Never Fear Rejection I’ve been rejected for more jobs than I can count. Oh well! You can’t be a fit for everything and everyone. Stop being afraid of rejection and put yourself out there. With the benefit of hindsight, it may be that every rejection happened for a reason. – Sahil Bloom
How to land your dream job:
I’ve been involved in a lot of hiring processes. I’m also not afraid to admit I’ve been rejected for more jobs than I can count. But there are proven ways to stand out and win. The 3-part framework: • Foot in the Door • Nail the Interview • Close the Deal Let’s dive in:
Part 1: Foot in the Door The hiring process is ultra-competitive. There always seems to be an overabundance of candidates applying for the same highly sought-after roles. You can’t land the job if they won’t even give you a chance. 5 methods to get your foot in the door:
Find a Side Door Warm intros and references are the holy grail of a competitive hiring process. They are even more powerful if they come from an existing employee. Scan your networks for any connections to a company. If you find any, ask. No shame—we’ve all been there!
Create Value Before Applying Do research on key projects of the role you are applying for. Find a way to create value prior to even applying. Examples: • Build a web mockup • Survey a few customers • Write a short memo Include it when you apply—you’ll quickly stand out.
Interact on Social Channels In the digital age, there are endless ways to interact with your target company. Follow them on social media, like their posts, comment, etc. Don’t be spammy, but let them know you exist. This works particularly well with startups/small companies.
Cover Letter & Resume A punchy cover letter and tailored resume can really help you stand out. Cover Letter: Keep it short and include a specific answer to the “why us?” question. Infuse an element of personality. Resume: Custom tailored to the company and role.
Part 2: Nail the Interview Ok, so you worked your way through the first step of the hiring process. Now it’s time for the most stressful part—the interview. But with a proper approach and preparation, there’s no need for stress. 8 ways to stand out and nail the interview:
Do Your Research Before an interview, spend a few hours researching the company and role. At a minimum, learn the company mission, read up on recent news on the company or its market, and study the backgrounds of the key leaders. Google is a powerful asset—use it!
Find Common Ground If you know who you will be interviewing with, spend time learning about their background and experience. Identify potential bonding areas (e.g. same alma mater, similar interests or hobbies, etc.). This prior knowledge may help you connect more deeply.
Pass the Plane Test There’s a common (& dated!) test in the hiring process: “Would I want to sit next to this person on a plane for 5 hours?” This was about being “normal”—but normalcy is overrated. Be yourself, but be sure to get across that you are kind and genuine.
Execute the Basics There are a few basics. They seem simple, but execute and you’re already ahead of the game. • Sit up straight • Make eye contact • Bring a notebook & pen • Smile • Show passion & energy • Front lighting (Zoom only) There’s no excuse to miss on these.
Play to Your Strengths Don’t fight on an even playing field. If you have unique attributes or competitive advantages, use them. Played a team sport? Talk about it! Taught yourself to code? Hype that up! Humility is great, but make sure they know what makes you special!
Embrace “I Don’t Know” You can’t know the answer to every question. And you know what? That’s ok! Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”—but then follow it with a plan to acquire that information. “I don’t know, but I’ll dig in and follow up with an email.” Then follow up!
Ask Unique Questions Most interviews end with a classic: “Do you have any questions for me?” This isn’t just a throwaway question. It is an opportunity to show off your differentiated initiative and hustle. Ask a unique question grounded in your diligence on the company.
Part 3: Close the Deal You got your foot in the door and nailed the interviews. You’re nearing the finish line—but it’s time to close the deal. 3 things to keep in mind:
Personalized Thank Yous After an interview, always send a thank you note to the interviewer. Make them punchy (so that the person actually reads it!). Include a specific detail—that you wrote down in your notebook—from the interview so that it doesn’t appear generic.
Never Fear Rejection I’ve been rejected for more jobs than I can count. Oh well! You can’t be a fit for everything and everyone. Stop being afraid of rejection and put yourself out there. With the benefit of hindsight, it may be that every rejection happened for a reason.