Some jobs are, obviously, more easily obtained than others. For obvious reasons, a job at McDonald’s is going to be easier to get than a job on Wall Street, right? But, here is the thing. You won’t be able to procure either of those positions without first getting the good ol’ classic job interview. And let’s assume that you are not trying to score an interview with the fast food service industry behemoth McDonald’s. We can also assume that you are not trying to score an interview with the higher-ups on Wall Street.
Or, perhaps that is exactly where you are aiming your sights. For the sake of example, let’s say that you are begging and pleading (in your head) for a chance at the corner seat in a cushy building on Wall Street. But you want a chance to beg and plead (in a dignified manner, of course), in person, and with a mover-and-a-shaker, a bigwig who can give you a job. Here are a few tips for gaining an interview for that pie-in-the-sky reach job that you want so bad.
Use your cover letter
If you aren’t the traditional candidate — or the most qualified candidate — then the best move here is to address that detail head-on and with no vagueness about it. The company most likely will applaud your forthrightness as well as your honesty. Aim to convince, through a measured and well-reasoned argument, the company or institution, that you are the right man or woman for the job, despite the fact that you have not walked the traditional path to the position.
Address, in your cover letter, the specific skills that are required by the position and then do your very best to draw a clear, cogent and direct line to how you have gained those very skills. Mention in your cover letter — for added punch — the skills that you have which other potential applicants may not have. It is your job to be bold at this point in time: After all, what you are doing is attempting to get somebody to give you a shot. So don’t hold back when it comes to talking up your virtues!
Use your network
If someone that you know has an “in” with the company, industry or position at which you desire a shot (even if it is someone who you know who knows someone else who knows somebody else) then you absolutely must not let that leverage go to waste. Leverage this network by letting your professional and personal contacts know you’re looking for job-prospecting help. Oftentimes, even the loosest of connections can be enough to secure a job interview.
Be active, bold and reasonable
Remember: You are an outside candidate. An underdog. A minor possibility, if that, by the deciders and bigwigs. This means that the onus is on you to impress perhaps even more so than average (and normally one is meant to impress their would-be bosses in any case, mind you). So be bold!
Within your cover letter, you might consider offering to perform a tryout of sorts, or to complete a freelance project. You should consider offering the company or management more than a cover letter. Consider including a plan for how you’ll handle your first 100 days or even a breakdown for the first year. This may seem pushy or even aggressive, but, then again, you do have to take extra risks to compensate for the extra reach.
As a last note, it is great to reach, but it is not quite as great to overreach. In other words, it is also important to be reasonable and practical. Although it isn’t entirely necessary to stay in your lane, you quickly will find that receiving interviews for reach jobs is a hard task. Remember, and accept, that more than likely you are going to fail more often than you succeed. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from continuing to try.
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