When looking for a new job, it can be difficult to connect directly to potential employers and get them interested in you. In fact, it isn’t easy to make a non-virtual connection with anyone anymore. I get more invitations to birthday parties through Facebook than I do by email or phone, and work is just as technology oriented as my home-life. This got me thinking: Has applying to a job become an endless cycle of “copy, paste, click” with little or no thought going into applying? If this is true, how can we take advantage of the benefits of applying to jobs online while avoiding the pitfalls?
1. Research – Why not investigate companies using social networking tools like blogs? Captains of Industry Principal and Chief Creative Officer, Ted Page describes their ideal candidate in How to Get a Job at a Marketing Agency (or anywhere else). This Boston-based strategic marketing agency is actually using their blog to tell the world what they are looking for in candidates and what has caught their eye in the past!
This kind of blog post is a fantastic opportunity to learn about the companies you are interested in. For more insight, you can also try following a few companies on Twitter, becoming a member of groups they have created, and if they are a public company, looking at their financials.
The more you know, the easier it will be to show these companies why you are a good fit for them. It will also give you something to write about in your cover letter, a focus for your resume, and discussion topics during an interview. 2. Think – Select and pursue companies you are truly interested in working for.
Casting a wide net is not always a good approach to finding a job. Instead of sending out job application spam, maybe it’s time to take a step back for a moment and remember the days when you couldn’t DVR television, check email while driving, or get 24/7 updates from your friends. Can you remember what you wanted to do when you grew up? What you were passionate about? Taking the time to focus your job search could pay off in the long run. In the America’s Job Exchange Career Article, I Know What You’re Thinking (And So Does Your Boss)
, Sue Frederick writes about how a positive attitude shows, not only when you are at work, but when you are searching for employment. If you are enthusiastic about getting a job at a certain company or in a certain field, potential employers will notice it too. 3. Write – Show you care with a memorable cover letter.
If you are going to spend the time searching for and applying to jobs, make sure you take the time to write a cover letter that is tailored to the specific job you are applying for. A cover letter is the first impression you give of yourself. Nothing says “I don’t care about getting this job” like writing a sloppy cover letter, or not even including one. Page notes in his blog, “the standard email is, ‘See attached for my letter and resume.’ Or it’s a form letter that could go to any company.” Frankly, this would leave anyone feeling less than excited about opening the attached resume. Page goes on to describe how the creativity of one applicant who sent him “a well-written letter that quoted the Captains of Industry manifesto from our website, and explained why her design skills, talent and philosophy would be a good fit for us.” left a huge impression. 4. Click – Apply for your next job with confidence.
The ease of applying to jobs means that employers are inundated with tons of generic applications. Use that research you did online to explain why you are the ideal candidate for a job opening. Take the time to customize a cover letter to emphasize those points. Remember, your goal is to connect with potential employers, not get lost in the crowd. The next time you go to apply for a job, keep in mind the research, think, write, click approach and don’t be afraid to stand out.