I have been asked to write also for non-French speakers. Rather than translating some of the past articles I decided to take another angle on a subject I have already often written on: how to proceed when you are looking for a job.
Here are a 3 pieces of advice for a start. Many more may come if I discover I have readers in English. :-)
They apply whether you are answering an ad or trying to approach somebody through networking – although I advise you not to count too much on ads to find your next job. I suppose you want your investment in time and energy to bear fruits, so it calls for an approach that allows you to stand out from the crowd of applicants.
I will not speak about the successful cv (I don’t believe it exists: too many people, having too many opinions on this issue…) nor the perfect cover letter (who has got time to read them, honestly?).
I am not talking about being original. I’m talking about being genuine and not standard. Here goes.
# Know who you are talking to
If you have the name of the person you want to contact (and you should!) why wouldn’t you try to discover who that person is? Google them! Try to see who they are, beyond the fact that they work within a company you are interested in. See what they say – from Twitter to their master theses -, what they like – Facebook, Google+ -, what group they are part of – on Linkedin or in real life -. Are they some kind of influencers (or do they fancy they are)?
Ex: One of my clients is a HR Manager who has been writing books on recruitment. Don’t you think that he might have given you clues in them on how (he likes you) to behave during interviews?
At the minimum this research might give you a ‘compelling event’, a reason to approach them. It might even reveal links between you.
# Don’t ask for a job, offer your services
From a contract and a business point of view, the employee is the one who offers, and the company the one which buys. So why would you approach anyone and ASK for a new job (“Do you have a Sales Director vacancy?”)? Don’t you think it would make more sense to propose them to lead their salesforce so they increase their market share, they change their image to premium and optimize the ROI of their promotion campaigns?
More specifically, if you want to join a company, you must know what they are doing, what they offer, what is their market position. And you sure need to have at least a slight idea of what you could contribute to if you would join them. Know what kind of ‘hole’ your recruitment would fill.
# Be positive
I’ll be blunt. Nobody cares how long you have been looking for a job or how unfair your previous company was when they made you redundant. Nobody wants to hear about how tough the economy is. Commenting on yesterday negative European economic news that the TV and radio have spoken about non-stop since does not cut it either… On the other hand why wouldn’t you explain us that you have been taking some of your forced free time to go back to school and further develop yourself? That you have never been this fit and full of energy? That you have been able to explore the market and now have a very good idea for our company to reach its Q3 goals?
95% of the people who write to me for a new job should operate a paradigm shift. Their approach needs to totally change. Please start by implementing the above, if you want to find a good next job.