Preemptive Applications: How to Score a Job That Isn’t Advertised

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One of the biggest challenges in landing a job is that there is so much competition for every position that is posted. The minute a job is advertised in a newspaper or posted on a job board, the flood of resumes start pouring in. Even if the hiring manager gets to yours, it is very difficult to stand out from the crowd.

What if there was a way to be the ONLY applicant for a certain job? What if that single applicant was you? You can create this exact scenario by applying for positions that are not listed as being open.

  • Send a cover letter and resume to every business that may have jobs in your field of expertise. Customize your cover letter to include verbiage about why you would be a good addition and a request to keep you in mind for future job openings. If you are willing to accept part-time or contract work in order to get your foot in the door, say so.
  • Don’t ignore the little guys. While you should certainly apply to large companies if that’s your desire, don’t ignore the small businesses near you. There are many advantages to preemptively applying for jobs at small businesses:
    • It is more likely that your resume will reach the decision maker
    • A small business manager can often make a quick hiring decision without jumping through a lot of hoops.
  • When dealing with small businesses, don’t be afraid to call and ask for a meeting. If there is a business near you and you know that you could be an asset, ask for a meeting with the manager. You may be surprised at how many will be willing to meet with you.

Some reading this are likely to be skeptical about this tactic, and with good reason. This is not going to work every time. Still, there are some good reasons to try it.

  • Practice – If you do speak with the hiring manager, you will gain valuable practice for future job interviews.
  • Networking – Anyway that you can get your name in front of hiring managers is worth your effort.
  • It works – Not every time, but it does work sometimes. Your resume could reach the desk of the hiring manager just as he was considering taking out an ad for a new employee. He might still take out the ad, but he’s also quite likely to call you for an interview. You will have successfully found a way to stand out from the crowd.

If you are looking for work, then seeking employment is your full-time job. Spend an hour or two of your day applying for jobs that have not been posted. This is one more strategy to add to your bag of tricks. For some resourceful job seekers, this has turned out to be winning idea that has landed them a job.

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