Young man smilingIt may be helpful to mention something about the actual job search itself. It may seem like common sense, but most of my friends who didn’t find a job (or didn’t find one until the last minute) limited their interviewing to only one or two companies. Those of my friends that took a “shotgun style” interviewing mentality found jobs much faster and had multiple job offers. I’d say it was not uncommon for some of them to interview with at least 15-20 companies during our senior year. The more interviews you have, even if they aren’t necessarily your dream jobs, the more prepared you are going to be when an opportunity for your dream job does actually come up.

I know a lot of my friends found interview questions and other information about the companies they were interviewing with on  

Regarding preparing for the interview, my best advice is to plan your day out and take your time. Set clothes out the night before and make sure you know what you are going to wear and that you have a pad folio ready to go with pen and paper and at least three or four copies of your one page resume. The day of the interview, conduct yourself just like any other day and try to be relaxed. Make sure to eat a good breakfast, but don’t eat or drink anything that may upset your stomach and make you uncomfortable during the interview. Make sure to put a couple tissues in your pocket just in case. Having a couple mints is always a good idea as well.

Advice From a Young Professional
Green map marker

The Basics

Twelve Creative Ways to Get an Interview

Applying for a job requires selling your skills and abilities to the company, so think of yourself as the sales person and the company as a future client.

Lou Adler, CEO, 2014, best-selling author, Performance-based Hiring, offers 12 creative things you can do to get an interview other than apply directly to a job posting. In his opinion, if you’re not a perfect match, you shouldn’t spend more than 20% of your time applying to jobs. However, if you think you can do the job, even if you’re not a perfect match on the requirements listed, there are many things you can do to get an interview.  

1. Use the Backdoor

Once you know the job title and location look on LinkedIn or use Google to find the name of the hiring manager or department head. If this doesn’t work, call and ask someone in some other function who’s the VP of the department. The big idea: use the job posting as a lead to work rather than an application button to press.

2. Get More Referrals

Getting a referral from someone in the company is the best way to get an interview. It’s even better if the referral will give you a personal recommendation. If you’re serious about getting a better job, networking to get referrals should represent 50% or more of your job-hunting efforts. 

3. Be Different

For example, one candidate prepared a competitive analysis for a product marketing position in the telecommunications industry. He sent it to the VP who routed it to the Director. He got an interview as a result.

4. Check the Postings for Similar Jobs

If the company is hiring for similar jobs, you’ll minimize your chance of being considered for the others if you apply directly to only one. In your email to the department head, mention that you’ve noticed that the company is looking to fill a number of related positions and you wonder who’s handling all of the requisitions.

5. Prove you’re a Contender

Put a short statement in your email describing some major accomplishment that clearly reveals you’re qualified for the job. Include a link to a video or website that further validates your abilities in this area. Examples: this could be a product you worked on, a sample of your work, a credible public recommendation you received, or a demo you prepared.

6. Use Higher Authority

In your email state you’re also sending your resume (or alternate proof of ability) to others in the company. Give names and include titles. People will be reluctant to ignore your request if your proof of ability is credible and the people you’re also contacting are more senior to the person. Just imagine how they’d feel if you were hired by another company, or if the person with more authority asks why your email was ignored.

7. Become a Passive Candidate

Correct or not, passive candidates are more desirable than active candidates. So in your emails mention that an associate sent you a link to the public job description, and since you’re not actively looking, you’d like to learn more before you became a serious candidate. You’ll still need to prove you’re a viable prospect to get noticed, but being harder to get makes you more desirable.

8. Prepare a Prezi (or video) Resume

Prezis are no more than PowerPoints with better zooming and transitions, but they’re a great alternative to the traditional resume. You can use these as one measure of proof of ability by highlighting some of your major relevant accomplishments. 

9. Customize Your Emails

Don’t send generic template emails. Instead do some research about the company and include some of this information in your emails. For example, describe how your technical skills could impact products the company is developing or improve some process they’re upgrading.

10. Reduce Their Risk

There is a big risk when hiring someone for a full-time role, especially if you’re not a perfect match. One way for a job-seeker to minimize the company risk is to offer to work on a contract or consulting basis until you can prove that you are capable of handling the job and working with the people involved. Just making the offer can change how you’re perceived as a candidate.

11. Take Smaller Steps

It’s much easier to arrange an exploratory phone conversation with a hiring manager than arranging a formal onsite interview. 

12. All of the Above and More Below

Don’t give up even if these suggestions don’t work. The key is the need to be different to get noticed, and once noticed, prove you can do the work even if your skills and experiences aren’t a perfect match.

Even if you are a perfect fit for some job posting, Mr. Adler still suggests you follow these same rules. Aside from winding up with more interviews, you’ll also likely to find one that offers a real career move, not just another job. It all starts by being different.

Reference: Adler, L. (2014). 12 Ways to get a job interview and one way not to. LinkedIn. Retrieved from