With thousands of new people entering the job market daily, you need to tap every available resource to stand out. The internet can help you hack into the minds of potential employers, if you know where to look.
While these days it's common knowledge to use sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with potential employers, you can get a giant leg up on the competition if you get a little more creative with your World Wide Web use. Determine your best interview outfit, create an impressive and an unusual resume, and come prepared with the fascinating talking points for any lull in the conversation. In short, make it impossible for your dream job to not hire you. Here's how.
Check Out Company Culture on Twitter
Most companies have a presence on social media, and Twitter is one of the easiest ways to connect to their customers. If you're paying attention, those 140 character tweets can give you some important clues about the type of person your dream company is looking for.
Let's go to the Twitter-verse for an example: Nike vs. TOMS. The immediate visual contrast tells you the first part of the story. Nike is all about sleek minimalism while TOMS has a more organic and comfortable presentation. Style yourself accordingly; both physically and in writing.
Going through Nike's feed, you see things like "Keep moving" and "There's always a bigger mountain to climb." Your cover letter is going to do better with lots of high impact action words. When you walk into the interview, your shoes had better be polished and your outfit pressed, because they're looking for someone that exudes a very focused kind of success.
Conversely, TOMS branding is more about a laid-back kindness. Phrases like "The unexpected and the curiously familiar" and "After collecting feedback from our Giving Partners..." are floating around their feed. You can gather that TOMS is about creating a sense of community and play, so moments that you've helped within a team structure would be the focus on your cover letter. For that interview, you can get away with wearing a vintage tie or necklace with more muted colours and an organic fabric.
Think about how the images and words of the brand make you feel, and emulate that when you reach out to your chosen company.
Try An Infographic Resume
Everyone's trying to find a way for their resume to create enough intrigue that they'll get called in, and sometimes that can lead to risks that don't pay off. While a video cover letter may tempt you, be advised that more often than not it will come off as desperate. Sean Weinberg, COO of the online resume grading site RezScore, suggests an infographic resume if you're looking for an eye-catching alternative.
While the internet is filled with great individuals and companies you can pay to design this for you, there are several sites that can lead you through the design process without the need for Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
Here are three (all free and amazingly easy to use):
If you're not sure the infographic route is right for you, Weinberg says to take solace as "people have been saying the standard resume is dead for years, and it's just not." With that being said, the infographic is still a great alternative for the adventurous job seeker.
Use Podcasts to Fill Knowledge Gaps
Once you land the interview, there may be one or two skills on the job listing that you don't know if you can speak intelligently about. Why not brush up on some of those lesser known abilities by listening to a podcast on the way to your interview? Podcasts can give you an excellent refresher on, for example, your favourite API Coding standards. But more importantly, they can keep you up to date on what issues your community as a whole is talking about.
Here are some great podcasts to get you started:
- WebDevRadio: A great resource on the newest tips and technique spanning all web development platforms.
- The Naked Scientist: While there are tons of great sub-category podcasts produced by The Naked Scientist, this is where all of the top news comes together.
- Bulletproof Executive Radio: Whether you're trying to shed some pounds or ramp up your brain's processing speed, this podcast covers all things body hacking.
- KCRW'S Hollywood Breakdown: Entertainment news that focuses more on the business side of Hollywood, rather than who wore which outfit best.
- The News 5by5: Daily four minute bites of the most important news of the day.
Going into an interview, you also want to be able to show that you have your pulse on your chosen field. Oftentimes podcasts can condense complicated month-long debates into succinct 20-minute discussions. You can hear multiple sides of the story and form your own opinion. That's not even touching the entire rango of skills you can learn with iTunes U.
Use Google Helpouts
Very rarely do you actually get to know what people think of you upon first meeting. Sure, you could pay hundreds to thousands of dollars on an image consultant, but you're looking for a job. Cash isn't the most disposable resource.
Enter Google Helpouts. It's a new feature that allows you to connect with experts across eight different categories. Whether you want to find the perfect fit for your business suit, or a customised business plan, Helpouts has you covered. The price for each expert varies. There are plenty of great free resources on the site, some pay per minute consultations, and lump sum pricing ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. Regardless of the expert and option you pick, it's definitely a fraction of what you would normally pay (and it's all run through Google+ and Google Wallet).
In this day and age, investing time in something is a rarity. If this is the job you really want, take a moment to show them you care enough to go the extra mile. A little detail goes a long way in getting you noticed.