8 Secrets to Landing the Job You Want

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Guest blogger Bob Pritchett is CEO and co-founder of Faithlife Corporation. He is a 2005 winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, one of Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs 2015, and was included in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Bob lives with his wife Audra in Bellingham, Washington; they have two children at college.

Bob’s first book, Fire Someone Today, And Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success, was released in April 2006. His second book, Start Next Now: How to Get the Life You’ve Always Wanted, will be released this month.

1. Know what job you want. The most important part of landing the job you want is knowing what job you want. If any job paying $20 / hour will do, you’ll be lucky to land one. If you take the time to figure out exactly what job you want — and will excel at — then you can invest all your energy in landing that one job.

2. Know that every resume looks the same. You graduated from school with hundreds (thousands?) of people who had essentially the same education and experience in the same year. You took the same classes. You held this or that entry-level job, and have held between zero and four other jobs where you learned to manage resources, juggle projects, and follow instructions. The poor people who receive your resume are bored out of their minds, And sadly they don’t even want you to liven it up with fancy paper or exotic fonts; they want your resume in even simpler format so they can scan it into a database they’ll search for keywords. A resume may be required, but it is just a tool for filling slots.

3. Relevant work distinguishes you. Show what you can do by having done it, and send examples of your work (or links to examples) along with your resume — or instead of it. Applying for a job as a writer? Send writing samples and links to work online. Want to be a welder? Bring photos of your work. Executive assistant? Show me the itinerary for your last vacation or photos of the birthday party you planned. Software developer? Let me download your app. Whatever the position, there is something you’ve done or can do to show you have the necessary skills, and that demonstration is far more powerful than any diploma or certificate.

4. You will be Googled. I might believe what you tell me. I’m more likely to believe what I find on my own. When I google you, what will I find? Will I find a relevant portfolio of work? A neat, professional LinkedIn profile? Evidence that you are good at what you do? Or only proof that you know how to have a fun weekend?

5. Research will set you apart. Do your own Googling. Research the employer and everyone you’ll be interviewing with. Read the employer’s web site. If there is a book about the organization, read it. You’ll inevitably have a chance to demonstrate your preparation, even if you have to sneak it into a question: “I read on your web site that…”

6. Hiring managers desperately want to hire you. Nobody wants to read a hundred resumes or interview a dozen candidates they won’t hire. It’s boring and unproductive. Hiring managers want to fill positions and get back to their other work. And if you know the job you want and will excel at, then you are the person they desperately want to hire. You just need to help them see that quickly.

7. Employers want to be wanted. Everybody wants to be wanted, and employers are no different. In a world of disinterested candidates who ‘just need a job…any job’, employers are thrilled to find someone who wants to work for them. Don’t be shy about saying “I really want to work for you,” and giving reasons. And if you don’t want to work there, don’t apply.

8. Finding a job is a lot like dating: the right fit matters, and it is worth the time to get it right. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together. You wouldn’t schedule ten dates in a week and marry the first person you hit it off with, yet many employers and job-seekers do just that. Put more energy into finding the right fit and making that fit clear to both parties, and you’ll have a happier result. Will this work everywhere? No. Some employers just want a clean resume to put into their hiring machine. But do you want to work for a machine? The best employers want the best team members, and they’re looking for people who aren’t just interchangeable parts for the machine.

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