You see 6 ads for one job you really want. It is so good you would quit you’re your current job just to apply. What do you do?
High Priority Jobs
Getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands is your quest.
First gather information.
Is there anything that makes you think the writer of one of the ads knows the hiring manager personally?
Check the date on all those ads. When were they posted? What day did they appear? List when the company and each agency first advertised. Did an agency advertise before the company itself? They may have a close tie to the hiring manager. Have the ads been going on for months? The company is either getting a little desperate, has decided not to fill the job, or the job is full but recruiters haven’t bothered to pull the ads yet because they are still getting lots of calls.
How are the ads different? Does one include a lot more in-depth information? Is another extremely short? Look closely. Do any of them make you feel like the writer talked to the manager? You want to talk to someone who has the hiring manager’s ear.
Second work your network.
Call the people you know at the company, or invite them out to lunch. Call up recent employees. Connect on LinkedIn to everyone at the company you can.
What can you find out about the job? Is there someone who can personally take your resume to the hiring manager? How about to the hiring manager’s boss? This is still the research phase. Don’t give anyone your resume yet. You only get to submit it once.
Is there a recruiter you trust? Find out what information they have. If they can bypass HR (Human Resources) or have other great connections then work with them. For instance, there is one company I work with that requires all recruiters to submit resumes through their online system. But I call the HR manager and tell her when my candidates go in so she can immediately extract them. She is afraid of missing a truly hot candidate. Other people who submit themselves are first sorted through by the receptionist.
You really do have to quiz recruiters about their connections. If you answer a particular ad when there are 6 ads out there, you have a right to ask why you should send a resume in through them.
Third decide how to apply.
If the job is not exciting, it doesn’t matter how you submit your resume. Just do some quick cosmetic changes and submit it through an agency or the HR department.
For the job that really turns you on, figure out who should submit your resume. For any company it could be you, a friend, a recruiter or an acquaintance. Choose in this order:
- Someone who can hand your resume to the hiring manager and personally recommend you. It doesn’t get any better.
- Whoever can get your resume past HR and talk to the manager.
- The person that can talk to the HR manager or screener and get you past the first cut.
- At this point all submissions really are equal. Do it yourself, have an employee there submit you to HR or let a recruiter you trust and who gets back with you do it.
Fourth get your resume perfect
Put the bullets on your resume in order of importance. Put a few key words in bold to make sure the screener and manager sees them. Get rid of bullets, lines and sentences that do not apply to the job!! A two page resume is fine for most jobs, but the second page may never get read.
Do the 10 second test with several people. Hand your resume to a few friends and ask them to read it for 10 seconds. Time them. Take it away in 10 seconds. Ask what they remember. Do they mention your most important qualifications and accomplishments? If they do, it’s a winner. If not, change it.
The 10 second test is critical because most screeners and managers give all the resumes a 10 second review to try to find the best ones first. They will probably throw out your resume without further reading if they can’t see what they want in that first 10 seconds.
Fifth submit and follow up
Submit your resume. Call up and find out what happened two days later. Did your resume arrive there? Did the manager see it yet? When will he decide?
You really want that job? After your two day follow up call send a thank you note. Give them a nudge, short and friendly. It is amazing how a thank you note can get someone to personally try one more time for you.
Keep calling back at least weekly. Sometimes it does take a couple of months to fill a job. Keep your candidacy alive until it is pronounced dead by someone who knows.
Take Your Best Shot
If you really want a job. Go all out. There may be 100 applicants. In some cases there may be 1000. Use personal contacts to set yourself apart from the herd. Make sure your resume instantly says, “I’m qualified.” And follow up in case you somehow get missed.
Something To Do Today
Start prioritizing all the jobs you can apply for. On your written list make sure the jobs you crave stand out. Treat them differently. It is worth the extra effort.
Next week: Recruiters and the hair on the back of your neck.