How to grab attention for your job application

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, is one of the tools that can make the difference when applying for a job after business school or university, writes Bruce Kasanoff. The successful author explains how online connections and relationships can be used wisely to stand out when applying to a company where you have no connections or contacts. His recommendations are:

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  • Never submit an application online – you will end up in a long pile and never hear back.
  • Use LinkedIn and Google to identify actual people at the company, ideally in the area where you want to work and see if you can find common factors like a college, where you grew up, or where you worked before. Invest time and research to get to know these people online to find common interests and views that might lead to a reason why to contact them.

  • When you contact them, it could be to give useful feedback, to add concise and positive statements or questions to articles they published. On LinkedIn, reach out to the person, introduce yourself in a sentence and invite them to connect. Bruce Kasanoff recommends to be sure to spark a conversation. “It's not enough to simply say, ‘Wow, are you smart!’,” he writes. “Your objective is to let the person get to know you a bit. So include something that encourages them to write back.” Add valuable information, post interesting and insightful updates once you have these connections.

  • He adds an exemplary mail to a marketing manager, "I saw a video of you on a panel about customer engagement and was struck by your comment that training is what separates good firms from great ones. I've spent the past two years teaching in a public school and earning my master’s degree; do you have any suggestions how I might make the transition to a training role at a firm like yours?"

  • Kasanoff recommends to do something like this repeatedly at the same company and to target several employees to make sure to grow your network at the company and to be able to reach out for advice when the right job ad comes up. As Kasanoff points out at the end, ”People get great jobs through personal relationships. Go out and build some.”

Bruce is the author of How to Self-Promote without Being a Jerk, a short book about doing well by doing good.

Read more atLinkedIn

Barbara Barkhausen