- Reason 1: You are competing against everyone looking for work in your skill and experience set. The 20, 30, 40, 50, (and yes) 60-somethings.
- Reason 2: You are one of possibly several hundred applying for each position. Plus you are being vetted generally by an HR recruiter. Job descriptions have parameters laid out to help a recruiter decide who to take a deeper look at and who to pass on.
We’ve already talked about how to pump up your resume, but how do you get yourself to really stand out to recruiters? Put yourself in their shoes for a few seconds.
Meet Danielle. An HR recruiter. Her job is to look for people to fill positions. That is what she does all day, every day. She may have to also manage the background checks. So, first, she’ll meet with the hiring manager…let’s say in this case, the VP of Sales, Frank. Frank and Danielle discuss what particular qualifications Frank is looking for in the position. They agree on the job description, which will include a particular skill set tied to employment history and level of accountability plus a possible education and/or credit requirement.
Now Danielle does 2 Things.
- Posts the position internally.
- Posts the position on various recruitment websites or media outlets, such as newspapers.
Why did I put Thing 1 as Thing 1?
Because when it comes to filling a position…ANY position…a referral from an existing employee leads more often to being able to fill the position than from doing an extensive job search. Now, you may not know ANYONE at any company that you might want to work for, but here is the task ahead of you.
You need to manage your own 3 Things:
- Target specific companies. Are there several companies that you’d give your eye-teeth to work for? (Well, maybe at 50 plus you aren’t as willing to give up a tooth…but let’s just say you’d really, really want to work there.) You need to find those companies and do some research. Who is the HR Director? Who runs the department you want to work for? Are you able to get a site tour? There is nothing wrong with trying to set up an informal meeting with a Recruiter. There is nothing wrong with hand delivering a resume. There is nothing wrong with sending in a resume in the hopes of a position opening up. So put on your walking shoes and driving gloves and physically, actually, start looking.
- Find your 6 degrees of separation. If we know that Thing 1 for a Recruiter is tops on their list, and we KNOW that many jobs fill based on personal referral, then it is incumbent upon YOU to find that connection. Now that you know which companies you want to work for, find people who know people who know people at those companies. Call them up, speak with them and ask them who to deliver your resume to. More often than not, they’ll tell you to email your resume to them and they will forward it along. There are many cases, countless cases, where someone gets hired through personal referral and the Recruiter discovers that their resume was completely overlooked when it was submitted in response to an ad.
- Know your product…YOU. Who the heck are you? When you get that interview, how will you clinch the deal? Why WOULD someone want to hire you? What is so special about you that a company would be crazy not to bring you on board? What do YOU bring to the table that this company needs? What are you strengths and what are your weaknesses? What is your personal brand?
We’ll talk more about personal brand in the next post.