Just as it’s important when pitching for a freelance contract, it’s imperative for your potential employer to know who you are before you apply for a permanent job. You need to be famous for something.
This is even more important when you are looking to break into an industry that on paper, you have little experience off, but in reality, you would love to be part of. Make it your business to learn everything about it so sound like an enthusiastic expert.
Walking into an interview knowing you have already made connections and have inside knowledge gives you a huge confidence boost and you already feel part of the team. You can almost see your desk waiting for you with your name on it.
Make friends with an insider
Have a coffee with someone who works there. If they like you, they may well put a good word in for you but at the very least, you’ll make a friend, gain valuable insight for the price of a coffee, or perhaps even more tips if you buy them cake too!
A few years ago when it became known that I was leaving a role, I was contacted by a mutual friend to introduce me to someone who was keen to jump into it. I wouldn’t have wished that role onto anyone else but this lady persisted and turned up at events that she knew I would be at. Eventually, she got enough snippets from me, got an interview and has been happily doing the job ever since.
Comment on their blog
Or on their Facebook updates or tweets. Do this enough for them to notice but not too much too make it so obvious. Write your comments in a way that show’s off your clear industry expertise, so it looks like you will seamlessly fit into the organisation.
When they receive your CV, they will remember you as the one who knows what they’re talking about and put you on the interview list.
Get your social media house in order
It’s the simplest way to both improve your profile and be in control of it.
Ensure your bio is enticing and relevant to your prospective employer and that you are regularly seen engaging with any mutual acquaintances. Show your expertise and knowledge every day while keeping out anything negative, political or religious (unless that’s relevant to your dream role).
Comment and share other experts’ thoughts and show you’re a team player as well as carefully curating your content to draw the attention of your employer. Put yourself in their shoes: what would you like to see a potential employee talking about?
Write your own blog
The fastest way to be known as an expert is to blog about it, consistently, briefly and with confidence. Then let the world know what you have written using social media and through any of your networks.
Be sure to occasionally tweet your dream employer about it too, perhaps by adding a link to a relevant post when you’re replying to one of their social media messages.
In the same way, pitch guest blog posts to credible websites in your industry and add links to your CV once their published. Repost on your own blog (with permission) as well as promoting it via your social networks.
Find out all you can about the management team
Read their bios, find their blogs and follow them on social media platforms, without actually resorting to stalking. Well, not really.
If you can, look for someone who’s already doing the job you want to do and see what they’re into and what they were doing in their previous career to get to this position.
Become an event organiser
If your dream role is a website designer, start a Meet Up for website folk or if it’s to be a writer, start a writers group. You will soon be surrounded by people you can learn from plus you’ll be known as the organiser of a specialist group of people.
I run Jelly – the coworking event and used to run an entrepreneurs group and through those, I was already known when I applied to work on a project supporting startup businesses. When I got the opportunity to meet the organisation’s hirers in person, they already knew of me as someone who supported fledgling business owners and offered me the gig. They found this all out through Twitter of course!
You’re an expert at something, it’s time to let the world – and your future employer – know it!
What’s your tip for getting the gig? @RickieWrites