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How to Get Your Dream Job: Be a Predator

Boy_Microscope-1-145329-editedIf you rely on job boards or ads, chances are, you'll never find that dream job. Terrifying, no? The reason for this alarming revelation is the fact that the majority of companies don’t advertise their open job positions.

According to Matt Youngquist of Career Horizons, 80% of job openings aren’t advertised. That’s right! If you want to land your dream job, you need to be aggressive and proactive. You need to think like a predator.   

I’ll be straight with you; this tactic won’t be easy. It will require creativity, perseverance, a positive attitude and patience. But don’t panic; there is good news, too. To land your dream job, here’s what you need to do.


Be Introspective

According to a survey conducted by HotJobs, 38% of employers say they gladly accept unsolicited resumes. Additionally, 45% say they file resumes away for future consideration. This may sound silly, but spend some time pondering the question, “What do I want to do?” By now, you hopefully already know the industry you want to enter, but do you know exactly what careers interest you? 

If not, spend some time doing research, identify what jobs are available in your industry which sound most appealing, and which are best suited to match your skill level. Then, take a look at the companies in that industry. Before you write an email or even contact a hiring manager, you need to know exactly what you bring to the table and exactly which table you want to bring it to.


Network, Network, Network!

It makes sense that the best way to make connections in the hidden job market is to network. But are you networking with the right people? Start with your employed friends. According to John Lees of the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, 1/3 of all jobs are filled by word of mouth. The company might not have advertised an open position, but perhaps they are talking about the idea internally.

Before engaging in cold calls or unsolicited emails, you’ll want to get in tight with hiring managers. Not HR in general – that department can actually be a roadblock to unsolicited communication. However, you will want to use HR to get your foot in the door.

Since the entire unsolicited email hunt is about being bold and in-your-face, why not start out that way?  Call up the HR department.  Say something like, “I’d like to send a personal letter to your hiring manager. Could you please share the name and title of the person in charge of hiring employees in Department X?”

There. Now you have a name – and you can get to work. You’ll want to check out LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. But ultimately, your communication will come down to an email.


Tips for Drafting a Cover Letter

If you look online, you’re bound to come across a cover letter template – maybe even one for an unsolicited email. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you really shouldn’t use a template or form letter. This is your one and only chance to appeal to that particular company. Don’t vaguely reference your skills or their company. Everything you write should be specific.

That being said, there are a few general guidelines you can follow when drafting your cover letter.

Tip #1 

Use the first paragraph to let the reader know why you are writing. Briefly introduce yourself, mentioning your skills, background and interest in their company. Close this paragraph with a sentence or two about why you chose to write to that particular business.

Tip #2 

Share more details about your sills and qualifications. Elaborate on your expertise. Give a general overview of your capabilities.

Tip #3 

Highlight your achievements (the ones that go beyond your expected job duties). Use the last few sentences of this paragraph to sell yourself as a worthy candidate. Mention something like, “As you can see, I will bring a variety of skills to your company and would appreciate a favorable consideration for Role X.”

Tip #4 

Mention your contact information again. If there is a particular time you’ll be available for an interview or a date you’ll be visiting their city, mention that here. If you are following up with a previous phone call or introduction, point that out. If you have been referred by someone in the company, draw attention to that relationship.

Close with a “Respectfully yours,” or “Kind regards.”

Now that the hard work is over, deal with the small details. Attach your resume. Save the file with your full name, followed by the word “resume.”  Then, write an eye-catching, action-inducing subject line.

Write a Killer Subject Line

You are writing to hiring managers. Think about it: how many emails do they receive with the subject line “Resume” or “Job Application?” Do you really want to be one of the thousands who contact them that way?! Heck no!

If you are building a relationship with the hiring manager or network, try using one of the following approaches:

  • A vague, but intriguing, statement like “Inquiry Regarding Professional Advancement,” or “Quick Networking Question.”
  • A reassurance that you won’t use up a lot of their time. Something like “Quick Question,” or “Short Answer Requested,” will likely get a reply.
  • Shameless flattery always works!  Try, “Your Professional Expertise Requested,” or “I would love your opinion on something.”

If you’ve buddied up to someone else in the company, do a little name-dropping:

  • “Referred to you by Jane Smith”
  • “Reaching out per Jane Smith’s suggestion”

If you are sending a totally unsolicited email, try being specific and direct:

  • “Exploratory Interview Request – Sales Professional”
  • “Marketing Manager Candidate”

Your subject line is basically your first impression – make it a good one.

Since the vast majority of jobs will never be advertised, it is your responsibility to go hunting for them. Consider the job you really want, do some networking, and then write a killer email. Be aggressive and you’ll reap the rewards!


This post was written by Jessica Velasco.


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