With post-recession unemployment figures the worst since World War 2, some job hunters are tempted to become more brazen in their attempts to find full time employment, but storming a fortress isn’t the best way to impress most employers.
Sure, there are some brash, hard-driving executives that can be impressed by a job seeker’s demand that they be given an interview, but for the most part, interviewers won’t be bullied into carving out 45 minutes to speak with just anyone demanding it.
In the middle ages, fortresses and castles were defensive in nature and many companies today mirror that defensive posture when it comes to hiring. Getting through the moat, over the drawbridge, through the gate, and in the door can be difficult but you CAN storm the fortress secretly and much more successfully by following these Do’s and Don’ts:
Don’t just catapult your resume over the fortress walls. Use a targeted approach instead. Try going old school and sending a printed copy of your resume to the specific department head at the specific company for which you wish to work.
Don’t think a siege will do anything. Once you’ve made contact about a position at your target company, don’t just sit outside the doors, hoping that someone will let you in. That rarely happens.
Don’t use a battering ram hoping for a break-through. By using weak networking contacts, using a strong contact too soon, or relying on a contact under the wrong conditions, you can make things worse. You won’t batter your way into the company so don’t hope that your fraternity brother’s dad can “get you a job” just because he plays golf with the CEO.
DO find secret doors to get inside the fortress. Many times a company has an opening but prefers to either fill it internally or through word of mouth. Use your networking contacts wisely to find out about these positions and their requirements, then use the tips and techniques found in The Inner View of Your Interview to make sure you’re prepared. Sometimes that gatekeeper is a computer set up to scan resumes looking for keywords. Make certain your resume is full of the right keywords that apply to the open position.
DO make friends with the guards. Sometimes a friendly conversation with a gatekeeper can get you in the door faster than the perfect resume. It will never work against you to be nice to someone at your target company. Knowing who the gatekeepers and guards are, and befriending them puts people with subtle influence on your side, and subtle influence is one of the best kinds.
DO tunnel under. All the people above your target position may not be willing to listen to you or even read your resume. When all else fails, consider learning about the people below that position. Could you step back into a lower level job in order to position yourself for a promotion in a few months?
DO go around. Make contacts with the company’s vendors, suppliers, and customers to uncover information about what’s what’s going on at your target firm. Is there a specific need that the company isn’t meeting … that would be your ideal position? Companies create new positions all the time. If this is a real, quantifiable need, you could be the solution to a problem the company didn’t even know it had.
In today’s economic environment, companies have become much more heavily fortified but at the same time, they’ve become more vulnerable to a targeted, well thought out, well planned attack. Learn how to interview so you don’t waste ANY opportunities that present themselves.
Castle photo by Eusebius@Commons