Even if you’re qualified, there’s a lot of uncertainty in simply applying for the job and hoping for the best. The question is, how can you better market yourself for that particular job?
Beyond the creative approaches (like taking out a billboard outside the hiring manager’s window and plastering your face on it), here’s 5 things you can do to make yourself the top candidate for your dream job.
Update your resume
Read the job description and company website several times and then find ways to adjust your resume so it uses the same terminology. The more your resume speaks the company’s language, the better chance you have of surviving the hiring manager’s preliminary round of cuts.
Some of the best places to find opportunities, outside of the job description itself, are the “About” and “Our Team” pages of the company’s website. Consider working their core values into your resume, or find a cause they support that you’ve also supported and make sure it’s on your resume.
Update your LinkedIn profile
You better believe potential employers are going to look you up on LinkedIn. If you’re determined to get this one particular job, go ahead and edit your LinkedIn just like your resume before you submit the application. The consistency will help them see you’re the real deal.
Because LinkedIn is often the first place this employer will see what you look like, make sure your profile picture fits their image of someone they could hire. Though some people say you should always dress up (and therefore wear a jacket and/or tie in your profile picture, as well as to the interview), we argue it’s often better to look the part. If the CEO is wearing a t-shirt in her picture on the website and the staff with jobs similar to the one you’re applying to also seem to dress down at work, a suit and tie in your LinkedIn picture may make you look too stiff for their team.
Network in their network
Most companies will announce what networking events they’re planning on attending, or better yet, those they’re supporting or hosting. Make it a point to attend those events and rub elbows. Don’t go in with the mindset that you have to meet anyone in particular but rather, try to be friendly with everyone – you never know who might be connected to the right people at those networking events.
If you’re a bit introverted and struggle with networking, you might feel uncomfortable attending events. We recommend that you go anyway, just with the caveat that you don’t have to introduce yourself to people. Try to look available for conversation (as in, don’t look at your phone the whole time), but if nobody introduces themselves to you, don’t take it hard. There’s value in these kinds of events even if you’re not particularly social; you might learn something about the company that can help you in the interview, for example.
Brush up on your skills
It’s possible you’re as perfect for the job as the job is perfect for you but, more likely, there are some skills mentioned in the job posting that aren’t part of your repertoire. Consider making the time to learn the basics or brush up on any applicable skills that have gotten rusty so you can confidently say you know what you’re doing during the interview.
Organize a specific portfolio
Depending on the role, it may benefit you to prepare a portfolio. When you know what software the new job will require, you should customize your portfolio to demonstrate your talents with that particular technology. Showing off a brilliant bit of code in the very same language you’d be using, particularly if it’s on a project similar to one they might put you on, can be a difference-maker and set you apart from other candidates.