1. They learned as much as they could about the target employer.
They took the following steps:
2. They studied the process used by the target employer to fill job openings.
These successful job seekers regularly checked the employer's Website for job postings.
For example, one job seeker told me that she knew that her target employer always posted new job openings on Mondays. So, she always visited the company's site before lunch on Monday. She got the job she wanted, for the employer she wanted.
They also spoke with the people in the HR department to initiate (if possible and appropriate) the official job application process.
3. They established a contact on the "inside" to help them in their application process.
These job seekers tracked down contacts using LinkedIn and Twitter. They also checked with friends, family, neighbors, former colleagues who worked at one of the target employers or who knew someone who worked at one of the target employers.
Then, they worked with these people, providing as much support as possible, to identify appropriate job opportunities and get their resume submitted.
Hiring managers don't want to make mistakes — it's expensive for the employer to recruit an employee and a few "bad hires" can definitely be career-limiting events for the person doing the hiring.
Employers LOVE "employee referrals" — potential employees referred to the employer by current employees. Most have "employee referral programs" which reward employees who refer someone who is ultimately hired and becomes a successful employee. Studies show that someone who is referred into the company by another employee is usually a successful employee.
4. They stayed in touch with their internal contact, if they had one, the HR department, and/or the hiring manager.
Nicely, politely, relentlessly following up…by phone, in person, by e-mail, or even by Twitter. Whatever works best for you and is most effective in reaching a person at the employer's office.
Early in my career, I worked for a senior manager in the Personnel Office of Harvard University, and, many years later (we won't discuss how many), I still remember the ultimately successful applicant for a major construction project management job.
He called every two weeks to see how things were progressing — always polite, always nice, and always in touch. It worked for him (he got the job) as it has worked for many thousands of job applicants and sales people. I've used it myself, too.
You probably don't want to be doing another job search in a year or two, so use this job search as an opportunity to find a job with an employer who will be around (and keep you around) for a while. The research you've done in selecting your target employers should help you avoid the ones that will disappear or disappoint – although no one has any guarantees in life or work.
If you are interested in receiving additional help with your job search. And, you are interested in attending our Effective Job Search workshop. Please go to Workshops & Services on the navigation bar, locate the Summary List, find the workshop/session you would like to attend and register.