We all love life hacks. Why? Because they’re convenient, pragmatic shortcuts that get us what we want faster and easier. Fortunately, when it comes to applying for a job, things are no different. There are several useful “hacks” you can apply during your job search process to both increase your chances of success and make the process easier.
Some people question the ‘ethics’ of these ideas and even life hacks in general, but here’s the reality: your competitors are likely using them, and also, at the end of the day, what is your ultimate goal? To take as long as possible to get as few interviews as possible while not standing out from the more aggressive applicants willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands a little dirty? Of course not!
It’s up to you to decide how far you want to go and within what boundaries you’re personally comfortable. These are merely some creative suggestions for how to aggressively shortcut your job search and get bigger, better results, faster!
On that note, here are some job search hacks specific to creating and submitting your resumé and cover letter:
Research EVERYTHING (and strategically implement useful discoveries).
This is the foundational starting point for all of the other hacks you’ll find here. Research EVERYTHING – paying particular attention to any details that intersect with you. Who will your future boss be? What is their background, education and experience? How about your possible co-workers and team members? Which building will you work in? What are some of the goals, milestones or past achievements of the department? What are the goals and mission statement of the company?
Here’s why: information is extremely powerful. As you research, you may discover things that can be very helpful to you. As you look up your future boss and co-workers, you might find something very helpful to you. Did you go to the same school? Were you in the same fraternity/sorority, honors association(s), or other organization(s)? Do you volunteer for similar causes? Go to the same church?
Find out everything you can and EXPLOIT IT! People like and are more likely to trust people with whom they share things in common. Let’s be clear – by no means should you ever blackmail anyone, and this is absolutely NOT a suggestion to do so. However, there’s nothing unethical about learning as many things as you can about the people you may potentially work for, and piecing them together to demonstrate just how ideal a fit you are for them.
Circumvent the bureaucracy and go directly to your ideal point of contact.
In a lot of cases, there is a bureaucratic mess of a hierarchy in the hiring process, involving HR and a managerial cluster of other decision makers who probably aren’t the people under whom you’ll be directly working and to whom you’ll be reporting. One clever job search hack is to track down the direct contact information of the relevant person and send a copy of your application packet directly to him, her or them.
What does this accomplish? A few things, but most notably, in the cases where there is a catch-all destination for job applications (like an HR or specific hiring department), while the members there may be inundated with applications, your direct future boss may be effectively shielded from them until it’s time to sit down with that department. By circumventing that “filter” and getting your cover letter and resume directly in front of the person whose input strongly matters, especially when they are very possibly not seeing many others, they may just forward it on and not even look at it, but you’re exploiting a possibility that they may look at it, something may catch their eye, and they might just remember your name, or may even personally request to prioritize an interview with you if they really like what they see. Depending on the size of the company and the specific circumstances of their hiring process, you may wish to CC or BCC your information to the individual so that it still goes through the “official” channel. The official people are very likely notice the aggressive tactic themselves, and while there’s a small chance they might not like it, it’s far more probable they will respect the bold move and take it as an indication of how proactively you really want the job.