If you go about it the wrong way, you can just about forget it. So let's not go about it the wrong way. And just to be clear, if you are sending out resumes to posted job openings or hiring managers, even if it's at a select group of companies, you are going about it the wrong way.
The Right Way
So what's the right way? First, determine the job you do want at X Corp. Get really clear on the title (you might be inventing one; that could be a great advantage), what the job entails, and most importantly what value you can add. We'll take this step by step.
First, research the job. Find out everything you can about it. Find out the complaints people have, what they are challenged by, what was most difficult for them in coming on board, what special skills they are making use of, what they wish they had, what makes the biggest difference with their boss. Once you've gone as far as you can on-line/at the library, reach out to your network, and make contact to the people in those jobs and find out even more. Your research should be filling your head with questions anyway. Eventually you will talk to their bosses as well; we'll get there.
Aside: you might find through this process that a job at X Corp doesn't excite you as it once did. That is also a blessing. How much worse would it be if you spend six months working there and then find yourself looking again because it's not where you want to be?
Once you've done that, figure out exactly what you could bring to the job that isn't being done now. Make an inventory of everything you've done in your life, and notice what skills pop up and what you learned. Maybe you're off to be a programmer, but haven't programmed professionally. Maybe you worked in a library, and figured out a way to reshelve books faster than everyone else. Connect it, “you've created systems to move information more efficiently; maybe there's a direct application to programming, maybe not.”
Make a list of ideas that you could implement to add value to the company. Maybe you noticed in your interviews of current employees that there is an information bottleneck or a lack of coordination. Determine whether these are things you'd want to solve, and come up with solutions.
You actually have an advantage as an outsider. Many people get so busy at their work they can't or don't take the time to look at the bigger picture. You also might be coming from outside of the industry. There might be standard practices in your background that haven't shown up here yet, especially if it's a start-up or a smaller company that hasn't sorted it all out yet. But the opposite might also be true. Maybe the company is so damned big, they've forgotten about the simple solutions that are obvious to you.
Now you work your contacts again, and get to the people who can give you a job. You don't take no from anyone who doesn't have final authority. If you've done this right, you'll already have some contact with these people and be intimately familiar with their pain. You'll also be ready to provide the balm.
There are a lot of advantages to this approach:
By being clear about the job you want, and how it will use you in the best way possible, you will be excited about the work you are applying for. Excitement is contagious.
Your future boss will know that you are invested in this organization, understand how it works, and will be ready to hit the ground running. He will not have to deal with the headache of training someone who is an approximate best fit after some exhaustive hiring process.
You probably did not answer an advertisement. You are competing with far fewer people. When a job is advertised, anyone with a printer and skill set even remotely close will send in his resume, and you'll have to pray that your resume isn't sorted into the garbage can for some stupid reason that has nothing to do with your ability to do the job.
You will be coming in and offering solutions to problems the boss may not have thought of, or which he knew about, but didn't take the time to tackle. Now, the solution is staring him in the face. He doesn't need to look any further. And it might be that you have invented a job that wasn't there before, but that is now obviously valuable to the organization.
You will have established the value you add. You have demonstrated that hiring you will make your boss look better, make his life easier, and add to the bottom line of the organization.
You will make some friends along the way. Even if you don't get this job, you've established yourself as someone who thinks (a rare commodity) and someone willing to go the extra mile to get the job done right. These are powerful things for which to be known and remembered.
You'll not waste your time sending resumes for job openings that you might could do.
Remember, the job listing is often the employer's last resort. It means he's already talked to his friends and worked his network. It means he's got to sort through hundreds of resumes, weed out as many as possible (including yours, unless it's extraordinary), sit through a bunch of interviews (taking time away from management), and maybe remember who you are. The old way is not your friend.
If you want a job at X Corp., you can do it, but you've got to be smart about it.
I can help you. You can Schedule a Call and I'll get you started.
I also highly recommend Ramit Sethi's Dream Job Course. Follow this link for The 80/20 Guide To Finding a Job You Love, a rich series of e-mails leading you into the course sign-up. And if you do choose to take the course, stick with it, and sign up through my link above, I'll add a month of my coaching as a bonus (I usually charge more for one month than the cost of Dream Job), which you may use anytime within six months of signing on.
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