Job search is often about who you know as much as what you know. But whether you’re just starting out in your career or simply don’t have the industry contacts you need, it can be a tough task to network into a specific company or position.
The challenge of getting noticed and hired has been intensified by the fact that so much of today’s job search is now conducted online. Most recruiters use social media to find candidates – but if you’re a candidate, it’s not quite as easy to connect with the right people or departments on LinkedIn or other professional sites if you don’t know those individuals or teams yet.
Fortunately, some new tools and resources have emerged that were specifically designed to give the modern job seeker an edge in this difficult marketplace. Try these three ideas out, and let them help you land the job you want – the one you didn’t think you could get.
Close the gaps with a networking engine. Anyone can apply for a job – but when it comes to actually getting your foot in the door to ensure your materials are actually reviewed, that’s a different matter. If you’re not starting off with strong connections at the organization where you’d like to work, it’s easy to have your application end up in the dreaded black hole of job search. This is common when applying through a company’s website or other online posting using an applicant tracking system. While these systems make it easier for companies to manage their end of the hiring process, they often result in candidates spending hours preparing submissions that end up in a void, ultimately receiving no response.
The black hole scenario is common when you apply to a job without knowing anyone at the company. Without a well-established network, candidates often end up trying the “spray and pray” approach to job search, sending resumes out to no one in particular. An alternate strategy that’s much more targeted and savvy is to use a networking platform to get connected to career opportunities at specific organizations. The recently launched Purple Squirrel, for example, gives job seekers an “in” at their companies of interest through half-hour calls with “advocates,” who operate as independent career consultants for their workplaces for a nominal fee. The platform makes it easy for job seekers to connect with advocates for informational interviews, during which they can ask for interview advice and resume critiques that could ultimately lead to an employee referral.
Using the platform, job seekers can not only search the site for positions, but they can also meet key employees within the organizations through profiles, videos and connection opportunities via social media. If you’re interested in learning more about a specific company, the site offers a unique insider’s peek at the office, culture and people through detailed online tours that include meeting employees online to learn more about their jobs, seeing different aspects of the inside of the office and hearing workers talk about what it’s like to really work there.
Take a long, hard look at your resume. In your haste to find a job, it’s easy to rush and let the details slip – but don’t do that when it comes to your resume. Helpful platforms like the ones above can facilitate your job-search journey, but without a strong resume and other submission materials, it will be much harder to reach your career goals.
Remember the three golden rules of resume crafting in the digital world: adding relevant keywords so that the right recruiters and employers can find you more easily, quantifying your achievements with data points to describe the impact of what you’ve done and customizing your messages to each company to which you apply in both your resume and cover letter. With these extra efforts, you’ll be significantly increasing your chances of scoring the job you really want.