5 ways to get noticed by an employer before a job is even available!
You know how the story goes, right.. A job pops up.. Advertised by a good company… It’s along the lines of your dream. All of a sudden, your brain feels electric with possibility. You start to envisage your future.. You reckon you’d be the best. You’d love it the most. You’d do the most amazing work. So, you tailor your CV a bit, send it off before the applications close. And.. You wait. You hope. You wait. You nail bite. You wait. You wonder why the hell it’s taking them so long to get in touch, and come up with your own reasons to justify.
You live. In total hope. Creating belief from the smallest of signs. Rationalizing that no one else could want it this bad.. It’s your chance.. It’s your turn.. This job HAS to be the beginning of your better life!
If you’re lucky, you might get a generic email eventually saying something along the lines of.. ‘Thank you (insert name) for your interest in this position. We had an overwhelming amount of interest for this role, and were simply inundated with high calibre applications, including yours. Unfortunately, on this occasion, you were not successful.’
And your heart skips a beat. Blood which is juicy with lameness starts to pump around your body and starts to seep in to your thoughts which makes your mind go blank and your motivation gland ask why the FLIP do you even bother?! You’ll screen calls from mum for a few hours, just until you are ready to share news of devastation without appearing devastated. You’ll listen to Matt Corby and/or Adele which will just make you wish you were more talented. You’ll cry tears for the glittering future you were so sure of. And eventually, you’ll convince yourself that you didn’t even want it anyway.
Oh man, I feel so down even playing that scenario out!! It’s one I’ve been through many a time, especially in the last two years, as I’ve been honing in on what it is I actually want to do with my life.. I thought that once I sussed that part, it’d be easy. The universe would take care of my dream. Of my purpose. Of my vision. And sure enough, I started to see opportunities popping up for presenters (which I swear I’d never seen before!). I started to apply. I put more thought in to my application than ever before (once I even wrote a rap! Defs worth checking out the amazing embarrassment factor of this video once you’ve read this post!!).
And still, the rejection emails, phone calls, and stone cold silences came. I would feel down. I would feel out. I’d feel like my time had flippin’ passed. Until another opportunity came up..
This cycle is vicious. It plays on the mind. It makes you wonder what’s wrong with you, and makes you question your motives. You know how you know you want it? When the next opportunity arises, you still go for it, even harder than the last time. That’s resilience of the spirit for you..
But what if there was a way you could forge your own opportunities rather than wait around for them..? What if you could be in an employers mind before you had even met them? This is my new line of thinking. And so many things have come through for me in the last few months, just from being a little bit more proactive, and thinking in a way that’s just a little more out of the box.. Although I’m absolutely no expert, I thought I’d share some of the advice I’d give to any emerging hustler (lots of which I have learnt from my mum.. Naturally!).
1 – Do some ground work
You are smart. You are savvy. And you need to be one step ahead. So, do some ground work for yourself before a job even becomes available. Brainstorm a list of 12 companies you may want to work for. Delve in to their mantra. Stalk their people (Linked In = gold mine). If you can, set up a meeting with someone who works in a position you could see yourself in. Find out from the inside what it’s like. You may discover that it’s your dream. You may discover that actually, it’s not. Either way, you’ll be one step closer to knowing what it is you want, and why it is you want it. You may find out something that can help fast track your path.. For example, there may be a specific course you need to take before you’ll even be considered. This approach can help you glean information, hone in on the best next steps, and most importantly, get you in front of the people who can help get you to your goal. But before you do this – Do. Your. Research. There is nothing more impressive than being an expert before you’ve even stepped in the door.
2 – Be daring.. And go as high as you can.
So you reckon you’ve found out what your dream is or at least might be.. Lucky YOU! Now it’s time to be bold. These days, people are busy. People forget. It’s hard enough to put ones own priorities first let alone the hopes and dreams of someone else.. So skip the messenger. Send an email or make a phone call straight to the top. If that person is too busy, they won’t respond. But there is no harm in trying! Find them on Linked In.. Find out what they like to do with their weekends.. Find out what kind of business they won last year, or what personal successes they had.. Incorporate this info in to your email, and make it more personable. The old saying is still true – flattery can get you places. Confidence is still attractive. Even if they don’t respond, they’ll know your name. And this can be a huge advantage if something comes up in the future.
3 – Add something memorable to your CV
Now, when you make contact, you should also of course send in your CV! Rather than saying, ‘if you would like my CV or any other documents, please let me know’, send it in straight away from the get go and say boldly ‘my CV is attached – I look forward to hearing your feedback’. Make this process easy for them. They are far more likely to invest their time if they have all the information there in one place. Affirm that you value their opinion, that you would like them to respond. And make it worth their while by adding something memorable and different to your CV. This could be as simple as a photograph or a quote which gives your CV a face, a personality, as well as credentials. But it’s even better if you can think outside of the box.. For my industry, it’s important to be good in front of a camera.. So I have taken to sending in tailored video submissions as part of my CV. Applying for a graphic design job? Make sure your CV reflects the creativity of your design work. Applying for a job in advertising? Create a mock post campaign powerpoint presentation! Think smart. Think about the position you want. Think about what you can bring. Think about the things your potential employer would expect from you in the job. And make your submission a total representation of exactly that.
4 – Don’t be too proud to invest
Although we like to think of ourselves as the creative masters of our own destiny, the fact is we are not good at everything. It is totally worth investing a slice of your hard earned cash in return for something that could be the difference between yes and no. It doesn’t have to be expensive.. Purchase a CV template to make your application more eye catching. Talk to an expert about how you can word your experience in a way that gets noticed. Get some amazing head shots to supplement your application and make you look like serious professional. Hell, if you’re game, rent a flippin’ billboard outside the company offices! That header image? I employed a graphic designer to photo shop me in with The Edge afternoon hosts, and to create a super interesting layout for my CV. I then had it printed out on quality paper, and physically mailed it in. Invest to impress. Invest to stand out. Even if it doesn’t come through (like in the instance above..! I did, however, get an interview, and was in the top TWO candidates!), you’ll have an amazing template to work from later, and will have done half the work towards making a good impression for future opportunities.
5 – Always remember, there’s still a lot to be said for being old school
My best advice? Pick up the phone. It’s daunting. But it can really speak volumes about your character. When I first moved to Auckland, I called someone in the radio industry to set up a meeting. Out of the blue. Before I’d even sent an email! I introduced myself. Told her what I wanted to achieve. And asked if I could shout her a coffee and meet her to talk about what I should do from here. On the other line, stunned silence. If Adele had released ‘Hello’, I would have broken in to that song out of sheer panic. I almost shat myself. Then finally, she said to me, ‘Lucy, do you know I haven’t received a phone call like this in over ten years?’ Long story short, we met up. I gave her my CV. She gave me some advice. And now, a year later, I work part time in the same building she does! Moral? Be brave. Persist. Put your pride aside. And just go for it.
So do something. Like, right now. My quote on the ‘Gram this morning was a total kick up the bum for me. Don’t wait around for something to come to you. Take action. Safe guard your future. Do the ground work now, before you even know what’s coming. HUSTLE. And go get ’em!
What measures do you take to try and stand out? Would love to know your ideas/tips!! Comment below, or email email@example.com. And, of course, feel free to share this post with anyone you think could value from it! The more people who feel confident in hustling for their dreams, the better.
Now, here’s the link to that rap again, ’cause geez, you’ll probably need some light relief at my expense after that long post!