Research, research, research
Choosing a company to bet your career on should not be a decision you take lightly. Do as much research as possible on any potential company before investing your time and resources on an application for a position with that company. Interviewing with a company that does not fit your culture is a waste of time for everyone involved. Even if you do get the job, if you find yourself unhappy and begin searching for another opportunity within a year of accepting the role, you may be left both mentally and financially drained.
One great way to research a company is to head to its Glassdoor profile. Most companies have a career website that can provide insight into their company culture. You can also search your LinkedIn contacts for connections to someone at that company to whom you can ask questions.
Network your way into a career opportunity
Employee referral is one of the most effective paths into a company. Always work on your networking skills with others in your industry. When you seek out a position at a company, check your contacts or LinkedIn connections for someone who is employed by that company and ask if they’d be willing to refer you to an open position. Most companies have programs that provide incentives for employees that refer their contacts. As one of our recruiters who scours hundreds of applicants a day notes, “I’ll always look at a resume that comes from a current employee, because I see it as coming from a trusted source.”
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Do your homework before your interview
So your resume looks great and you were able to get the interview! Great job. Now it is time to do your homework. Be sure to google news about the company and the business group you are interviewing for. Knowledge about the group or position will give you an edge in your interview. You’ll get bonus points if you can articulate how your experience fits in with what the company is trying to do. On the other hand, if you don’t know much about the business going into your interview, it will be harder for you to sell why you would be a great fit. An IoT recruiter at Intel adds, “I have never heard a hiring manager say the candidate was too prepared.”
Too often, candidates address a recruiter by the wrong name or reference the wrong company in a cover letter. We understand that mistakes happen. And while we don’t want to miss out on great talent due to a simple mistake, our recruiters are trying to assess a candidate’s seriousness in applying to a role from hundreds of other applicants. One recruiter notes, “If we are going to work hard to find you a position at the company, we want to know that you are putting in equal effort.”
Don’t apply to everything
Recruiters can see all the positions you’ve applied to for their company. When they see that you’ve applied to 40 not-so-similar positions, it gives the impression that no thought was given to whether or not you are a good fit for those positions. One recruiter puts it best, “Applying to 5 jobs you are truly qualified for will always yield better results than applying to 30 jobs you are marginally qualified to do. There is too much competition in the market for an ‘apply for everything’ strategy to work.”
Having said that, if you are truly qualified for the position, or several of them, it is OK to apply in volume. Here are some guidelines to understand if you meet the minimum requirements for a particular position:
- Good: The position requires a 4 year degree in Engineering and you have a Chemical Engineering degree.
- Good enough: The position requires a 4 year degree in “Computer Science, Information Technology, or related discipline” and you have a Business Administration degree with an Information Systems option.
- Also applicable – the Position requires a degree in electronics or equivalent experience and you don’t have a formal degree, but have 10 years of experience as a journeyman electrician. Ensure you can speak to how your experience equates to or supersedes any institutional programs.
- Bad: The position requires a 4 year degree in “Finance, Economics, Accounting, or related discipline” and you have a degree in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy with no applicable work experience to mitigate the lack of requested degree.