Candidate 101: A Few More Tips

I recently came across a blog post that has some really good general job hunting advice for candidates.  It’s a classic top ten list, and below are some of the ones you don’t hear every day.

6. Don’t be afraid to be persistent!
It’s one thing to shoot off an email and a résumé, but if you’re really interested, follow up: “Hi, my name is __ and I’m following up on my application of last Monday. I’m still very interested in the __ position.” Sell us! Once again research is your friend: look around LinkedIn and see who you’re connected with at the company to which you are applying – find out if you know anyone who can put you in touch with the appropriate person in recruiting/staffing.

7. Establish a relationship with the company, the recruiter or staffing team.
If you’ve had a positive conversation or relationship with them but simply weren’t the exact right candidate for the position, keep an eye on the company’s job board and reach out again, telling them why you’re still interested in the organization and why you would be a good fit for this position. Showing that it’s not just about the “job,” but also a real interest in the company will be noticed.

These are great.  If you really love a company, once you get a foot in the door, even if you get an initial “no thank you,” don’t move your foot.  Keep the conversation going and keep prying the door open just a little more each time.

9. Is the cover letter dead?
Absolutely not – the unanimous response was that a cover note can make or break the chances of having your résumé considered. Forget the generic note, the “I am seeking a challenging position in a dynamic, forward-thinking organization…” – that one is going to do more harm than good. If you open with specifics on the position you seek and what makes you a stand-out candidate you have set yourself apart from those who’ve chosen not to demonstrate an active, genuine interest in landing that great job.

Ha!  I knew it!  And, I’m glad to see someone else agree.  Whether you call it a cover letter or your introductory email, if you nail it with specifics, the reader will stand up and take note.  I’m telling you guys, this works on me every time.  When I’m going through a hundred applications, I see a lot of cover letters.  By about the 20th, you’re reading it and mumbling “blah blah blah…generic blah blah..,” but when you open up one and it has very specific language responding very accurately to your job posting, it snaps you out of the slog and you take a close look at their resume.

10. The “Thank you” note is alive and well.
A lot of people seem to believe the “thank you note” (or email) is dead and gone. According to the professionals I spoke with this couldn’t be farther off the mark – they all agreed that a thank you makes a difference. Besides being a thoughtful acknowledgement of someone’s time and interest, it can also set one individual apart from the rest: among three equally solid candidates, the one who took the time to close the loop will have the advantage.

This one ties in nicely with 6 and 7.  Take the landed country gentleman or lady approach.  People will remember you, and that can work to your advantage if you apply again at the company in the future.  As those campaign signs that are everywhere right now will show you, name recognition is a pretty big trigger among us humans.

If you’re looking for a few more good tips, check out the complete top ten list.  Happy hunting.

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