The competition for jobs in some of the top companies in the world is very high – some job postings attract hundreds of qualified applicants. What should you do as a job seeker to increase your chances of getting hired? Read on to find out.
Do your research
Before you apply for a specific job, make sure your values and interests align with the company. Research the company, the roles they hire for, and you should also have an idea of what roles are best suited to you based on your experience. I remember a job seeker who applied for 25 jobs at Expedia when I used to work there. I don’t recommend this approach as it shows desperation and lack of clarity on what the job seeker wants to do. Don’t apply for more than 2 to 3 jobs within the same company.
Try to conduct some informational interviews with people working for the company you’re interested in to determine if it is a good fit for you. Check on LinkedIn if any of your connections work for this organisation or if any of your current LinkedIn connections can introduce you to someone else working for the company. A lot of people will be happy to do a quick phone call with you if you explain you’re looking to ask a few questions about what it’s like to work for this specific organisation. Make sure you prepare some questions prior to this conversation, take notes and definitely don’t start by asking for a referral. I’d never refer a stranger to a job as my reputation is at stake here. Thank the person for any help they can provide and ask if there is anyone else you should be talking to. Informational interviews are a great way to build your network and to learn about organisations you’re interested in working for.
Identify what sets you apart from other applicants
Your personal brand can really make you stand out when applying for jobs in a top company. Using LinkedIn can be a great way to boost your thought leadership by publishing advice relevant to your industry.
Get clear on specific skills and experience you’re bringing to the role. Tailor your CV/resume to each specific role and make sure that you include relevant tangible achievements and keywords listed on the job description.
Of course anyone invited to the interview at any of the top companies is qualified to do the job, so it’s essential you prepare interview stories that clearly demonstrate how you’re qualified for the role compared to other applicants.
Use Your Connections to Help Secure a Job Interview
Research has shown that 85% of jobs are filled via networking. So how do you reach out to people in the companies you’re interested in?
I know a lot of people dread networking, but networking doesn’t just mean contacting strangers on LinkedIn. It’s also about cultivating your current relationships and developing new relationships with people who can support you during your job search. Let your former colleagues and friends know what type of a job you’re looking for as well. I remember how I lost a job several years ago. I emailed all my contacts to let them know about my situation and to keep me updated if they hear of a job I specified I was looking for. 3 days later a former colleague sent me a link to a job on LinkedIn which was a perfect fit. I applied and got the role!
Check who within your LinkedIn network already works for a specific company (you can do this by typing in the company into the LinkedIn search bar). If nobody, check if any of your connections can introduce you but even if this isn’t an option, you can identify someone working in the part of the business that interests you and send them a personalised message showing an interest in who they are and then ask if they’d be available for a short call with you.
I recommend trying to connect with possible hiring managers or peers first, before trying recruiters or HR. This article explains how to increase your chances of a hiring manager responding to you on LinkedIn.
Tailor Your Resume To Each Role
It might sound like a time-consuming task but it will significantly increase your chances of being invited for an interview. Make sure that specific keywords from the job description – especially related to hard skills and industry expertise – are included on your CV/resume. You really want to show to anyone looking at your CV what your unique value is and why they should consider you.
What makes you stand out and best suited for the role? One of the most common resume mistakes is lack of specific tangible achievements. I recommend removing phrases such as “Responsible for” or “Duties included” and instead quantify your experience. What was the impact of the work you’ve done and contributed to?
If you have any specific qualifications/certifications relevant to the job you’re applying for, make sure you include them on your CV/resume as well.
To go the extra mile, you might also want to write a personalised cover letter which shows you’ve done your homework on the company and to highlight your qualifications again.
If you get the opportunity for an interview, prepare, prepare, prepare! Do your research and understand the company’s mission, values, and products. Review any recent articles about them and all their social media profiles to get a sense of what’s currently happening with the company.
Prepare interview stories using STAR (Situation – Task – Action – Result) or CAR (Challenge – Action – Result) format. You can find more information on how to prepare for a job interview in my 3-day free e-course here or my 5-day free video course on how to get hired.
To get hired, you need to be clear on what value you bring to the company/team and you need to provide specific examples that demonstrate your value. Show your personality as well and your enthusiasm for the role and the company.
If you don’t get the role, ask for feedback and continue to apply for other roles. It’s also a good idea to stay with your recruiter and hiring manager so you can stay top of mind when other similar roles become available.
Landing a job at a top company can take time and effort, so you need to be patient and resilient. Keep applying, networking and improving your skills and refining your approach. You’ve got this!