Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Making a Career Change: Step 10 Applying for Jobs

Previously: Step 9: Informational Interviews

Step 10: Applying for Jobs
While you are networking you should also be searching for jobs in the traditional way and applying for those that seem right. Remember, if 70% of jobs are found using networking that leaves 30% to be found by other means and one of those means is applying. It is important to remember, however, that the way our parents applied for jobs is no where even close to the way we are applying for them. Electronic submissions and job boards have become the norm and to do otherwise feels like you might as well be using a typewriter to prepare your resume. So hit the boards and scour the company websites for open positions. When you come across one that looks right, get your materials in order and send them in.

In an ideal world you are able to apply to those same companies where you have networked or you can find some connection to the company using your network. LinkedIn does a great job of showing you whether or not you are connected to people at the companies that use it. If you can, start contacting people to try and get to the hiring manager of the positions you want. Perhaps your resume and cover letter can be handed to the hiring manager personally. At the very least if you can lean on your network to get to the hiring manager your materials will rise to the top of the pile and you will have some degree of certainty that they were at least looked at.

Again, the ideal here is to network if at all possible. But if you have to, apply cold. It's completely fine to do so. At least, it's cold at the start. Once your materials are in, try to contact the hiring manager personally. It's not always easy to figure out who this person is. Companies often guard their names to protect the hiring manager from being contacted by too may people. Other times you won't get past HR, which is actually fine because it will mean you have made contact with someone who is often the first line of defense. Maybe you can reach the person through email and send them a message or find them on LinkedIn. Maybe it's obviously stated in the job post and you can call him/her.

This is another instance where it doesn't really matter how you reach the people as long as you are reaching them.When contact is made, break out a quick 30 second speech. Don't get too worked up about it either. Your goal here is to be at the top of the person's mind as someone with a voice rather than a name on a two dimensional piece of paper.

"My name is...I am supremely talented in the following ways...I am very interested in the opening you have for...because it very much matches my interests and experiences. I recently applied and want to make sure you have my materials and to see if there is anything else you need..."

Refer back to your notebook for the key buzz words and phrases to fill in the blanks. Then thank them for their time. The conversation will be quick. Rehearse what you are going to say. Write it out, them memorize it, then practice speaking it. Then practice it again. Don't read it because the person on the other end will know you are reading. Just say it very calmly and clearly. Chances are they will let you know that everything is all set and then the conversation will be over. If you end up emailing the person, treat the email as you would any other written communication and make sure it's meticulously written.

Because you never know what actions will reap the greatest reward it's important to proceed on several fronts. So keep looking for openings and keep meeting people. Right now those are the two most important jobs you have to do.

Up Next: Step 11: Your Job Right Now is Getting a Job

1 comment:

  1. I am very much looking forward to reading Step 11! Thanks for all you have posted so far.