Job hunters today are subject to the same old, rehashed advice: network like crazy, customize your cover letter, improve your resume and follow these interview tips, etc.
What most job seekers don’t see is the more unconventional approaches, which require extra effort and can really make you stand out from the crowd both before and throughout the interview process.
Let’s explore these seven nontraditional— yet very effective— tips to help you think outside of the box and land the job you’ve always wanted:
1. Make a vulnerable, personal connection— preferably, with a passionate industry professional.
There’s a reason Dr. Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability, courage and empathy is so well-known. Brown’s 16 years of studies support the big idea that in order for individuals to truly bond, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable.
For active job seekers, add some personality behind your two dimensional resume by showing prospective hiring companies a glimpse of what makes you “human,” and not just another name in their stack of applications. Share something you admire about the person or company, or pick up the phone and make that intimidating introduction call.
If you’re nervous, sometimes it’s okay to be transparent and explain why. Even expressing how much you’re invested in their cause could be enough to make the small personal connection needed to inspire a new professional opportunity! Just be sincere.
2. Don’t shy away from forming “acquaintances” either, as they are often the key to successful networking.
Although forming strong personal relationships can be very rewarding, transactional alliances can have a great impact on furthering you in your career. These are the types of people you meet in passing, or through a friend of a friend that might know the right person, or maybe it’s someone there to give you the advice you need to get an edge over the competition.
Whenever you meet someone in or closely related to your industry, ask yourself, “does this person have other relationships that could be useful to me?” Consider ways you could leverage even a small connection to your advantage and keep you networking web as wide as you can.
3. Offer to go above and beyond the job description by crafting your own unique, invaluable role.
You may feel like your dream job just isn’t on the market— so make your own! When applying or interviewing for a new role, don’t be afraid to show what else you can do in addition to their minimum job requirements.
For ambitious professionals who want to rapidly build their portfolios, a “fusion” position that involves the work of what would normally be the responsibility of multiple individual roles could give you extra experience, even a pay boost. Oftentimes, this diverse role is one that becomes so difficult for your company to fill, you’ll prove yourself to be an invaluable member of the team.
4. Break the habit of “mass applying” and instead channel your energy into the position you really want, strategically.
The more places you apply to, the greater probability of getting hired somewhere, right? Although this could be the case, with many job seekers rejected by over 15 employers before landing a job, it may benefit you to be choosy and put maximum effort into applying to a short list of your top positions instead. Not only could it save you time, but it will likely increase the passion you put behind your resume, profile, etc.
Once you find an intriguing job opening, don’t rush to apply. First, research the company and other employees who work there. This is another great opportunity to reach out and make a vulnerable, genuine connection. Share with the individual what you admire about the company, ask for advice or some questions to help you understand the role better and see if you’re the right fit. Ask if they know how you can get your resume into the right hands and use these gained insights to travel faster up the chain to the ultimate decision-maker for the new hire.
5. Brush up on some psychology wisdom, especially around body language cues.
Stop focusing on your outfit for the interview and instead channel your energy into personal growth. Dale Carnegie once said “the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” A real smile, one that comes from within, is one of his strategies for influencing people. This is just one of many ways to earn genuine respect and likability from people, as detailed in his highly praised book, How to Win Friends & Influence People. This could be a beneficial read for impressing your next interviewer.
Smiling is just one way to earn someone’s admiration, as there are many subtle body language cues you can be mindful of to create a welcoming, confident atmosphere. Ensure your posture is upright, your hands aren’t crossed or closed off and that you’re making active eye contact and showing physical signs of engagement, even when listening to them speak.
6. Take a role that fits your big picture, or in-sync with a larger five year goal in mind.
In effort to keep paychecks flowing, those without a job might be more inclined to take any position to help to cover the bills. When on the job hunt, be sure to look for a company and a position that will best align you with your long-term goals.
Ask yourself how this network or the experience you gain from this particular role will help you make the necessary steps to achieve your career goals. In order to properly answer this, you’ll have to develop a five, ten, even fifteen year plan for your professional success and focus on developing the right skills and gaining the right experience.
7. Stop strictly using traditional job hunting methods and choose a better platform.
Albert Einstein once said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If you want nontraditional results, you have to do something different.
The typical go-to platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn could be your problem. Try an anonymous job searching platform like GoGig to allow recruiters to find you, instead of pining after expired job postings. Our special algorithm matches hiring companies to candidates confidentially, fostering the perfect pairings based on your desires, personality, geo-location and unique skills.
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