When job searching, one activity you should consider is targeting specific organizations that are of interest to you. Ideally, you have someone who can ‘open the door’ for you. But if you cannot find anyone to give you a referral, you will have to take it upon yourself to make the first contact.
Instead of randomly sending a resume by email to the HR department and asking if they have any job openings, send your letter to the appropriate hiring manager.
For example, if you are an accountant, send your letter to the controller or chief financial officer. The reason for taking this approach is that the hiring manager (the controller or CFO) will be aware of staffing needs before the HR department and will have a much better handle on their requirements.
Next, do some research to help understand the key issues and challenges facing the company. As a guideline, most employer’s challenges fall into one or more of these categories:
Growing their revenue
Expanding into new markets, products, or services
Battling their competitors
Strengthening their financial management
Dealing with human resource issues
Building relationships with stakeholders
Write a thoughtful cover letter that explains how your skills, experience, and qualifications could help the company deal with those challenges.
For example, if you’re an accountant and in your last job you built a job costing system that helped your employer become more accurate in its pricing, tell that story. It’s bound to impress the controller or CFO, especially if they are looking for ways to improve their profitability.
You have to find ways to stand out from other candidates when job searching. Employers are looking for people who show initiative. Don’t be like everyone else.