After sending out approximately 49 job applications with no response, you’re starting to wonder — what gives? Your resume and cover letter look great. You have all the necessary skills, but “waiting to hear back” is all you seem to be doing these days.
You’ve had enough.
The good news: There are other ways of landing your next dream job, even if the opening isn’t widely advertised yet. You just have to know where to look and what methods to employ — here are a few tricks of the hidden-job trade to get you started.
1. Turn strangers into allies.
Getting a job is a popularity contest, and knowing how that works is essential for your success. Don’t panic about it, though — I was far from the popular girl in school, so if I can win, then you can, too. Your application likely reads like all the other ones, and it’s hard for the person sorting through them to know that you’re an awesome fit for the job. The odds were just never in your favor.
Job boards give you slightly better odds than playing a scratch-and-win — not too much better, but you could get lucky. You could also easily be one in 1,000 or more applicants for any given job opening, and personally, I don’t really like those odds.
Tests show that on average, one in 10 people will reply to you when you reach out to hiring managers (or people who can connect you to them) over LinkedIn or via email — if you do it right. You’ll have even better odds by reaching out to college alumni — one in three are likely to contact you back. Which odds do you like better?
Here’s how to contact people without sounding needy, sleazy, or desperate:
- Tell them how you found them
- Check in respectfully
- Share a sincere compliment
- Share your current status
- Make your request
- Attach your resume
- Signed: Thank you, Your Name
2. Try the Blurb Method.
When my sister and I lost our jobs several years ago, we tried job boards first and quickly realized we weren’t getting the results we were hoping for. We needed to change it up. My approach was to go for coffee with everyone under the sun (using the script above), and my more introverted sister used a slight variation to this that also worked well. She got 11 meetings in two weeks, and she’s kept in touch with some great company owners and hiring managers who still call upon her for advice and offer her work. You can adapt this blurb to your industry and situation, of course, but it essentially goes like this:
Subject line: Quick Question
My name is _____, and I'm a digital marketer. I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you. I am passionate about email marketing, landing page optimization, and Google AdWords. I was inspired by what your company is doing and how far you’ve come. It’s all about the people who create the culture and the environment, which is where the ideas grow and great things happen.
If you think you might need someone like me in your organization, I would love to hear from you.
Attached is my resume.
(include your phone number)
3. There’s also the Free Pitch Method.
If you can afford to do so, you can offer to work for free at the beginning. Smaller companies, especially, often need to hire someone before there is money to pay them. If you get a foot in the door before there is money available and you do a good job, then when there is money, the job will already be yours.
You can approach a Free Pitch like this:
Hi, my name is ______. I hope you don’t mind me contacting you. I noticed on your website that you have some videos that are x and y. I would like to offer my help in producing videos that will not only be x but help you do y and get more z. If you’re interested in talking about these improvements, I’d be happy to help you out with this at no cost. Let’s have a chat.
Attached is a copy of my resume so you can see how my skills can help.
(Include your phone number)
Clients of mine have used variations of these scripts to apply through the job boards successfully. You can get through the clutter with the power of authentic, sincere words, and now you can start playing the game right.
Natalie Fisher is an enthusiastic HR Generalist who loves her job! She’s been on over 50 interviews and received 48 job offers. Download her Free Guide: How to Nail an Interview You’re Unqualified For.
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