Some people want to work for Google more than anything. Others are smitten with 72 and Sunny or Leo Burnett and some are gunning to get a job at Glassdoor or Quora.
Anyone with just two or three employers on their A-list of targets needs a smart strategy to show they're sweet on those companies. Whether you're first connecting around Valentine's Day, Cinco de Mayo or Labor Day, you may woo an employer, hiring manager or recruiter for months or sometimes years. So persistence and professionalism must fit in with inventiveness in your campaign.
Perhaps you will send the hiring manager or recruiter chocolates with a note saying, "I'd really love to work for you just before Valentine's Day." That could get some attention, especially if she's a chocoholic. "But some people might get creeped out" by that, said Laura Laser, an executive recruiter in the advertising world and president of Laser Talent Group in Los Angeles.
Before you start your campaign, check out the person's online profiles and presence to find out as much as you can about her or him. Discover their hobbies and interests and check on Amazon or Goodreads to see if you share an appreciation for particular kinds of books, said Laser.
"It was just amazing that he did that," Laser said. "How could I not love that guy?" She's told other recruiters about him and shares the story regularly as an example of the "thoughtful extra things" that can really create a bond or make you stand out.
Even if you couldn't paint a wall, you still can show your targeted recruiters and managers that you're sweet on them. Here's six ways:
1. Be a standout. Use humor or say something clever in your email subject line -- or both. Recruiters receive a lot of email each day. Laser remembered one that was funny and "real' starting with the subject: "Recruiting you to recruit me." The person mentioned that he had trekked through Peru and ended the note with, "If you like what you see, please contact me and we can talk more. If you don't like what you see, contact me and we can talk more."
2. Get introduced by someone. "Ask a mutual connection to make a recommendation on your behalf," she suggests.
3. Retweet their best. Follow the recruiter, hiring manager and the company on Twitter. Then, find something worthwhile to retweet occasionally, in hopes that that will lead them to your profile. (Make sure your online profile conveys your professionalism and brand, and while you're at it, check your Facebook page so it's squeaky clean.)
4. Share relevant ideas. This can work well if the company targeted has some widely known growth plans or a problem it is grappling with. You will need to invest some time and analysis to offer something of value, and then present it succinctly, perhaps via a SlideShare or PowerPoint, Laser said.
5. Bring them coffee and cookies. This works well at career fairs or corporate events, where a recruiter may be stuck in a chair all day long. Just learn ahead of time whether they're vegan or dieting; this often can be discerned by their Facebook or MeetUps.
6. Persist politely. It may take three or more emails, notes and connections before they recognize your name and your value. Your dedication to the company and to regular connections could be part of what shows your appreciation and your talent.
Make sure you don't cross over into annoying or ridiculous. Nor do you want to come off as a stalker by showing up at the school play where the recruiter's children are performing -- unless of course, your niece is also in the cast.
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