or relaxed? Public or private?

  2. Compile a list of five companies you’d like to work for and that meet your cultural and organizational criteria. Review your list with someone who is familiar with the companies or with friends who work/worked there.

  3. Explore fully which of a company’s departments and job titles best match your background. Ask for an interview even if the role is slightly above or below your skill level. The company might have flexibility to make the job fit.

  4. Find people on the inside who can deliver your resume to the correct person. Allow that employee to submit your resume for you. They will put it officially through their ATS (applicant tracking system). Most companies have programs that offer employees a bonus of up to $10K if they refer candidates who are ultimately hired. Between 30% and 50% of all hires result from referrals. And the best hires come from referrals.

  5. Follow up with phone calls and emails as your application moves through the organization. It’s a good idea to touch base weekly. You may say “If I don’t hear back from someone, I’ll drop you an email, ok?”

  6. Use your connections and your connections’ connections to support your candidacy. If you know someone who worked with the hiring manager, ask them to make a call on your behalf. You can also use LinkedIn to make introductions.

Three tips:

  1. As I’ve written here before, remember to research thoroughly the company and the people who will interview you. I’ve always been impressed with candidates who listen to quarterly reports and can discuss annual objectives.

  2. Always put yourself in the interviewer’s head. If they are hiring a software engineer for a heads-down coding position, explain why you enjoy roles where you focus on your work for long stretches of time without having to attend too many meetings.

  3. Talk with a friend or mentor to brainstorm best approaches and get another perspective on your camp

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