The company has a great product and is famous for treating its employees well; both reviews and surveys indicate the company has a good culture. Not to mention the commute from my home to their headquarters would be about three minutes – a rare occurrence in Silicon Valley.
So, full of hope, I sent my resume and cover letter to apply for a marketing job at LinkedIn.
They didn’t think I was good enough.
I, however, know different. If they would just hire me, I’d show them what an awesome employee I can be. I’m well-educated, creative, experienced, detail-oriented and smart. I’m pretty damn funny, if I do say so myself. And I’m likeable, dammit!
Ah… but such is the lament of every rejected job seeker.
You know yourself. You know what a hard worker you are and how you’d bust your ass, (and the ass of the guy next to you, if needed), every day if that company would just hire you!
The problem is, you plan to show employers what a great employee you are after you’re hired. When what you need to do is show them – in order to have any shot – is how awesome an employee you’d be, before they hire you.
How do you show someone you’re an awesome employee before you work there?!
Instead of thinking of your resume and cover letter as the application, view every single day as an opportunity to demonstrate your capabilities and passion. Let your every day activity, your personality and your presence serve as your application! Here’s how:
Blog Posts and Comments
With every blog post you write, and to some extent your engagement in the comments sections of the blogs you follow, displays personality, expertise and writing skills. Not blogging yet? Don’t want to set up your own blog? Offer to be a guest author on the blogs you read most often – this is a great way to get started!
Meet-ups and Networking Events
Those Meetups and networking meetings are where you develop relationships with colleagues, potential mentors and influencers. Those on the inside are getting to know you. And that is incredibly important: recruiters strongly prefer candidates who came to them from employee and mentor referrals.
Your social media posts and pics, with a decent percentage of them reflecting career and industry-related information, are a consistent demonstration of your commitment to your career. And, since none of your posts are unprofessional, full of drama, colorful language and negativity… you’re showing what a mature young professional you are. Employers can see how you’ll fit into their culture.
The volunteering you do shows your commitment to doing good, and a willingness to serve others. At the same time, you’re gaining industry experience and showing you’re a solid member of the community. Perfect, since a rising aspect of employability, according to many employers, is a sense of giving.
The insightful comments you consistently put on your target company’s social media pages and blog posts show the company you’re interested in their company… not just any company. And they get to see that you understand their company mission and the complexities of the industry. More important, the champions of their brand – the Community and Social Media Managers – see your consistent level of engagement.
With every industry-related certificate you earn online, the MOOCs you finish and every Kahn Academy course you complete, you’re gaining knowledge you can use to be an awesome employee from day one, saving the company time and expense of training you. You’re also showing the employer you’ll do whatever it takes to gain further relevant knowledge.
In my case… I realize I didn’t stand out enough against my competition for that LinkedIn job. Although I was infinitely qualified, and my resume and cover letter were well-targeted to the position, my competition did better. Perhaps it was someone more active on social media, or who commented more in LinkedIn groups and blog posts. Maybe they networked hard enough to become an employee referral.
Lesson learned. I could definitely spend more time on LinkedIn. And I don’t yet know anyone personally who works there, so I can certainly network more efficiently and with greater purpose. Instead, I sent a resume and cover letter, and sent the recruiter a follow-up email afterward; that was the entirety of my application. Period.
And that’s in large part why I didn’t even get a call for an interview – despite the fact that if they had hired me, they’d be so impressed at how awesome an employee I am.
Keep an eye out for me, LinkedIn. I learned my lessons. And I’ll be back.
About the Author: Dave Ellis is an original member of the YouTern team and is instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). Dave serves as YouTern’s Content Manager and Social Media Community Manager, and enjoys his role as the company’s “Man Behind the Curtain”. In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn and follow him onTwitter!