By Elijah Thomas
Think about it: Would you hire yourself?
If you’ve been coming up empty for a while with hiring managers, perhaps it’s time to put yourself in their shoes. Instead of focusing on what you want from this job, consider how you’re presenting to a prospective employer.
WHEN YOU APPLY
Companies have a clear idea of the kind of candidate they’re looking for in terms of experience and leadership qualities. Closely study the job description, which should give you much of the information you need in rethinking your approach. Customize your resume so that it highlights the kind of work experience that they are looking for. If you take a hard look at your past work history and find that it’s not a good fit, then scratch that job off of your list. Then go beyond the specific spots that they need filled. Research the companies that you’d like to work for, and learn all you can about their culture, long-range goals and history.
If you get past the application process, there’ll be more homework to do. Once your interview is confirmed with a manager, learn more about their career journey. These details will give you a better perspective on what brought them to a leadership role, and the kind of people they’d like to be surrounded with on a staff. Beyond work life, look for obvious things that might connect you personally. Perhaps you share a college connection, home state or hobby? If you’re unsure who you’ll be interviewing with, do a more general search into the leadership team. Arriving with a working knowledge of how things work, and who’s doing that work, shows you’re engaged, proactive and detail oriented.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
As you look over the company’s official web site, recent news releases, web postings and media coverage, consider your answers to questions that they’ll likely ask. You will probably be asked general things, like where you expect to be career-wise in three to five years. But the company’s history and current ventures will also play a role. For instance, they may ask you about a prospective role in their latest project. If their company culture involves tasking in large collaborative groups, you might be asked about your comfort level with that style of working. It’s all critical in helping convince them that you fit the required profile.