You finally found it! The perfect company that you want to work for. The company’s values align with yours, and you would be a great fit. The only question is, “How do you get hired?” The company does not know about you, and they are unaware that a great employee awaits them.
So how do you get their attention? What steps should you take to land a position at the company of your dreams?
Here is how to get started:
Research the company. The obvious place to start is with the company website. You want to gather as much intelligence as you can. Look for the company’s mission statement and values statement. This tells you officially what the company cares about. This information will be important to you when you get to the interview stage. Also, review the company blog. The blog will give you even more detailed information about what is going on within the company and even possibly where the company is headed. It is also useful to take a look at external sources of information about the company from sites like Hoovers or Dun & Bradstreet. In addition, find articles in the media that spotlight the company. The more information that you have, the easier it will be to tailor your message to the company so that you can convince them that you are the best candidate.
Find insiders. People who work for the company are typically in the best position to let you know about potential or current openings. Often companies do not advertise their openings initially. Rather, they put the word out internally that they are looking for someone with a specific skill set. By networking with insiders, you position yourself to hear about openings at your dream company. If you do not know anyone personally who works for the company, you can ask people in your network if they know anyone who works there. You can also search for the company on LinkedIn to see who your second or third level connections are and then ask your first level connections for introductions.
Raise your visibility. One way of becoming more visible to the company is to comment on the company blog. There will be at least one employee of the company who writes for the blog and monitors comments. Also, you can follow and connect with recruiters and principals at the company on Twitter and LinkedIn. This is another way of raising your visibility with people who work at the company that you are targeting.
Tailor your resume to the needs of the company. Once you have gathered your intelligence, raised your visibility, and targeted insiders who can provide you with inside information about openings, it’s time to revisit your resume. Without overdoing it, you need to weave in as much information as you can that is tailored to the company. For instance, if you have read in the company’s values statement that customer service is their number one priority, you can speak to that in the professional summary by saying that you are customer-focused. Then you want to substantiate that claim by talking about how you significantly improved customer satisfaction scores and tell how you did it.
Research your interviewers prior to the interview. After you have landed that all-important interview, do some more homework. You should get the name(s) of the person that you will be interviewing with before the interview, and armed with that information, you can then research that person(s) using sites like Zoominfo.com and LinkedIn. You may be able to find facts about the person that will help you build rapport with the interviewer. For example, you may find that you are an alumnus of the same institution that the interviewer graduated from. That is information that you can use to show the interviewer that the two of you have something in common.
Follow up. Be sure to send a follow-up thank you letter after the interview reiterating your interest in the position. This is a good time to mention again how your values align with the company and how your skill set is a good match for the position.
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