How to Get a Job at a Company That’s Out of Your League

We all want one, a job that changes our lives forever. Maybe it is the happiness that we’d gain on a day-to-day basis we’re seeking. Or maybe it’s the skills we’d develop as we grow into the role, or perhaps it’s the passionate network of people we’d be exposed to every day.

Well, unfortunately, it’s out of our reach, but not for long.

Here are the 6 things you can do to get the job of your dreams, at the company of your dreams.

  1. Make sure the company is right for you.

Often we get excited by the shiny exterior of the company. It can be the attractiveness of the website, their down-to-earth social media presence, or perhaps it’s just the product we like.

Appreciating these from the exterior, are all very different than spending 40+ hours a week immersed in the company, and it’s culture.

Before you dive into the application process, do some research on the company’s culture. Find out what their values are, what they look for in team members, and what other employees have to say.

How can you do that? Leverage these 3 websites:

  • The company’s website. See if there’s any content on pages like  “careers” or “our team” to help you see what they’re like behind the scenes.
  • Google. Turn to Google and type “culture and [company name].” You’re looking for website pages, powerpoint presentations they’ve produced and anything else you can get your hands on which seems credible. Many companies like Netflix, HubSpot, and Zappos often put out powerpoints, website pages, and books dedicated to discussing their culture.
  • Last but not least, Glassdoor. There are tons of employee-written reviews for you to read readily at your fingertips.

Here’s an example of what Facebook’s company reviews page looks like:

 

2. Understand the company’s mission and strategy.

Understanding and believing in the company’s mission is critical to being hired. Why? Because it helps you understand the reason why the company exists, what drives them and every employe every day, and details what your work would help them to accomplish.

A quick Google search using individual executive’s names and the company name can help you see any public-facing presentations, blogs, or books they’ve written about their company and what their purpose is in the world.

If you don’t know any executives, look at the company website to see if they’re listed as team members or you can look at LinkedIn.

The content you find here should be inspiring, purpose-driven, and help you to get a sense of the philosophical approach or stance the company has in their industry.

3. Build up domain knowledge and expertise.

If you’ve read up about the company’s culture, purpose, and the mountains they’re trying to move are and are still inspired, then it’s time to move on to this step – knowledge acquisition.

If you are applying for a marketing, sales, designer or a PM role – there is a lot of helpful content out there for you to learn from. Here are some I’d recommend:

Marketers:

Sales Reps:

Designers:

Product Managers:

Developers/Engineers:

Entrepreneurs 

4. Develop your network and create some meaningful connections

Now is the time to focus on developing meaningful relationships with your potential future teammates.

You can find team members by looking up employees on LinkedIn, and then use Google or Twitter to find them online. Yes, this might feel like stalking, but it’s worth it if these are the people you’re going to be with for 40+ hours a week.

And as the Jim Rohn saying goes, you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Don’t you want to make sure they’re people you respect?

Not only is it helpful to get a sense of who these people are, but you’ll find out some of the things they’re passionate about and what makes them tick. This information is especially valuable for the people that will interview you. Communicating with a person that you saw their Twitter profile, and that you too, like cats is a great way to build rapport when interviewing for any position. Even better, is mentioning a piece of content they wrote which you’ve read and sharing the specific parts you enjoyed shows you are thorough. Did we mention it also just feels great to have someone reference a piece of content you’ve developed? While doing this won’t transform you from a “no” candidate to a “yes” candidate for hiring, it does help if they’re questioning your hunger or passion for the job and can help them off the proverbial fence.

The last benefit to doing your research and connecting with these people is that it shows you’ve done your research. If someone views your profile on LinkedIn while logged in to their account, you can see that they’ve looked at your page. If you’re retweeting some content they’ve tweeted or published themselves, then it shows you’re committed to the job and have gone above and beyond what most candidates do. Trust me, I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my day, and many candidates don’t do basic research on the team they’re joining, nevermind the people they’ll be working under, beside, or above.

Join the conversation by answering some Quora questions with your newfound knowledge. Or you can join a group on LinkedIn or a Slack room. And lastly, search Reddit or Google to see if there are any websites or forums dedicated solely to your desired company or field of expertise.

All of these are small signs that go a long way not only in interviews but in helping you to become part of the community truly.

5. Refine your resume

There are entire business models built around helping people to refine and polish their resume. I won’t go into it in depth here, but if you email me (using the Contact) form, I’ll take a look and make some recommendations.

With that being said, here are some points I’d make based on my experience from interviewing candidates and reviewing their resumes over the years:

This should go without saying, but be 100% honest. 

Have it be up-to-date. Make sure your street address, phone number, and email address are all places they can reach you. If your email isn’t your name – time to update it. Make it a gmail account too. Instead of GotTangxoxo5667@yahoo.com, use “yourfullname@gmail.com” or “firstname.lastname@gmail.com” or even “lastname.firstname@gmail.com”. A professional email address shows your professionalism.

Sign up for a gmail account here.

Make sure it’s consistent. Are you using periods after your bullet points? Then make sure every bullet point includes periods. Have you aligned your dates on the far right of the page? These are the small details that people tend to overlook that can cost you credibility.

Include numbers to quantify your case. If you’ve grown a social media presence, then include by how much. If you regularly sent emails for a previous company, then include the numerical amount of people that were part of this database. If you ran a community, include how many people were part of it and what percentage of growth you were able to achieve.

Here is a great example that Monster.com used in one of their articles on resume writing tips:

Which one is more comprehensive and helpful for a recruiter and employer to read, A or B?
A. Supervisor in a popular restaurant destination.
B. Recruited, hired, trained, and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales.

You guessed it, B – by far.

And don’t forget to include any certifications, awards you’ve won, or volunteer work you’ve done. If you’ve been an employee of the month, were asked to MC a company event, or have been a “big brother” or “big sister” for a while – be sure to include those too!

Let your personality shine through. Way back when (almost 7 years ago), I included under “skills” that I was excellent at foosball when applying to HubSpot, and it helped me to stand out from the norm while injecting my style. One caveat here, if you’re applying to a company that wouldn’t appreciate this, then it’s probably best to leave it off your resume.

Ready to send it over? HAVE SOMEONE PROOFREAD IT FIRST! No matter how hard you try, they’ll always find at least one grammatical or typo issue. It’s just part of life. And if they don’t, then maybe you should mention in your interview how you have excellent grammar and are impeccable with attention to detail.

Want to see an example? Here’s a link to my resume, Sarah Bedrick Resume 1A

 

6.  Clean-Up and polish your online presence

Purge any and all Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter photos that you don’t want you future employer to see. Remove anything even remotely in question. You don’t want to be a robot, but you also don’t want to have them questioning your judgment before you come in for the interview.

While you’re at it, upload a new and more professional image. Find a white or brick background and have someone snap a photo of you with a smile. Nothing sultry, no smirks, just a kind, confident smile.

Lastly, Google search your name. Get a sense of what pops up, as this is content that your future employer might see as well. If there’s something you don’t like, remove it. If you can’t remove it, then try to outrank it. To outrank it, start a free wordpress.com blog with your full name and write a post or two. You can also make sure you’ve signed up for LinkedIn and Twitter, and your profiles are public. Sign up for other public-facing accounts like on AngelList and beef up your profiles, so they are considered better, more relevant search results for your name in the eyes of Google.

And now you are officially ready to apply. Good luck!

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