You’ve polished your resume and done your homework. But to get your foot in the door at your dream company, it’s time to step it up. Here’s how.
You may dream of blazing a trail into a new career, but getting your foot firmly wedged in the door is the hardest part. You’ve researched everything there is to know about your dream company, you’ve trawled its website and emailed several times to no avail.
Doing your homework is one thing, but an excellent resume doesn’t cut it in a crowd of equally strong resumes. Instead, get thinking, planning and creating. As long as you’re prepared for a bit of hard work, you can find ways to stand out from the crowd.
1. Create an online mind map of ideas for the company
Impress employers by showing you’re passionate about their company, that you have awesome new ideas and you’re not afraid to show them. Jot down your best ideas and strategies for the company you want to work for.
Rather than just handing over the list or typing up a word processing document, show you can communicate effectively by compiling it into an online flow chart, mind map or infographic.
For flow charts and mind maps, try out Popplet or Coggle. These online apps let you create text boxes, change colors and insert images and videos. Break down your ideas into categories and map them out creatively.
If you want to create an infographic of your thoughts, Piktochart and Easel are great places to start. Remember to keep text in small chunks to ensure it’s not overwhelming and use relevant images to engage the reader.
2. Have a strong online presence
Starting your own blog or website can be an incredibly effective way to market yourself and help people get to know you. Don’t force an employer to take a gamble on you; a website can showcase your skills needed for the job.
A blog isn’t a diary for yourself; it’s a way to engage with the community and create a portfolio of your work. (Click here to tweet this quote.) Whether you want to write about working in dentistry, share tips for new teachers or show off your photography, your own blog can provide the perfect platform.
Add links to previous work you’ve done online, or write about activities and programs you’ve been involved in. If you’re not confident about running your own blog, why not contribute to another blog? Guest posting for blogs and websites who are authorities in their field shares your expertise and gets your name out there.
3. Showcase your skills on an animated video
For years applicants have been writing their resumes on plain paper and Word documents, but times are changing, and resumes should change with them. Plenty of young graduates create videos of themselves to accompany their resumes, but to avoid coming across awkwardly on camera, as many do, animate your resume instead.
Online software like Moovly, PowToon and GoAnimate allow you develop your own short video. Not only is animated video engaging, but it’s also an opportunity to show off your skills in a fun way. If you need inspiration, check out Riikka Uhmavaara’s and Alyssa Berkovitz’s animated resumes.
4. Be bold and think outside the box
There’s a right way and a wrong way to get noticed by doing something unconventional. Being out of the box can be a great way to prove you’re creative, innovative and worthy of a job, but if it’s not done right, it can make you look crazy instead.
Ask yourself whether your out-of-the-box stunt is going to prove you can use your skills and experience to excel in the job role you’re after. If the answer is yes, do it.
Remember Adam Pacitti, the unemployed media production graduate who spent his last £500 advertising himself on a billboard? Showing off his viral advertising skills secured him a viral production job with Seachange. If your idea is more along the lines of sending a plastic foot to the director of the company, go back to the drawing board.
5. Do the job before you even get an offer
If you’re not as bold as Adam, another way to get your foot in the door is to start doing the job that you want to do, in whatever way you can. Want to work in film production? Make your own short films and upload them to YouTube.
Want to secure a job as a web designer? Find a friend with an independent business and create or revamp their webpage, but be sure to include a link to your contact details so people who like your work know how to find you.
Think that project management is right for you? Start your own small scale project and put together a small team to get it running.
Don’t wait until you get a job offer to do the work you want to be doing; take steps to improve your skill set and show potential employers that their job would be second nature to you. Post updates on your website and social media so you and others can keep track of your progress.
Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, Construction and Medical sectors. He is currently running the Jobs4Group, and is CEO of Jobs4Medical.