You know exactly what company you want to work for, the job you want to do and where you want it to be. The only question remaining is: How do you get there?
Simply sending an application may not be enough. Large companies on average receive thousands of resumes daily.
Before you get overly excited about the prospect of working at your dream job and send that resume to the first email address you find, you have to have a plan.
Make sure you lay the groundwork so your file won’t get lost in the shuffle when the time comes to showcase your amazing professional profile.
Here’s a five-step action plan to help you land your dream job at your dream company:
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1. Research and Know What the Company Is Looking For
You may already know your dream company backwards and forwards, even what the C-suite looks like. Still, it doesn’t hurt to make sure your research is as thorough as it can be.
This will help you build a strong base for the personal brand you’re going to build to send their way.
One thing you’ll learn in business is that there is always more to learn. So look up resources that can offer you some tips on how best to research companies.
Also, make sure to check out the company’s LinkedIn profile, as well as the chief officers if they are listed. Being this thorough will make that interview you get showcase your genuine passion and enthusiasm for the position.
2. Build Your Professional Brand
Now that you’ve studied up on your dream place of employment, apply that knowledge to building your professional brand. This brand is the career narrative you want to create for yourself in order to stand out from the crowd.
Remember, unless you’re meticulous, silly things like typos can send your application straight into the trash.
Respondents to a 2013 survey by Career Builder cited that 58 percent of applicants’ resumes contained typos and 36 percent were generic and not specifically focused toward the position being applied for.
It’s so important to make sure this is part of your professional brand creation. If you’re unsure of how to begin, look into resume writing services that specialize in various industries to help get you started on the right foot.
This is especially important the higher up you get. If you’re at the managerial or executive level, getting help with your resume is just as important as when you were in college.
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A resume writer specializing in executive resumes can help you build a note-worthy, accomplishment-focused, strategic resume that can get you an 85 percent higher response rate and increased salary in nine out of 10 cases.
Also, think about building an online narrative if that suits the position you are applying for. Take Nina Mufleh and her quest to land a job at Airbnb. Her unique approach garnered national attention.
She focused on what she could bring to the table with the company rather than previous professional experience. She illustrated how she would be a great fit for her dream company and why, all in a unique way.
She found the best way to market and pitch herself.
You can do the same. There are many ways to do it, even some unorthodox ones, it’s just a matter of understanding what your dream company is looking for and how you can apply that to your own professional brand.
3. Reach Out to Individuals in the Company
You have your knowledge and your professional brand ready to be shown to the world. Now, the next step is to reach and connect with individuals already working within the company.
Perhaps you’ve already started working on your network or have a friend working for your dream employer. Wonderful! This will simplify the process of getting your foot in the door.
However, if you don’t have those established connections yet, don’t worry.
Read up on the best ways to connect with HR managers or recruiters, and dive deep into networking with the company’s employees on LinkedIn. This is a great platform to open dialogue and begin cultivating relationships with individuals you may work with in the future.
In fact, 89 percent of recruiters have hired someone via LinkedIn. Ask questions and be curious. They will most likely be glad to offer their professional advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask them for an informational interview. Whether it’s a quick chat over the phone or a lengthy meeting over lunch, you’ll be able to get the insider’s look at how things really function in the workplace.
It’ll also give you an opportunity to showcase your excitement and enthusiasm to someone already established within the company. Be sure to plan ahead with questions to ask.
You won’t want to forget any of your important questions, and you’ll also want to make sure you’re prepared for anything they might fire back at you.
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4. Tailor Your Application to Fit Their Needs
It’s now time to actually apply for the position. Your carefully laid groundwork is going to pay off. Push your creative juices to the maximum, and try to acquire the name of whose hands your application and resume has to find.
An inside referral, that informational interview paid off, will make your chances even better of that happening.
Now, before you hit the send button, you’ve got to write that smashing cover letter. Always keep your professional brand in mind.
It’s what makes you, you, and you know you’re the best fit for this company. Be sure to illustrate that.
5. Now … Send It
Send that application off on its way. You’re now one step closer to landing your dream job. You’ve laid the groundwork, took time to set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd, networked your behind off and meticulously filled out your application.
Now get ready to see the fruits of your labor.