During a job hunt, the first impression you make with a potential employer is everything. Even before an interview, one should aim to stand out positively in every interaction with the company. With some creative thinking, it’s possible to make your outreach to busy human resources representatives and hiring managers more memorable.
Below, 14 members of Forbes Coaches Council discuss creative ways for job seekers to inquire about opportunities that can help them stand out to potential employers and get a foot in the door.
1. Share The Job Posting On Your LinkedIn
Share the potential employer’s job posting on LinkedIn, along with a brief descriptor of why you believe in this company and also this job opportunity. Conclude with a comment that you are now adding your own name to their list of applicants! – Cheri Bachofer, Forwarding Leaders
2. Connect Personally And Specifically
Find a way to connect personally and specifically with the company and/or employer—either by finding something specific in your history or portfolio that applies to a specific challenge they are facing or by proposing a solution to a challenge they have expressed or that you know they have. This demonstrates initiative and shows, rather than tells, that you are the problem solver for this situation. – Dhru Beeharilal, Nayan Leadership, LLC
3. Schedule Informal Employee Interviews
Network, network, network. Find a company you want to work for and schedule informational interviews with employees in various areas and levels of the company. Avoid relating transactionally by building a connection beyond surface level. Keep an eye out for job opportunities and ask for introductions and recommendations to the hiring manager. This shows you’ll go the extra mile. – Chris Herndon, lucidly™️
4. Gather Intelligence To Highlight Your Value
Connect with those doing similar work inside and outside the company. What can you find out about the job—skills, challenges, opportunities? What other info is available on the job or company on Glassdoor or LinkedIn? Use this intelligence to highlight how you are uniquely qualified to add value. By providing this level of specificity, you demonstrate both your interest and your research and networking skills. – Palena Neale, unabridged
5. Also Send A Résumé And Cover Letter Via Snail Mail
Most hiring and screening is done online. Your prospective employer has so many applicants to sift through! While you must be one of them, I strongly suggest also sending your résumé and cover letter by old-fashioned snail mail! If you can target the right person, it will literally reach their hands and eyes, and you may be the only one doing this. It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd. – Darlene Murphy, Coachworth, LLC
6. Showcase Your Professional Successes In A Short Video
A very useful practice to create a good image when trying to get a job is to create a short video explaining what professional successes you have achieved in previous roles. At the same time, after doing an analysis of the company to which you want to apply, explain what you can contribute to improve the company. – José Luís González Rodriguez, ActionCOACH
7. Connect With Organizations On Social Media
Use social media, especially LinkedIn, to connect with organizations that you are targeting and key people within those organizations. Aim to add value by commenting on their posts, asking questions and shortly describing your experience with the topic. They will notice it! – Gorana Sandric, Sandric Consulting GmbH
8. Share Your Key Skill With People At The Company
Use the skill you want to be hired for in a project that you share with people at the company. If it’s marketing, run your own marketing campaign to employees of that brand; if it’s software, create a branch of any open-source projects they have and add to it; if it’s leadership, create relationships with people at the company through shared interest and connections. – Steve Haase, Hypergrowth Coaching, Inc.
9. Make An Offer To Do A 30-Day Free Trial
Suggest the employer treat it as a free internship. Giving an employer a risk-free chance to understand what they are buying into is a great way to build their confidence in trying an employee out for a role. Additionally, it demonstrates ingenuity and accountability on the part of the job seeker to employers, both of which are incredibly needed and valued. – Kimberly Janson, Janson Associates, LLC
10. Send A Creative Proposal With A Solution
There are many highly creative ways for a job seeker to inquire about a job opportunity. However, one of the most effective and memorable methods is to send a creative proposal or pitch. This could include an original idea for how the company could improve its business or an innovative solution to a problem they are facing. – Peter Boolkah, The Transition Guy
11. Send Something Clever Or Funny With Your Résumé
Stand out. Be different. The job market is saturated with noise and people. To get noticed, be creative and capture their attention. Connect with people in the organization. Overnight a copy of your résumé with something clever, funny or interesting—photoshop yourself into a team photo, send your brag book, create a QR code with an introduction video or solve a problem, for example—make an effort. – Christie Garcia, Mindful Choice, LLC.
12. Gain Attention By Taking A Multimedia Approach
A multimedia approach to attracting the employer’s attention and sharing your value proposition can be as creative as you are willing to be and breaks through the white noise of everyone else’s boring emails, follow-up calls and weak résumé construction. Go beyond the norm to be seen as unique. This is an especially great strategy to dispel the biases associated with older workers. – Cathy Lanzalaco, Inspire Careers LLC
13. Research And Understand The Company’s Annual Agenda
A personal strategy I have used is to connect with current employees within or outside of my network to understand the company’s agenda for the year. Research and use that information to share your insights during the interview to demonstrate relevant experience and the value you might offer. This helps the employer know you have done your homework and transforms the interview into a conversation. – Rittu Sinha, The Balanced Bandwagon
14. Follow Up Tenaciously After Sending Your Résumé
Be tenacious. Be tenacious in your follow-up after you’ve sent the résumé. When it seems like you can’t follow up anymore, do it again. You have to seek every opportunity you can to keep yourself, your name and your qualifications in front of a potential employer so you don’t get lost in the pile of other applicants. – Jon Dwoskin, The Jon Dwoskin Experience