The traditional form of applying for a job has long since ceased to work. No recruiter reads your cover letter personally and attentively. People are way too busy and there is too much competition. How do you ensure that you can rise above the competition (the noise), so that recruiters hear your message and become interested?
Make sure that your application does not depend on HR or a single person. Use multiple media and people to achieve your goal. By being different from the rest you immediately stand out and have everyone’s attention. You will impress HR and your new boss. Namely, because you genuinely try to stand out and work passionately. Who wouldn’t want to know more about such a passionate, dedicated candidate? So investigate further and invite him over for an interview!
Your future manager simply expects the same from a sales and business development expert. You are not going to have all your acquisition efforts stopped by some incompetent operator or secretary! To be continuously rejected, so that your good intentions and added value will never reach the right person. It is the same with applying for a job! Never put all your eggs in just one basket!
You have to use various means of communication and try to reach multiple recipients in a creative way. The goal is for everyone to know who you are and ideally, to talk about you during their Monday morning meeting or at the coffee machine. Then they proudly show and discuss all the right candidates ticking all the boxes. The candidates who are qualified on paper as the ideal candidate for the new position.
Are you missing some qualifications? Then you may still make it to the next round, because you try so hard and are a creative go-getter! That is what it is about, because then you will still make a difference during the job interview, because they will get to know you personally.
But how do you proceed? How can you stand out and compete with the more experienced applicants? Candidates with perhaps a higher education and more experience? For this I have formulated a number of essential personal tips below. And anyway … remember that any first cover letter should never be too long or larger than four paragraphs, or longer than one A4 letter paper anyway.
Tip 1: Get maximum attention
Do not start your opening sentence with the safe standard sentence, like: I would like to apply for this… or: I am interested in the position, but start your application by drawing maximum attention from the reader. Start by asking an open question or making a controversial statement. Grab their immediate attention, draw it to you to the maximum and make sure that they want to continue reading.
Think of yourself as that one book in a big bookstore. The book, of which you as a writer want the title and cover to draw the maximum attention of the customers in the store. You want the customers to pick up this book and read the back cover! That’s what it’s all about! Here you have an example of an open question with which you could start your application:
“How many more deals could your company close if you use my techniques and unique motivation? Keep reading and I’ll give you three reasons why I’m going to make sure you get your sales targets. ”
OK … you must be a either an idiot or totally incompetent, or both, if you don’t at least continue reading right? Exactly! There is a great reward (pay-off) for the reader in the air as he continues. As a company, you absolutely want to find out how you are going to do that and what the three reasons are, or use something like this:
“Three important developments in your industry, which may allow your company to generate extra turnover. Read on and discover how I will strengthen your team to make the most of these opportunities together.”
Delicious! Really fantastic! You just want to read on and know what the pay-off will be. In any case, you want to know who this unique candidate is! With such a blast of an opening line and grand remark, you will shoot yourself straight to the top of the stack of cover letters! This way you leave your competitors hopeless and without a chance!
Therefore, no longer play on safe, because with this you really will not survive these days and certainly not in a very competitive market. Only by thinking big and applying big can you get that job!
Tip 2: Mark skills and attributes
Use a yellow marker to highlight the main skills and attributes that you can find in the ad. Sometimes they are repeated directly or indirectly several times. Sometimes they are hidden in the sentences. Write down these points and try to find and map them all!
It is necessary that you subtly make the reader aware of your application, that you already have these skills, or that you are willing to learn by investing further in yourself. Also give examples of how you have already been successful in applying a skill in a previous job, or in college or during an internship.
Make it tangible to the reader and show them that you understand it. Give him a preview of how you are going to help him become successful. So always provide feedback what is specifically requested of your own skills. Connect it back to your ambitions and your own unique personality. Make sure the reader gets both direct and indirect confirmation that you are the ideal candidate.
Also write down why you are different from the other applicants. Explain why you, for example, with your bachelor’s degree, will become more successful than the competitor with a master’s degree. Give examples and challenge! Don’t be afraid to pinpoint any shortcomings!
Take their hand and give new insights. Show that your knowledge in the field of marketing and consumer behavior gives you a unique advantage, because you can estimate the buying process of the customers much better. Show the reader that your legal background gives you an edge in the contract negotiation process. This allows you to take control and show that you have immersed yourself in the position and the company. You show that you have the x factor to become successful in the new position.
Tip 3: Make a great unique planning
State in your pitch and cover letter what you intend to do. Explain what you will achieve in your first week, then the first 30 days, followed by the first three months and finally a year in steps. And what you will do and accomplish for your new employer at every stage.
This is extremely valuable for employers. It shows how you have made a plan and that you can deal with goals and deadlines in a structured manner. Nobody does this and you have the unique opportunity as an applicant to stand out and start using it.
Tip 4: Directly approach several people
Never rely on just one person and the illusion that only that one person will help you find your new job. So no longer just fill out the application form or send a cover letter and then do nothing more!
Instead, call HR in advance and make it clear that you are going to apply and that they can already look forward to your CV and motivation. Also contact the hiring manager in advance via social media, such as LinkedIn, or like relevant posts from the future manager.
Finally, if possible, get in touch with future colleagues at conferences, network drinks and events. You can refer to this during the telephone conversation, or in the message that you send to the manager. Express your enthusiasm for this new opportunity.
Ask the manager if he wants to look forward to your application, which you will send to person xxx of the HR department. If possible, also try to contact the director of the HR department or the person responsible for talent recruitment! Tell him about your plans and give him a preview of the steps you will take to become successful. How you will help his company to become even more successful and exceed targets.
Now you have a very nice group of three to four people … all relevant people who now know who you are and that you are planning something very special.
Imagine these people are somehow involved in the application process! What effect could it have, if they say at the coffee machine, that they have met a very special candidate. And then confirms the other person that he has also been approached by you with a similar message!
You have created massive momentum and you now have everyone’s attention.
In practice, this is also expected from a new candidate in sales and business development, with intensive customer contact. You are the person who has to bring in new customers! Suddenly you are miles ahead of the competition.
That hopeless other group of applicants, who only apply and maybe call sometime to ask when they will receive an answer and why they have not yet been invited? Those people who lazily and passively blindly trust their CV.
You leave those people far behind! While the interviews haven’t even started yet, everyone is already talking about you!
Tip 5: Take absolute control
Finally, a tip about checking-in, following up and making appointments. Never leave a physical meeting, a phone call or an email or chat without a concrete action plan. Do not leave without discussing a short summary of what has been agreed. Make sure you get an agreement and confirmation about the next step. A fixed time and date, when an appointment is made for an update or to continue talking.
Is that not concretely possible? Then agree on an latest date, after which you will call again. During this conversation you remind your conversation partner of what was recently agreed together as a next step. This not only ensures clarity, consistency and good planning. It also ensures that you can better estimate which application makes sense, or that it is time to develop new initiatives.
In other words: from now on you will no longer sit and wait for HR to contact you. From today you take full control and direction. And you determine the next steps.
Only with the actual implementation of these tips and changing your mindset towards applying for a job can you claim your ideal job. The job that will help you with your further personal development. The job that will help you realize your personal (financial) goals in life.
From today… .. Be brave, proud, think and apply big.
Take initiative and take full control and control. Be ambitious and don’t be limited by uncertainty and mass conformity. Claim your ideal job to which you are entitled, because no one else wants and can do it better than you. Leave the competition hopeless and miles away.
It is already in you and you can do it… and I am sure you will succeed!
This is an excerpt from the book “The corporate sales winners guide: Transform your life and become a top sales performer” by Gerrit Jan de Vries. View the ebook and the paperback version on Amazon.