It is frustrating when great organizations — organizations you would love to join — say they are not currently hiring or do not have job openings that match your experience or geographic area. But this need not be the end of the road for you. That job you covet might still exist, and there is a strategy you can use to make yourself stand out and create a job opportunity. Here are the secrets that will increase your chances of landing a job at a company that is not currently hiring:
1. You have to know the company, not just like it.
If you want to secure a position at a company that is not currently hiring or looking for someone like you, you must have a particular, demonstrated interest in that company. For example, Under Armour will be more interested in engaging with you if you not only wear the clothing but also routinely use its apps, understand its fabric and footwear technologies, and record the testing of their products on your blog. Companies want someone who understands and loves their product.
More importantly, know the company inside and out, including the corporate culture and where the company is in its business cycle. Go online to research the organization’s values and the latest news about the company. To learn about the banking firm Goldman Sachs, for example, go to the company’s “Who We Are” and “People and Culture” webpages for culture. Read the company’s “In the News” webpage, and search “Goldman Sachs” in Google News. Visit websites like Glassdoor and Fairygodboss to read company reviews.
Do you like working in a meritocracy but sense that the company is hierarchical? Do they value an individual’s ability over someone who has institutional knowledge? Is there press indicating the company is thriving or that areas of the business are shrinking? You could love a company’s product or service but you’ll be wasting your time if the way you work does not fit with how the organization works.
2. Present the company with a solution, not just ask for an opportunity.
Wharton Professor Adam Grant argues in his book Give and Take that helping others is what drives success and that those who put their personal interests ahead of everyone else’s lose. In trying to secure your next career move, do not see your next opportunity as a way to only make more money or gain prestige. It should be an opportunity that advances both your career and the organization’s goals. If you can add value, fill a need and help the company, after all, it is a company worth pursuing.
Do you know how to increase the number of women leaders in law firms? If you do, you could be a great asset to the many firms who are trying to do just that. Do you know the policies related to digital assets and payment systems? You might be able to help a company or the government tackle the concept of the bitcoin, a digital currency that is starting to gain more traction.
3. You have to stay top-of-mind, not just submit your resume.
If you submit your resume and the company is not currently hiring, it will go nowhere. For the recruiter or hiring manager to remember you, you must stay top-of-mind. Strategically timed contacts will keep you in the thoughts of the hiring company.
If you come across an article that might be of interest to them, leverage the opportunity to share with them the link. Let them know about a new accomplishment since you submitted your resume. However, do not contact them too often. Reaching out too frequently can be off-putting and make you look desperate.
Recruiters and hiring managers can receive hundreds of applications, and staying in contact and communicating useful information with them will help you to start developing a relationship and make it more likely that they think of you first when an opportunity opens up. Staying top-of-mind reminds others that you are still interested in them and that you exist, one of the most fundamental and often overlooked steps in securing opportunities.
Securing your next position is hard enough, let alone trying to get one at an organization that is not hiring. To increase your chances, you need to understand the company you are pursuing, be able to offer a solution to the company’s problem(s) and stay top-of-mind with your point of contact.
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