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Increase Your Interview Chances

Increase Your Interview Chances

Applying to jobs and open positions sometimes feels like a blackhole.  You send in application after application and seldom hear back.  When you do hear back, it seems that the process doesn’t go too far and you’re back at step one.  Below, we’re going to show you how to Increase your interview chances.

The issue here is, you’re repeating the same action and continue to expect different results.  After you’ve perfected your resume and cover letters, you need to take a different approach when applying to open positions.

At its current state, the job application system is undeniably broken.  Unfortunately, there isn’t too much that can be done about it from your end. So, you find yourself in a lose-lose situation. In order to increase your interview chances, you’re going to have to take control of how you apply.  In addition, you’re going to need to customize each resume and cover letter for every application you send.

It’s time to take a little bit more control of the situation and take control of your destiny.  This is your time and your future, and you need to be more assertive.

Now, I’m not here trying to start a revolution.  But what I am saying is that in order to compete in today’s job market, you have to take advantage of all available resources. You need to ensure that your resume lands in front of the hiring manager and trust that your resume and experience can do the rest.

Once your resume reaches the correct contact at the company you are applying for, you need to be able to trust that your resume is strong enough to initiate a phone or in-person interview.

That is why your resume is the most important document on your laptop.  You should be reviewing it, editing it, and adding to it every week and make sure that you are keeping it updated.

So then, how can you increase your chances of landing your resume in front of the hiring manager?

It’s actually pretty simple but takes some work and some courage.  You’re going to have to step outside of your comfort zone, but this technique is nearly guaranteed to increase your overall application chances.

Last point, this isn’t some miracle answer.  This isn’t a secret that only I have.  This is just a reminder that you need to use all available resources and that this one action can substantially increase your chances.

You Need to Use Your Network and Their Network

That’s it.  You have to take advantage of your network and the deep connections you’ve made over the years. We’ve discussed previously why LinkedIn is such an important tool and it will become even more clear here.

Essentially, when you find any job or open position that you’re interested in, you should take a step back and not apply.

Why?

Because your resume has a very small chance of actually being seen by a human. Rather, once you find an open position, you should pull up LinkedIn and find the company’s page.

Do you have any 1st level connections?

If so, then congratulations, you’re already at a significant advantage.

You see, hiring managers are much more likely to hire individuals who were referred to them.  They trust their employees and colleagues and a referral from an employee at the company means much more than a resume with no context.

An employee referral is them vouching that they personally stand behind your capabilities and that they are certain you will excel at the position.

So, if you have a 1st level connection on LinkedIn, then you need to reach out to them and let them know that you’re looking at a specific position at their company and if they would be able to refer you.

This is why this process is so much more difficult.  Applying to open positions, has frankly become too easy.  Simply hit the apply button, fill out some information, and click send.

But reaching out to old colleagues, friends, or acquaintances is difficult.  It’s sometimes awkward.  But it’s necessary.  It really is the single best way to increase your chances of landing a phone or in-person interview.

But, what do you say to an old colleague, friend, or acquaintance?  Easy, follow the below template for a rough idea of how to reach out and ask for a referral:

“Hey [Name],

Hope you’re doing well!  I am in the process of applying to a few open positions and saw that [friend’s company] is hiring for [position you’re interested in.]

I really believe that I would be a great fit for this role.  Would you be able to refer me directly to the hiring manager?

Thank you,

[Your Name]”

Why does this template work so well?

Easy, because it is direct, straightforward, and doesn’t go around what you need.  You’re directly asking for a favor and not pretending about it.

In addition, you ask to be referred directly to the hiring manager.  This is important because it forces your connection to find out who the hiring manager is and ask them directly if they can give your resume to them.

By having your connection speak to the hiring manager, you potentially pique the hiring managers interest and they will start to ask more questions about you and if your connection thinks you would be a good hire.

You Get The Conversation and Application Process Started Without Ever Having Applied.

Once you’ve sent this message, it can go one of two ways.

The first is that your connection agrees to your request and sends over your resume to the hiring manager.  From there you’ll either be contacted for a phone or in-person interview or the hiring manager may not think you would be a good fit.

Either way, you still made more traction than you would have by just applying on the company’s website.

The second is that your connection can refuse.  They may feel that they don’t know you well enough or that they don’t know the hiring manager and don’t want to put in the extra work.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter.  This is about trying to increase your chances of landing an interview.  You’re going to get a few rejections, but you have to hope that in the long-term it is worth it.

But What If You Don’t Have A 1st Level Connection to Someone In the Company?

And that’s a fair point.  There’s a higher likelihood that you don’t know someone at the company than you do.  No reasonable person can know everyone.

But I’m confident that you know someone, who knows someone at the company (2nd level connections).  Or perhaps you know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone at the company (3rd level connections).

Now, 2nd level connections are much easier than 3rd level connections. 

If you have a 2nd level connection, you should reach out to them on LinkedIn as having a mutual connection will make you appear more legitimate. 

Reaching out to 3rd level connections is more difficult but not impossible.  So long as you have a fully fleshed out LinkedIn profile and use proper and correct grammar and punctuation, they will be more likely to take your request.

If you have multiple 2nd level connections at one company, you should reach out to the individual more closely aligned with the department you are looking to apply to.

You can reach out to these 2nd or 3rd level connections in much the same way as the above template,

“Hello [Name],

My name is [your name] and I’m really interested in the [position] at [company].

Would you be available later this week for a quick call to discuss the company and my current resume?  Would really appreciate any tips you could provide.

I am available on the following date:

[List three dates and times]

Thank you,

[Your full name]

[Your cell-phone number]

This is a good template because it eases the barrier to entry and makes the future call comfortable. 

Now, you don’t want to start the call talking just about yourself and your experience, but you can slowly ease into it by asking about themselves and what they do at the company.  Slowly begin discussing what you’re looking for and what is included in your resume.

If you feel like the conversation is going well, then you can ask them if they would be willing to refer you to the hiring manager.

No matter what their answer is, you should thank them extensively for their time and their help.

Conclusion

Hiring managers are much more likely to offer interviews to people who were referred to them.  Referrals indicate a level of trust and competence and you should use your network to your advantage to help you.

No matter if it’s a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level connection, there are always people willing to help at every company.  Be nice, professional, and courteous and don’t forget to pay it forward in the future!

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