(Photo via Google Images, used under a Creative Commons license)
Finding a job you love it hard, and it probably always will be. But here’s the good news — execute well on a few key steps and you’ll give yourself every opportunity to walk away with an offer.
The internet, of course, is littered with résumé tips, interview tips and so much more. In a fragmented information landscape, it’s hard to know what to trust. So we reached out to local founder Paul Murskov, CEO of HireKeep, a company that matches job seekers to companies based on compatible values. He once described it to us as “the eHarmony for sales recruiting.”
Since the company’s launch two years ago, Murskov has seen a lot of hiring go down. He’s seen all kinds of candidates find jobs (or not) with all kinds of companies. And as such, we wanted to know what his pro tips are.
So without further delay, here’s how to land your dream job.
Before you begin, try to identify what you want from the new company
This should be one distinct thing. Are you looking for a higher title? More money? Better benefits? There’s no right answer, but identifying what is most important to you at any given moment is a key part of finding it. Decided that the primary thing you want from a job switch is more money? Great! Be prepared to compromise on other elements of the job, like location, title, etc. “This is one of the hardest things you’ll have to do,” Murskov says. But do it anyway.
When filling out applications, talk about the added value you bring
Don’t describe what you do, highlight what you’ve done that’s been successful. What added value do you bring to a company? Focus on that. If you can, find and message the person you’d be working for — it never hurts to get a little extra face time. Make sure your resume is in PDF form. And lastly, expect to apply to a lot of jobs and hear little in response. “Don’t feel that this is a sign of failure,” Murskov advises. “It’s a full-time job so be prepared for it.”
Got an interview? Congrats! Now get to work
“Believe it or not, the first thing people don’t fully understand or grasp is the position they’re applying for,” Murskov says. Don’t be this person. Develop a deep understanding of what the function of the job is and be prepared to talk about it. Murskov further advises that, though it may seem like a good idea to talk about all the skills you have that go beyond the job description, you shouldn’t try to sell yourself into a different role. This, he says, makes hiring managers nervous that you’re not really interested in the role at hand and will be quick to move on.
Understand the company
This might seem obvious, but it’s a key piece of interview prep. Do research on the company, it’s products or services, market niche, competitors and more. Come in prepared to be “at the point where it’s almost like you already work there,” Murskov says. “Hiring managers love when you talk about the company as a team already.”
Have your pertinent information ready
Come in with multiple copies of your résumé, and make sure that the résumé is catered (to the greatest extent possible) to the job at hand. Talk about highlights from your résumé — not the whole thing. Murskov says, as a general rule, you should be able to run through the entire thing in under two minutes. Focus most on your most recent experience. If you’re talking to multiple people at the company, don’t be afraid to reiterate key points. Do, however, cater your responses to the individual — if it’s your (prospective) manager, for example, you might be more detailed than if it’s your boss’s boss. Bonus points for being able to weave together information from your various meetings as this shows you were actively listening and engaged.
Remember what mom said about manners
Make eye contact and smile. Never badmouth a previous company, boss or coworker. At the end of the interview you should collect email information from the hiring manager so you can follow up with a thank you note — a place to express your continued excitement about the job and ask about next steps.
Got an offer? Don’t jump the gun
Sometimes, the first offer you’ll get is a verbal offer. Respond by saying thanks and expressing your excitement to see a written offer — accepting a verbal offer puts you at a relative disadvantage for future negotiations over terms. Once you get the written offer, review the whole thing and write down your questions. Don’t counteroffer, Murskov advises, unless you intend to take the job if they meet your needs.
Ready to put this all into practice? Come to our NET/WORK jobs fair on March 29 — there’ll be a happy hour so you know it can’t possibly be lame.