Jobs are in exceptionally high demand at the moment. Last year, eight jobs at a coffee shop in Nottingham attracted a staggering 1,700 applicants. Considering this, how can you make sure that your CV gets a look-in among all the other work-hungry applicants snapping at your heels?
One of the biggest mistakes that job seekers make is that they fire off their CV to whichever job site or recruitment company they saw the position posted on, and just leave it at that. Sure, your application might be so great that you get the call anyway, but showing some initiative can really increase your chances.
Here are three things you can do beyond the standard CV and cover letter to better pitch yourself for a job at the application stage.
Discover the company
Companies often don’t want to widely broadcast that they’re hiring, as it can upset competitive advantage. That’s why you often see job ads posted by recruitment agencies where the name of the company isn’t disclosed.
Unfortunately for the applicant, this means the only information you have to work with is in the description, which makes it harder to write your cover letter. Luckily, the internet offers a quick and easy investigation tool for you to discover the company name, and even your would-be manager.
Job descriptions are usually copied across all sites where the job is advertised – often including the company’s own careers page. Simply copy a section of the description and paste it into Google, and go through the results until you find the company. If you can’t find the careers page, look through the other job postings, as the company name might be included in other places.
Once you’ve discovered the name, you can research the company and tailor your application. You can also find out exactly who will be responsible for hiring you, and apply directly to them.
Apply to people
If you’re applying through a job site or recruiter, this adds another pair of eyes to get past before the person responsible for hiring you even gets handed your CV. This is not an ideal situation and you’ll stand a much better chance if you cut out the middle man.
If you know the name of the company, apply straight to them. In fact, apply straight to the HR department, or find out who your line manager would be and apply to them. Don’t settle for a generic “firstname.lastname@example.org” address – that’s a surefire way to go unnoticed.
LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent tools for finding this information. On LinkedIn you can search for employees of a certain company using the advanced search feature. If you only have a free account, you might not be able to see surnames, but you can find this out by Googling their first name, second initial and company name, as the full profile names appear on Google search results.
Management will often engage with their company’s Twitter, so if you can’t find out the information you need on LinkedIn, just take a look at the company’s Twitter feed. People will often put their job titles in their Twitter bios.
Once you have a name, you can use any number of free email verification tools to guess the email address. Most companies use a predictable format for email addresses. Try:
Of course, once you have a name, you could always just call the company up and find out email addresses this way.
Twitter is a great place to engage with the people you hope to work with. If you start a conversation with them, they’re much more likely to pay attention to your application. You can even use it to casually send over work that might compliment your application, such as projects you’ve worked on, or your portfolio.
This shows that you’re really interested in the position and that you’ve gone the extra mile to get noticed. After you’ve sent your application, try kicking things off by sending a Tweet like this:
Hi @employer sent off my CV today for the @company ‘x position’. Would love to work with you & think I’m a great fit. Hope to hear back.
If you are going to to do this, you should make sure that your profile is “safe for work”. Make sure you have a well-presented profile picture and that your recent Tweets are all above board.
You could even be tactical about it and tweet around topics relating to the position you’re applying for in the days before your application. Hopefully, the employer will see the tweet you sent them after applying, will look through your Twitter profile, and be impressed.
Author: Nick Chowdrey is a business writer specialising in finance, technology and marketing. He is currently staff writer at Crunch, a UK top-100 accounting firm.