by Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC
One of the single most important pieces of advice that hiring managers offer is to be single-minded in your job search. Although it can be tempting to take a “shot-gun” approach targeting any available opening, such a broad strategy is likely to work against you and can in fact communicate desperation. Following a targeted strategy projects confidence that appeals to hiring managers.
Narrow Your Job Search
To create confidence in your approach, identify a single position or “family” of similar types of positions for which you will apply. However counter-intuitive this may seem, you need to focus on the most highly desired positions for which you qualify. Targeting your efforts gives you a clearer focus, increasing your confidence and strengthening the core message in your pitch.
Align Your Resume with Your Target Position
Review your resume and highlight accomplishments that support your proven track record in this targeted area. Your resume must communicate the ways in which you can contribute to the employer’s bottom line. Compare the job description for the open position to your resume to be certain your accomplishments correspond to as many of those qualifications and needs as possible.
Create a List of Potential Employers
Potential employers may be compiled from online job postings, information from your network, or savvy analysis of the local business market. Conduct research on employers for potential openings, projects, and areas of professional interest. Prioritize the list based on factors of greatest importance to you. Then start to work on how you can highlight your expertise by creating solutions to the company’s challenges you discovered in your research.
Develop a Plan
Your plan should include the basics of finding a contact to whom you can send your resume as well as potential problems you can address based on your accomplishments and skills. Outline a link between a potential problem the employer faces, your plan, and your history of specific accomplishments in which you addressed similar challenges. Use your plan to show the employer exactly how you will provide immediate value by actually beginning to work for them before you are even interviewed!
Make a Cold Call
Call the hiring manager to follow up regarding your resume and discuss the ways in which your previous accomplishments, such as saving $100K annually by streamlining production processes, could translate into immediate results for their company as well. With your research on the company, you have an edge by providing specific examples about the value you can bring. Be specific in your examples, whether you are talking about sales figures, cost reduction, or winning Fortune 500 accounts.
Write Your Own Script
Writing down your accomplishments increases your confidence. Following a script can also help you express yourself more clearly on the phone. Review the script a few times to sound natural when talking with the hiring manager. While you may not follow the script verbatim, it can help you remember key points in making a case about your strengths. If you are unable to get the hiring manager on the phone, write up your script as a formal plan to include as an enclosure with your resume and mail it to the appropriate person within the company of interest.
Showing the employer your strengths and drive by addressing company problems before you even interview will distinguish you from the competition. Each contact with the company is an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and expertise. Be certain to take advantage of every interaction to show off your accomplishments and you will land a new job!