About a year ago, I started to look for new higher paying job opportunities. I began the process of researching the best companies to work for in my area with the best benefits and compensation package. Then I hit the job searching platforms and began to apply to the positions I was qualified for. After a few months of little to no responses from recruiters, I began to ask myself, “How do I get more job interviews?”
The answer is surprisingly simple – before applying for a job posting, reach out to at least 5 employees at the company you want to apply to and simply ask if they would be willing to pass along your resume and contact information to the hiring manager. Chances are they will know the hiring manager personally and often times will have an incentive to pass your info along, especially if they get a bonus for referring candidates. This gives you 5 opportunities to have your resume hand delivered to the hiring manager by current employees.
Essentially, I stopped applying altogether and instead focused on generating employee referrals.
This sounds counterintuitive to your job search. However, I’ve experienced first hand how the online application process is geared towards the companies that are posting jobs and not so much the job seeker. Doesn’t that sound backwards? More on this later.
Instead of hitting the apply button whenever you see a decent opportunity, I highly recommend challenging yourself by taking the 5 A Day Networking Challenge. For the next 5 days, connect with 5 valuable connections at 5 different companies. That strategy alone will generate on average 3x more interviews at the companies you only dreamed of working at.
Here’s the strategy that got me significantly more job interviews
NOTE: before trying this strategy out yourself, be sure to fully optimize your LinkedIn profile, personal portfolio website, and resume. Having everything you need to present yourself is key.
Step 1 – Make a list of your top 5 companies you would be proud to work at.
Step 2 – Research their website or your favorite job boards for any open positions.
Step 3 – On LinkedIn, go to the company’s list of employees and see if you have any shared connections. If so, great! Copy their LinkedIn URL for the next step.
Step 4 – Connect with a total of 5 employees that would be a coworker in the department you would be working in. For example, at a creative agency, if you wanted to apply for the Senior Graphic Designer position, you would find an Art Director, Account Executive, Creative Director, Producer, and Copywriter.
Step 5 – Craft your message.
Remember, LinkedIn connection messages are less than 300 words if you aren’t a premium LinkedIn member, so don’t be too much of a wordsmith. When writing your introduction message, start with a brief intro. Pay close attention to any commonalities you may share. For example, schools, city, connections, etc.. This will help start a more natural conversation and build rapport.
Next, be sure to tell them about the opportunity that just opened up at their company and how you’d appreciate them passing along your info to the hiring manager for the position.
Sign your name.
Step 6 – Send a personalized message to each of these employees.
Make sure you fine tune each message to fit the individual. People can tell if you’re just copying and pasting, and that will be a bad first impression.
Step 7 – Await their response and ask for their referral.
You have a 1 in 5 chance of a response message. Once you do get one, play it cool. This is your chance to carry on the conversation (if they ask about how you know that shared connection, for example) and get to the big ask, “Any chance you could pass along my portfolio and resume to the hiring manager for this position?” This is where you attach your creative resume (formatted for humans not ATS robots) and include a link to your personal website.
Congratulations! You now have a possible 5 separate referrals from within the company hand delivering your resume directly to the hiring manager. BOOM. A thing of pure beauty. It’s so simple, you just skipped the line, pal and even got bonus referral points from within the company.
Why am I not getting any job interviews to begin with?
I have searched for jobs multiple times and have found that the online job application process is a one-sided system. Remember, it’s the companies posting jobs that are dishing out the money for candidates. You on the other hand are the product. (Did I just say the quiet part out loud?)
You aren’t getting any job interviews because your resume isn’t getting to the recruiter. Online job applications are submitted through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These recruiting tools filter out resumes and profiles that don’t contain the required content needed to pass along to the job poster. It’s important to pay close attention to tailoring your resume to match the keywords found in the job description for better ATS rankings.
It’s not that you aren’t qualified, it’s often because your resume just isn’t formatted correctly.
Hiring managers aren’t responding to your application because your resume is getting lost in the stack of resumes. On average, 250 applicants apply to any corporate jobs. Out of these candidates 4-6 will be interviewed and only 1 will get the job offer.
How do I increase my chances of landing a job interview? It’s all about being strategic with your job searching strategy. Focus on referrals before you apply and you will see more opportunities open up in your favor. Remember, the job search process is based on a broken system.
The job search process is based on a broken system
This is what I like to call, the Standard Search Procedure. Here’s how it works…
You click on the ever so convenient “Apply Now!” button.
You then sit back, stretch your arms behind your head and await for the job offer letters to roll in like a tidal wave.
You continue to wait for a response, hopes still high.
You double check your email multiple times throughout the day, making sure your offer letter didn’t accidentally get sent to the spam folder.
You start researching, “How long till the recruiter responds to my application?” and other silly questions you won’t like the answer to.
You are tired of waiting and are now at the point of pure frustration that no one has gotten back to you about your application. Like, seriously, how hard is it to respond??
Then finally, you receive that long awaited email notification from that company only to find out it’s a weak ass automated rejection email. How convenient for the employer…
Then you start all over again from square one, with a knock on your confidence.
The best thing you can do for your job search is to stop applying
After months and months of applying for jobs using the Standard Search Procedure (and getting nowhere) I took a much needed break and re-evaluated my job searching strategy, highlighting what was working and what wasn’t.
What am I doing wrong?
I realized that I had been searching for so long (roughly 7 months at that point) that I had entered into a state of desperation.
I like to call this the “Spray and Pray” method where anything that looks remotely relatable to your skill set you hit the Apply Now button without hesitation. This method sounds good, because we all know that the more shots you take, the higher the odds of one landing.
The main problem with this approach when it comes to finding your next career, is that you are most certainly not the only other candidate doing this exact thing.
On average, each corporate job offer attracts 250 resumes. Of those candidates, 4 to 6 will get called for an interview, and only one will get the job.Glassdoor.com
I realized I wasn’t going to be seen by recruiters if I relied solely on applying with popular job boards, even if I was the most qualified.
How can I prove to recruiters that I am the most qualified candidate if I stop applying?
The biggest issue with the online job search process is the complete lack of human interaction. As a job seeker, you are reduced to the keywords on your resume and nothing more.
If you have been applying for any type of job online, you have at one point or another interacted with an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).
These systems are what analyze incoming resumes and sort out a majority of them to fit the specified requirements for the position according to the recruiter that created the job posting. ATSs are a major time saving tool for recruiters, just imagine how much time and effort it would take to sift through an average of 250 resumes for each job posting!!
While corporate recruiters are relieved that they no longer have to waste time looking through hundreds of resumes, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are the biggest hurdle for job seekers.
The solution to this is easier than you think.
To get more job interviews and offers, it is important to remember the human.
This one simple change to my job searching strategy increased my interview count by more than 3x. Remember the human.
Instead of following the Standard Search Procedure and hitting that Apply Now button without hesitation, I decided to try and take the time to develop a more strategic approach focusing on connecting with employees who actually worked at the companies I was applying to.
This not only gave me an inside track to the company culture and the people who work there, but it also allowed me to tee myself up for a home run opportunity to skip the stack of resumes and land my resume in the hands of the hiring manager for that position.
Yes, you read that right. By NOT applying on job boards, I used the power of networking and referrals to drive my job search. It’s almost too good to be true. This method I used is incredibly simple and takes a strategic approach to the job searching process.
Keep this article handy as it shows you step by step how to land more job interviews. Get your resume to the top of the resume stack using all from the comfort of your living room couch.
So what have we learned here today?
The reason you aren’t getting hired or interviews isn’t because you aren’t qualified, it’s because the job search process is based on a broken system.
You aren’t getting responses from hiring managers because your resume is getting lost in the massive stack of resumes that are being applied to each job posting.
Your resumes are stuck in the empty job search abyss because your resume isn’t formatted for keywords to appease the Applicant Tracking Systems you are using to apply.
You aren’t getting noticed because you aren’t connecting with people who can get you where you want to go.
Now go out there friend, and get the job you’ve always wanted.
If you found some value from this article and know it will benefit a friend or family member, please share it!
If you have tried this method step by step, I want to hear about your experience. Send me a DM on the @couchtocareer Instagram.
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