How to Skip the Line & Reduce your Job Search
Break through the Noise: How to Skip the Line and Dramatically Reduce your Job Search
Are you frustrated with applying to countless job openings and disassembling your beautiful resume only to spend hours feeding it into another Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? Which quickly scans your resume, reduces your years of experience to a few keywords, and oftentimes places your resume in the discard pile never to be seen again? A smart job seeker knows how to bypass these automated recruiting systems in order to reach a hiring manager directly; skipping the line and landing their dream job.
Here is the secret to dramatically reducing the amount of applications you send out and increasing the number of interviews that you schedule every single week:
Step 1 – Trade your Shotgun for a Scope
First off, if you are tired of being treated like a cog in a machine then stop acting like one! Instead of clicking every blue button that says ‘Apply Now,’ to any and every position that just kind of matches your skills, you need to take a moment and get focused on what you want from your next career. On a sheet of paper, write down what is most important to you. And NO, the first thing on this list shouldn’t be “money.” Instead, consider if you’d prefer your next career be at a young start-up company versus committing to a bigger corporation. Growing companies often place value on each employee’s contributions and offer a higher potential for advancement. On the other hand, larger corporations might not treat your input the same but offer you more stability in the marketplace and benefits. Another question to consider is whether the proximity to your workplace is a huge sticking point for you. How far are you willing to commute for the right opportunity?
If you do this right, you will notice that many of the “maybe I could work here” and the “I wouldn’t mind doing that until I found something better” positions start to fade away from view. This is a good thing. Having too many options will only serve to exhaust and confuse you in the long run. Go for GREAT rather than “good enough.”
Step 2 – Scan and Identify
This next step is one that many competing applicants won’t do because it requires some additional work. Once you find the company that offers the environment and company culture that resonates with you, then do a little bit of research on them. Using social sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Twitter can help you find out who the Hiring Manager is for the department that you’re interested in. Even if you don’t have accounts on these platforms, you should have a LinkedIn account at a bare minimum. To find out more about how to create a LinkedIn profile that stands out from the crowd, click here.
Don’t worry about connecting with them at this stage of your job search. You will be reaching out to them eventually and I’ll show you how to put together a compelling message that’ll set you apart from the competition. Instead, take a moment to find out if you know anyone in your current network that is connected to someone on their team. If you’re lucky enough to have an inside connection, make a mental note of this because you will need their help in the future.
Step 3 – Think like a Doctor and look for Symptoms
This is where you need to find out what problems this particular team is experiencing. The first thing that you can do in your assessment of this company’s pain points is to look at their reviews on websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor. Being able to identify any consistent patterns will be as good as gold before the interview.
If you do have a connection to someone within the company, contact them and let them know that you’re interested in applying to the open position. Suggest meeting for coffee to ask a few questions about their experience with the company and what they think about the opportunity. People love to talk about themselves and their experiences when prompted. Use this as an opportunity to find out what you can about the company and their current roadblocks. Here a few lines that I use to help probe deeper into the conversation:
- “Do you know why they are hiring right now?”
- “Has the team ever consider using _[your recommended solution]_ in the past?”
- “That’s interesting. Why was the previous program cancelled?”
What you find out in these conversations will be pure gems. Once you are done, thank them for their time and be sure to keep that relationship open. You never know if you can help them in the future or if they can further help you in your mission to land your dream job.
Step 4 – Find Actionable Solutions
At this point in your job search you, at the very least, should have uncovered 1-2 different pain points that the company is suffering from right now. Now it’s time to for you to draft a MVP (Maximum Value Plan) Proposal. An MVP Proposal is an action-based plan to solve at least one of the problems that you previously identified in your research of the company. The issue and your suggested plan of action should showcase your unique skills. In other words, don’t try and solve problems that don’t fall within your skill set. Challenge yourself to come up with an innovative solution by imagining that you’re already working for the company and you’ve been assigned to solve this task with little time and a limited budget. Here are some examples of what this looks like:
Example Scenario: You are a self-taught internet marketer that is looking to join a medium-sized eCommerce company. Because you’ve only been in this industry for a short amount of time, you find yourself applying to dozens of eCommerce companies the normal way without success. After reviewing this article you decide to shift gears and try to focus on how you can provide value to them.
After completing some initial research on the company you’re interested in, you see that their online blog doesn’t have many followers nor a lot of traffic. The blog not only looks unappealing, as a potential reader, but the content is sparse, outdated and doesn’t motivate people to buy anything from their online store. Rather than wait to see if you’re hired, develop a quick step-by-step outline on how you would revamp the blog to gain more followers and potential customers IF they were to chose you as the person for the role.Shorten your job search by finding REAL solutions to employers problems before your interview. Click To Tweet
Pro Tip: Your proposed solutions may not be spot on. However, if done correctly, you will be pretty darn close to hitting the mark. At the minimum, you’ve shown the hiring manager your serious interest in utilizing your talents to assist their company growth.
You will not only impress your future employer that you know how to do more with less; many hiring managers will be blown away with the amount of effort that you’ve put into your research of the company. Your MVP Proposal is designed to intuitively touch on real problems with clear actionable solutions. More importantly, you have immediately jumped up the value chain by proving that you are much more than a little fish in the sea of applicants also competing for the job.
Step 5 – Make the Connection
Now it’s time to bring it on home! Remember those Hiring Managers that I told you to find in Step 2 of your job search? Now is the time for you to connect to the hiring managers on the website that you found them on. I have had the best luck using websites like LinkedIn.
Keep in the mind that this is a powerful technique that will help you break through the noise in your job search. So don’t get lazy and send a generic message asking them to connect with you. Instead, aim to make your message more personable so that you stand out from the competition.
How you send your MVP can vary; just make sure to utilize at least two different methods for maximum effect:
- Method 1: Convert your Word doc into a PDF and attach it to your message to the Hiring Manager.
- Method 2: You can upload your PDF to your LinkedIn profile and place a hyperlink to it within your message.
- Method 3: Print out your MVP along with your resume and drop it off at their office. Keep in mind that there is no need to meet them, especially if you haven’t made a prior appointment. Then follow-up afterwards to let the Hiring Manager know that you have dropped off your packet and that you look forward to answering any questions after they’ve reviewed it.
- Method 4: Mail a physical color copy of your Maximum Value Proposal with your resume and address it to the Hiring Manager. In this scenario, you still want to send a follow-up email around 4-5 days later to see if that have received your packet and to confirm your continued interest in the position.
- Method 5: If you find that two or more companies that you are applying for have the same consistent issues you may have an opportunity to post your work online and add a well-placed hyperlink pointing to your work within each of your messages to each Hiring Manager that you are communicating with.
In summary: Rather than ‘describe’ how good you are by submitting your resume or filling out an application, you need to show them how much more value you can add than any other applicant that’s applied before you. If done well, you will reduce the time you will spend looking for jobs because you will find yourself at the interview table more often.