Job searching is just like sales or college applications. It’s a numbers and marketing game. The more you do the better chance you will get, the better your instincts will develop and you will know what you want to do for a position.
When you do your applications, there’s two ways to do them. Categorize your job applications into two areas — jobs you are willing to do but not too passionate about, and jobs you really want. For the former, develop customized resumes but don’t create fully customized cover letters. For the latter, write cover letters and create customized resumes. The reason here is time. You don’t have enough of it and you want to get as much done as possible.
For jobs that you really want, after creating a customized cover letter and resume for that particular position, I will follow up with that company 48 hours later. Naturally you will encounter the assistant or receptionist at the front desk. They will tell you to wait until the company replies. Don’t wait.
After your call, you search the company website and find the number for HR or Recruiting department. You call to ask not about your application but you call to ask about the job. Ask about requirements and mindset/personality required for the position. This will give you a better feel and idea of the firm at hand. Next take note of the HR person’s rank, and see if they are on LinkedIn.
At the same time observe their tone of voice and attitude on the phone — as they do represent that company whether they are willing to do so or not. Ask yourself if you want to work with these people or not and does the tone of voice match up to the tone of wording on the website. The goal here is to get ideas about the firm and its culture and eventually acquire the name, surname, email, and if possible, direct phone number of the person at hand. This person can become your friend and a key contact for you. If you develop the relationship well enough, connect on LinkedIn and build the relationship.
The second process I do for jobs I really want is executed in the following manner — if I cannot reach someone on the phone, I go to that employer and attempt to get past the front desk. This means going to the office building and handing in your resume and cover letter in person. You want to show them you are a physical person, not some bot on the internet, and that you want the job. This improves your prospects and they see you positively. If you want to show them your dedication, walk to the office. That will make an impression on them. Not many people are willing to do this but you should do it if you really want the job. After executing the second process, I run through a bit of the first process just to secure things.
For each job that you do really want do these, and fill up your schedule so you constantly progress. Even if the firm rejects you, you will know more what they are looking for and you can adjust your approach very well.
As a side note, when you are going out to hand your resume in make sure you are suited up. Make an impression. Also, arrange your time so that when you go out on a specific day that at least 5-6 companies you applied to are within 5-20 minutes walking distance of each other or less. You will cover a lot in a shorter amount of time and have the opportunity to network better!
When you are job searching, you may also be called by recruiting firms. These are great sources of leverage. Use them! Yes, the rate you are looking for may not be there but take it anyway. If you are on OPT, you can leverage that opportunity to work at the staffing firm’s client and then if you are good enough, you can get that H1B Visa or Green Card. Keep in touch with the recruiters. Don’t be snobbish on the phone. You need them more than they need you.
You may also want to look into sales opportunities. Sales might seem intimidating and many might believe sales to be below them. However, everyone sells. EVERYONE SELLS. There is not one person on earth who has not sold something. Do you have a friend? Do you have a significant other? Do you have a favorite teacher? In that case they or you have done a really good job of selling and communicating. You sold you to them. They sold themselves to you by communication and impression. Don’t be afraid of selling – selling is one of the few universal skills you can take between industries. If you get good at it, you make a lot of money and companies will move resources for you to leverage on a massive scale. When you enter an interview, you are selling yourself so you can buy the position, opportunity and salary.
Lastly, don’t give up. Yes it will be a hard slug at times but that doesn’t mean you throw in the towel. If many years of Rugby practice and surviving in a hard recession taught me something its that if you get beat down, you get back up and get back in the fight. You don’t stop.
Emmanuel Ticzon works as an Independent Careers and Digital Marketing Professional in New York City. He has been involved in these fields since 2008 and has lived and worked in the Philippines, Hong Kong, China, the UK, and the USA since 1998. He is a Mentor with Drew University and Arizona State University. In addition, he writes resumes and helps build contingency plans with and for students and professionals. He has spoken to groups ranging between 10 and 300 people on Careers and what they need to do to succeed during a recession.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or found on LinkedIn.