It’s interesting that really smart, really talented, really capable people still make some of the same mistakes or hit some of the same stumbling blocks that folks in all the other professions and doing all kinds of applications do.Lisa Lewis
Most people dread the job application process as they try and stand out in a sea of people who are just as qualified and just as hungry to make it through the first portion of the process: the weeding out phase.
Surprisingly, even the “most skilled” people struggle to get their foot in the door when applying for jobs.
But, there is a little population of the workforce that usually doesn’t have that problem. This group of people are the High Performers – the people who get the early promotions, the big raises, and the exceptional treatment.
While the rest of the world goes into the job application process with the mindset of getting the job, high performers go into the process with the mindset of using this phase to collect as much information about the job, the organization, and the culture of the organization to determine if this is a good fit for them.
High Performers are not wedded to the idea of getting the job because they want to be sure that when they apply for the job that it is for a role at an organization that fits their strengths, skills, and values.
To avoid some of the same obstacles many people hit as they apply for jobs, you’ll have to look at the process from a different perspective and try and fight some of the typical, traditional best practices you’ve heard throughout your career.
Your goal is standing out among the other job applicants by submitting a quality application and not just repeatedly hitting the submit button on every job listing with the same exact resume. We’ve developed a template to help you out, download it here!
HOW DO YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM GOOD TO GREAT?
Everyone sending in a job application is looking for the same end-result: to get the meeting…to land that interview.
There are 3 key principles that separate the High Performers from the rest of the job candidates when beginning the job application process.
- Do the upfront research work
- Contact someone at organization before applying for the position
- Make sure their research shines through in their application
Now, let’s get started on how to apply these steps to your job application, so you can start getting better results and standing out immediately!
STEP ONE: UPFRONT WORK
You’re probably wondering what this means. Doing the upfront work before applying for a job simply means doing your research not only on the potential job position and organization, but also on yourself.
The goal is to determine if this role is the right fit for your life.
First, do your research on the organization. Look at what the organization looks like: their core values, their goals, their structure, are they upholding their values in the day-today, etc.
Then, ask yourself:
- What are you looking for in a job?
- What are my signature strengths and skills that will help this organization achieve their goals?
- Does this line up with something that I want to be spending my time on?
When you take the time to research the organization and answer these questions for yourself, it will take you closer to determining if it is even worth your time to apply for this particular position.
And if you discover that it isn’t a position or organization that you want to work for, then you can cross it off your list and move on to the next!
STEP TWO: CONTACT SOMEONE AT ORGANIZATION
One of the biggest differentiators of High Performers is the fact that they go beyond the first step and continue their research on the organization by establishing the best point of contact and putting an added effort into reaching out to people in the organization to get more answers before they apply.
There is only so much you can learn about an organization online that in order to get beneath the surface, contacting someone for ‘intel’ on what the organization is really like will help determine if this is still the right fit for you.
WONDERING HOW TO GO ABOUT REACHING OUT TO SOMEONE?
The best way is to go for the ‘low-hanging’ fruit.
Do you know someone that knows someone that works for the organization in question?
If you do, write out that introduction email for your connection to make it easier for them to connect you to their contact. (Side note: High Performers think steps ahead to make it easier to get a, “Yes, I’d be happy to connect you!” from anyone they are requesting an ask from)
It’s okay if you don’t.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and have a conversation, even if it is a fresh introduction.
It’s important to get a sense of what the organization looks like from the inside (company culture, team dynamics, leadership, growth potential, struggles, etc.) to compare that to what you need to be happy in your career.
Here’s an example of an email with a quick intro and ask:
Sending a quick intro email like the one above will help you stand out as someone that is genuinely interested in the organization. It shows your hustle and commitment to learning more and it shows that you’re taking your job application seriously. To save this email, download our template here!
This will also help showcase all of the thoughtfulness in the research that you’ve already done. Just be sure to ask questions that can’t be answered by researching online.
STEP THREE: STANDING OUT AND HOW TO APPLY WITH INTENTION
Now that you’ve gathered all of the information you need and have determined that this is a job that you want, it’s time to follow through with a strong application.
You want to make your application compelling. You want the person reviewing it to like you, feel like they know you, and most of all you want them to trust you.
Your application should exhibit how you’ve invested your time, energy, effort, and enthusiasm for the potential job.
Make your application as relevant to the job description and organization as possible.
Be specific in how your strengths and skills can benefit the organization and how your talents will bring value to the role.
Be the dream candidate for the job in your application.
Taking the time to go through these 3 simple steps will not only save you the lost opportunity cost of sending in an application for a job you won’t even want, but these steps will also enhance your “job application” to a more strategic marketing document that will make you and your strengths more relevant to the job and organization and help you in standing out to a hiring manager.
And no matter where you are in your career search, if you need help, support, or more direction with your job search, we’ve got the solution for you! Just apply for our coaching and we’ll set you up with one of our career coaches that can help set you up on the right track to get the results you’re looking for.
Head on over to www.happentoyourcareer.com/coaching to work with one of our coaches and figure out your new career!
Also be sure to download our networking email template if you haven’t already!
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GUEST: SARAH HAWKINS
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