Mastering the art of applications is no easy task. That’s why we’ve created this third part of our Job Application Process Survival Guide. In Part II of this series, we provided tips from over 50 people from our alumni network. This week, we’ve distilled insights from some interesting stories from our team at HQ to provide creative ways to get your foot in the door.
Find a Problem and Solve It
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was to find a problem and come prepared to my interview with a solution. For example, if you are applying for a UX/UI design job, take a web page or email of the company you are applying to and revamp the design yourself. Whether or not they choose to adopt your work, you can guarantee employers will be impressed with your interest in understanding the company’s issues and your solution-oriented approach to solving them.
Do Your Research
In our last blog post, we talked about quality over quantity as a key differentiator for Bloc’s curriculums. We lend this principle to our students in their job searches, too. Rather than leaving applications to a “numbers game”, we tell students to do their research and develop quality outreach. Most applicants “click to apply”. Our most effective students seek out recruiters and hiring managers at their target companies and find second or third degree connections to introduce them. If they don’t have a relevant connection, they’ll research the hiring managers and send a personalized cold email.
For example, if you are emailing a Sr. Technical Recruiter at Yelp, get to know them. Read anything they have ever publicly written (whether it be on the company blog or their own Medium account), or look into interviews they’ve done and cite them in your email. Show your comprehensive understanding of the material and tell them what you admire about their stance on a certain position. This will set you apart from the other applicants and allow you to build an instant connection with your future boss.
Often times, the hardest part of the application process is putting yourself out there. You know people in the field, but you’re not that close with them and maybe don’t feel comfortable asking for an introduction or recommendation. Maybe you’ve found the person who would be your manager in the position you are applying for but don’t know what to say. Will they take your cold email as a nuisance and automatically toss your resume from the pile?
We suggest you forget all of that. While it goes against our nature to ask for help from those we don’t know too well, in the job application world this is exactly what you must do. You must be bold in order to stand out. Remember: You are an asset that will add value and by framing your emails as such you forego the feeling that you’re “begging for a favor”. Being placed in a role you are fit for benefits you, the hiring manager, and the friend recommending you. It’s a win-win-win. To your insecurities, we say hack them. Be confident and know that you and your portfolio are highly valued.
Among the many things you can do to stand out, finding a problem and solving it, doing your research and being aggressive are some of your most high leverage actions. These tips along with interview preparation and portfolio building are key assets to Bloc’s career success strategy. Our Career Service and Student Success teams work one-on-one with students to tackle these steps in their job search and prepare them for the journey ahead.