To go off my most recent post on going through the interview process and what a great experience I had with my interviewers, I wanted to talk about what I did to get hired. Also, I couldn’t pass up the play on words with a good song by Matt Nathanson. I know there are some great and much more thorough sources than what I can say in a single blog post on landing the perfect gig for you, like my friend Mark Babbitt’s company YouTern. But I always like sharing what I learned in our currently turbulent work environment.
When I began this job-hunt, I wanted to change my unsuccessful strategy that I’d been using for the last six months of doing the shotgun effect: sending out my resume to anyone that had a position open that remotely interested me. I say unsuccessful because I wasn’t getting a call-back for an interview on anything. Just a bunch of “sorry, but we’re moving forward with other candidates” emails. This strategy I found wasn’t working for a couple reasons.
- I wasn’t selective, hence the “shotgun” approach. I was signing up for a TA position in the school of Journalism, an FBI position at the Reno branch, and a Restaurant manager position. This wasn’t for me because I knew I wanted to still be in manufacturing/distribution learning more on process and product improvements. Not to say this strategy wouldn’t work for others, especially if you’re just wanting to do something new. But, if you know what you want: go for it.
- Because I wasn’t selective, I wasn’t passionate about the positions I was applying for. My lack of passion showed in my application complete with an outdated and generic resume. Granted, I was also at a different position in my life where I was just looking for something that would satisfy my need for a better culture fit.
- I wasn’t doing research into the position or the company to see if that was something I was truly willing to do. Was this company willing to work alongside my graduate school schedule? Would they be providing training/mentors to help me grow into the position? Was I going to be compensated fairly to fit the lifestyle I wanted? I wasn’t asking these questions, which showed in my lack of focus on finding the right position.
These factors compounded onto each other to create one the most unsuccessful job-hunt I’d ever created. I even had headhunters that would not take me on because I couldn’t fit into one of their categorical boxes. Though, that last point ended up working in my favor. Instead of having to dress myself up to fit a company that a headhunter was working for, I decided to search on my own to find a company that I could “fit with” instead of “fit for.” BEST. DECISION. EVER…well at least within the last month. So, with my new strategy in mind I ended up applying for just 4 jobs within my area. I got 3 callbacks for interviews. That’s 75% hit rate. Not bad, right?
What I did instead was I did the opposite of the three points I made above.
I was selective. I only applied for positions that I knew I would be interested in and could apply my previous experiences toward the job requirements. Not to say I only applied to things that I could prove I’ve done in the past. For example, I applied to a lot of LEAN or process improvement manager positions. I’ve never led a LEAN or 6σ project before, but I’ve led teams in various roles in the past and I’ve always been passionate about process improvement. So don’t be afraid in applying for jobs that you’ve never done before, especially if it’s something you feel you’d be fulfilled by doing that job. Then, I would research the company. What are their values, mission statement? How and why did they get started? What is the senior management like, their values, and what do they expect from their employees? If you find that this information on the senior management is hard to find, that means they’re probably not on social media, (aka red flag!). Not to say (which is apparently my favorite phrase for this blog) the company still isn’t great, but I would just advise against working for a company that isn’t transparent like that.
Once you like what you see on those three points above, the final key is to modify your resume to fit the job description. Take your experiences from previous jobs and match them with what is stated in the job description. Be careful to not be a fibber; be honest! Just make sure you’re using their lingo so they know, “hey, they have done this before and we need someone who can do that!” Also, try to tactfully include key words from their mission and/or value statement within your resume. By showing that you truly believe in their values and mission it’ll communicate that you would be a good fit into the culture. Once you have customized, catered, and/or adjusted your resume to better fit that position, hit the “Submit” button and cross your fingers! Finding the right position is EXTREMELY stressful, but you can do it! Understand the company is putting a lot of time in trying to find the right person, just like you’re putting time into finding the right fit. You get out what you put in. So put out and get hire! (innuendo intended)
Tweet me about a successful interviewing experience you’ve had with a similar or different strategy! How did the culture fit work for you?
Photo credit: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/come-on-get-higher-sheet-music/19010014