Companies are people. They have unique styles, voices, appearances, and personalities. In order for us to get the attention of any employer, we need to remember this and treat them as people rather than robots in corporations.
I've put together 6 key steps you need to take to be seen and heard in a world full of noise.
1. Pin-point your targets and compile a list
Just like any business, you can't cater for everyone. And you shouldn't try to. You are however an individual business in your own right. You're a service. Your abilities are an asset to an institution that is lacking in your offering. At the same time, that institution would ideally allow you to grow and learn in an area that you lack. By honing in on the exact employers, you can better target them with a personalised, genuine message. It's the same as knowing your audience for any communications brief. The deeper you define them, the clearer you can articulate your relevance and value to them.
2. Research their expertise
The next step is to find out what makes them tick. What are they known for? What is their brand positioning? What gets them excited?
You would usually start on their website which would give you leads and create a domino effect. You could bounce to uncovering key people in their business and researching more about their history, achievements to date, and articles they've written. Or you could see their documented broadcasts on social media; what are they tweeting about? What they are saying on their YouTube channel? What topics are they initiating with the community on LinkedIn and Facebook?
3. Open the conversation
Once you've uncovered the personality and the story of the company and the key decision makers within it, you'll have countless ways in. This is where you leverage the new found knowledge and say hello.
It seems easy enough but think about the numerous failed first impressions in the dating world. Having relevant, common interests and values makes interacting natural. You could give positive feedback to a particular project that company or person has completed, ask them a question, or join an existing conversation topic.
4. Share the conversation
In this step, it's crucial to be conscious of your brand consistency.
If you're re-tweeting and sharing posts that are interesting and appealing within your industry circle, it'll re-affirm your passion and authenticity. On top of that, if you're sharing content created by your ideal employer, you're in some ways one of their brand advocates and you'll begin to carve familiarity in their network. So share the conversation often, if not daily, and invite people to express their point of view too.
5. Continue the conversation
How is this different from opening and sharing the conversation? Well, what this means is to create new content inspired by steps three and four. You may feel inclined to write a blog post, Instagram your participation then tag them, create an infographic from their data, or broadcast a response video on YouTube talking through your thoughts.
At this stage you’ll not only start to get noticed by your targeted employer, they’ll most likely start conversing with you if they haven’t already.
6. Ask for advice, don't ask for a job
So how do you switch from industry conversation to having a sit-down chat with your dream employer?
The first five steps will take time as you build enough rapport with them, however you’ll eventually pass the threshold from stranger to peer. It could be two weeks, it could be two months. When you feel that the dynamic is free-flowing, pick your moment and ask them for advice on a general level via email. Some examples include; “I’ve got the afternoon free on Wednesday and will be in your area. I’d love to do coffee if you could spare 10-15 mins?” or “I’d love to get together for a quick coffee next week and perhaps ask your advice on how I can improve my work (or specific skill area)”.
The beauty about asking for advice, is that most employers are happy to give it. Helping others is in our nature and we all feel satisfaction in contributing to the well-being of another. Asking for advice isn’t a huge investment of their time and is less demanding; it’s informal and there are no expectations on them or you.
What you’ll find is, that whether there’s a job opening or not – you’ll be top of mind because the potential employers you converse with will be impressed by your proactivity and willingness to continuously learn. They might like you so much they create a job for you even when none existed prior.
These steps are just as much a way of thinking as they are a way of taking action. Remember, sometimes you need to take a side step in order to take a forward step. You may be in situations where you’ll be using this guide from the beginning or jumping straight into the last step. Add this guide to your networking arsenal and be prepared to step through the doors as they open.
What ways have you gotten the attention of your dream employer in the online space?
ABOUT RAM CASTILLO
Ram is an award winning Design Director, Blogger, top ranking Podcaster, Speaker, CreativeLive.com Instructor and Author of the internationally acclaimed book 'How to get a job as a designer, guaranteed'. He's based in Sydney, Australia and in 2012, started the blog GiantThinkers.com which helps thousands of design students and graduates be employed. Ram has since been featured in Communication Arts, HOW magazine, Herman Miller, deFrost*, AIGA.org and Apple. For more on being a designer, read Ram's internationally industry acclaimed book here: www.getajobasadesigner.com After over 12 years experience working for globally renowned agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather, DDB and McCann Worldgroup on clients such as Audi, Qantas, Telstra, CBA, Crown, Google and The Louis Vuitton Group, he's able to give back to the industry which has given him avalanches in return.