How to get your foot in the door

Any job hunter knows that getting a foot in the door, or even just a toe to start with, can be the most difficult part of any career ladder climb. Often it’s a case of being brave and putting you and your CV out there to be seen - but how should you go about it?

Do your homework

Before any approach or interaction with your dream company, you need to know what you’re in for.

  • Learn everything about the company. Research its history, its work and its values so you have a clear idea of its image, goals and story.

  • Find out who the important figures are and follow them on their professional social media, similarly with other organisations the company is aligned with.

  • Are there any professional events that the company attends? These could be a great networking opportunity.

Digital meet and greet

There are ways to be noticed online before you actively approach a company. How?

  • Connect with the company, and others within the industry, on LinkedIn, social media and other professional online platforms. Join professional discussions, threads and seminars so they get to know who you are.

  • Be persistent, but not pesky - you want to get on their radar for the right reasons.

Get the inside knowledge

Even in these digital times the old adage of “it’s who you know” can still be as relevant as ever. Getting to know the right people in the industry will go a long way to finding out when a position arises.

  • Attend face to face networking events where the company is likely to be represented.

  • Utilise the professional connections you’ve made on LinkedIn and ask if they know of any openings coming up in the company of your choice.

Always have your (online) game face on

To be noticed, you need to be out there, and always prepared in case someone important happens to glance at your professional profile online.

Ensure all your online information on social media and professional networking accounts is up to date, relevant and the best it can be. As always, keep professional and personal separate.

Keep your Trade Me Job Profile active and make sure that it reflects all the skills and values that the company you want to work for appreciates.

Send in your CV

Just like the olden days (before the internet), handing out your CV in case a job comes up can still be done effectively.

But cold calling should never be done unprepared. Tips to ensure your CV makes it to the right desk include:

  • Get your CV to the right person – try and find the relevant HR or hiring manager contact to avoid emailing a general address or the CEO.

  • Research the position you may want to apply for if it was advertised to make sure your CV is tailored to the company.

  • Keep your CV and cover letter short, and indicate a longer CV is available if required.

  • Contact a recruitment agency that could market your CV to the company.

Let them know that you know

In your dealings with the company, be it an online chat, or your CV and cover letter/email, ensure the company knows you’ve done your research.

  • Refer to particular projects, clients or achievements that drew you to the company.

  • Outline why you want to work for this company and mention some of its values.

  • Communicate clearly why you have a commitment to the company, industry or potential role.