How can you stand out from other applicants? You are already an expert about you, but do you know anything about the employer? Is sending a standard resume the best way to make a first contact?
If knowledge is power, you can give your job search a huge boost by knowing more about the job and employer you seek.
It all comes down to one word: research.
“Research is a critical step in the job search that people often overlook. Without learning about the companies you want to apply to, you’re telling employers, in effect, that you don’t really want the job,” says Chris Russell, career professional and blogger (www.secretsofthejobhunt.com).
Luckily, the Internet is first and foremost a research tool, putting much of the world’s knowledge at your fingertips.
To illustrate, here’s a case study from Russell’s own experience, dating back to the pre-Web, pre-Google year of 1993.
Just think how much easier this will be for you to emulate today …
“I was looking for a job in marketing. I had graduated a year earlier with a B.S. in Marketing, and where I lived in Connecticut was considered the ‘Marketing Consultant Capital of the World’ -- a prime location for my search,” according to Russell.
The library became his home for days while Russell gathered information on local firms. “I read industry magazines, the phone book, and newspapers. I looked for anything related to marketing companies in my target locations. I was determined to work for one of them,” he says.
Russell compiled a list of about 80 organizations, with the names of their presidents. When he couldn’t find a name, he simply called the company and asked.
“Then I set about creating a direct mail campaign with a new resume concept I had been working on,” says Russell. His concept? A printed newsletter, in three-column format, containing the information typically found in a resume and cover letter. (You could create one today in about 90 minutes using Microsoft Publisher or similar software.)
Russell mailed his “newsletter resume” to every company on his list, many of which were small businesses. Within six weeks, he had seven interviews. If you’re counting (and you should be) seven out of 80 is an 8.75% success rate, which is outstanding for direct mail, where 2-5% is considered good.
“I received lots of compliments on my approach to seeking work. On my last interview, I was offered a position as a research associate for a small marketing research firm,” says Russell.
So. What can you do with this information? Three things.
1) Research, research, research. The Internet would have made Russell’s direct mail campaign much easier. But he visited the library anyway and got it done. Today, there’s no excuse for not finding the information you need online.
To research better and faster for your next job, search Google for the phrase “google job search tips” or “how to find a job on google.”
2) Act on what you find. It’s not enough to know a lot about the company you want to work for. You have to do something with that knowledge.