Recently I was listening to a former colleague share how she landed her new job at a wildly popular technology company. As she was explaining how she ultimately got in front of the decision-maker, I stopped and said, “Wait, you did what?!”
It turns out she posted an article skillfully countering a point the Hirer wrote in a public blog, which caught his attention, fortunately in a good way.
While you may eventually get lucky using dated strategies to land a job – applying online, strategic-less networking, sending resumes to headhunters – if what you’re after are the most interesting and highest paid roles or marquee brands, you have to create a commotion! Here’s how:
- Know your audience. This takes a little time but is probably the most important step. Follow your targets on social media, blogs, and news channels. Attend their speaking engagements, buy their online course, and read their eBook. Learn their work style, interests, POV, Influencers, and challenges. By investing in your audience, you’ll know which disruption strategies may work and will find opportunities to execute those strategies.
- Ignore the (right) rules. We’re taught to follow rules. Mostly, this is a positive thing, but in a job search, it won’t set you apart. When you send a resume, ignore the “no calls” directive, and pick up the phone. When asked to submit an application online, find an internal contact instead. If ghosted by Human Resources, connect directly with the Hiring Manager. Your brain tricks you into doing what’s “safe,” which may help you survive, but will never allow you to thrive!
- Get creative. Mainstream books and advice columns offer mainstream advice. Hirers are bored with these tactics and find them uninspiring. Engage your unique talents – artistic skills, technology savvy, an unusual craft – to stand out. You’ll still need a compelling value proposition, but getting in front of the decision-makers is more than half the battle!
- Redirect fear. Taking a risk is inherently scary, but what should terrify you more is being lost in a pile of 500 resumes from online applications. Waiting for the phone to ring can be more anxiety-provoking than practicing 20 seconds of courage to be remarkable.
Yes, getting disruptive is risky and sometimes backfires. However, you’ll rarely get noticed by playing it safe. Rewards can only be as great as the risks you are willing to take to obtain them. So, as you share your job hunting tales, if you don’t get a few “You did what?!” reactions, there may be room to up your game!