Don’t Apply Online, Go Direct
Guest post by Rainbow Kirby, Digital Marketing Strategist, NYU grad student, currently freelancing and on the job hunt
Don’t Apply Online. By this I mean, filling out one of those 20-page automated job applications that no one EVER reads. My friend, an HR practitioner at a digital agency recently shared that her first stop to search for candidates is LinkedIn. Although there may be 100 applications from eager candidates in the company database, she doesn’t go there.
As a graduate student who has more than 10 years work experience and has had just as many jobs, I can confirm this is true. I’ve never received a response from an online application. Your time is valuable, so be as efficient as possible. Over the past few months, I have optimized landing interviews for myself. The usual suspects include connections, former colleagues and internships. But what if you don’t have an IN? Here are my suggestions:
#1 MAKE A LIST OF YOUR TARGET COMPANIES
While Disney and Amazon may be at the top, you need to expand much further. To add more, read Inc., Forbes, Fast Company and Entrepreneur. These magazines/web sites regularly feature the innovative companies that are growing and therefore hiring. Their open positions may not be on a job board, they may only be posted on the “Careers” section of their web site.
#2 FIND A POSITION, THEN FIND THE HIRING MANAGER ONLINE
When you see a role that’s a good fit, find the Hiring Manager on LinkedIn. If you can, avoid HR and go direct. If the position is for a Marketing Manager, find out who the Marketing Director is at that company. A search on LinkedIn is the best detective tool for this.
#3 BEFORE YOU REACH OUT – RESEARCH THE CONTACT
No one likes to receive an email from a stranger “asking for something.” Review their work accomplishments and background via Google. Start your email with your admiration for their volunteer work or a campaign they created. This shows you’ve done your homework and it’s not all about you. Then you can ask for their “guidance” or “insight” into the opportunity at their company. Wouldn’t you be more willing to help someone who admired your work? If they are not the direct report, they will likely refer you to their colleague.
#4 EMAIL THEM DIRECTLY
You may be able to find their email address online in a company directory. If not, LinkedIn offers a product “InMail” which will send your email directly to the contact’s email inbox. This is much more valuable than just sending a LinkedIn message. While some may disagree, I believe the “Job Seeker” upgrade is worth every penny. You receive five InMail messages a month, with a guaranteed response. If the contact does not respond, it is automatically refunded back to your account. Plus, you can also see who has been looking at your profile.
What you do after you get the interview is up to you. But getting in the door is sometimes the hardest part and this is a much better way to go about it. Good luck!
Follow Rainbow @RainbowKirby or visit her at MakeMyDigiDay.com