As founder and CEO of Solamar Agency, I've received hundreds of emails from people looking for a job. Frankly, I'm sick and tired of seeing messages addressed "To whom it may concern" with subject lines that read "Resume" or "Job Application." Yawn! Snore! I want to see something that is special. I want to get excited about opening one that is different, with a subject line that grabs my attention, from someone who is eager and excited.
Don't be shy. Grab attention. Show your enthusiasm. When you send out an email to a prospective employer (or potential customer), please, please, please -- be unqiue, passionate, loud, different, creative. Show them why they need you!
Do your homework.
Know to whom you're reaching out. Find out the name of the person you're trying to contact with a little help from a corporate website, Google, LinkedIn or Facebook. Know something about the company, so you can create an impactful subject line and reasons to select you.
My confession -- I got where I am because I said "pick me." I clearly and effectively showed why the company needed to work with me. I pestered and pestered, and I made super sure I stood out. I made sure I was noticed in the shuffle of many other resumes. I knew I needed to work hard to get their attention, but maybe I also did it because I really, really wanted the job. I really needed the job. And I wasn't going to stop pushing until they picked me. I knew they needed me. They just didn't know it yet.
According to a report in U.S. News, “Simply being qualified won’t get you an interview in today’s job market. Employers are being inundated with applications from loads of qualified candidates. If you don’t differentiate yourself, you will not attract the attention of hiring managers or recruiters. Standing out is the key."
You need to focus on what you offer that goes above and beyond. Make yourself interesting, compelling, valuable and differentiated. Here are a couple of insider tips:
Be a sleuth. Go beyond checking out a company’s website and the LinkedIn profiles of the people you want to talk to or meet during an interview. Stand out by digging deeper to show how much you know about the organization. One way to do this is with the corporate alumni feature in LinkedIn. Use it to identify potential contacts and reach out to learn as much as you can -- the stuff they don’t share on their company profile.
Build your own world-class LinkedIn profile. You will be Googled, and LinkedIn is likely to show up in the top of the search results. Exploit this opportunity to the max and leap ahead of the competition with a compelling headline, a summary that tells your story and a professional headshot. Market yourself as a high performer, and recruiters and decision-makers will find you.
Actively market yourself.
To stand out from the crowd, conduct your job search like a marketing campaign. Don't wait for traditional open posted positions or want ads. The sure way way to beat the odds -- and the competition -- is to actively market yourself and locate positions before they are advertised (or before the person doing the hiring realizes they need someone exactly like you).
Livecareer.com says "Marketing yourself as a job-seeker means locating the people who can offer or lead you to opportunities and telling them what you are capable of, over and over. You have to seek them out-- you can’t sit back and wait for them to find you. There are many ways of telling them what you can do -- in person, in writing, by phone -- but you must tell them. And you have to tell them over and over. No one will remember you if they hear from you only once."
This website recommends these six approaches to conducting your job search like a targeted marketing campaign. Here they are, listed in order of effectiveness:
- Networking and referral-building
- Contacting potential employers directly
- Informational interviewing
- Employing recruiters and agencies
- Searching specialized job listings
- Using job postings/help-wanted ads
So stand out. Be the one that the person doing the hiring won't forget. It will get you far. According to author, entrepreneur, marketer and public speaker Seth Godin, "Fitting in is a short-term strategy. Standing out pays off in the long run."