How To Apply For An Unadvertised Job
Sounds simple enough, right? But in the real world, it’s not always so easy. Sometimes, the stars just aren’t aligned the way you want them to be. When it just so happens that you’re in dire need of a new job, nobody in your field seems to be hiring. Or, maybe there’s a boutique hotel or a cozy little bistro you know you’d be just perfect for, but they don’t seem to have any vacancies advertised. So what’s a job seeker to do when faced with hidden vacancies?
Create your own opportunities.
Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to wait for an engraved invitation to apply for a job. Sure, you’re more likely to land a position for which a company is actively recruiting, but plenty of jobs are awarded without ever having been formally advertised. In fact, according to job search consultant Debra Feldman, as many as half of all positions that are filled are part of this “hidden” market of unadvertised jobs.
With the right cover letter, you can tap into needs that a company doesn’t even know it has yet. It’s all a matter of positioning your skills and potential contributions as irresistible—in other words, making an offer that the company can’t afford to pass up. Use these hints to craft a cover letter that will help you create your own opportunity.
Get to know your target.
When you’re applying for an unadvertised position, it’s more important than ever to research the company and figure out what they need. Read their website, but try to seek out second opinions, as well. (This will be easier for large chains than for independent operations.) Are sales lagging? Do they need help pumping up their appeal to younger customers? Also, use research to determine the name and title of the VIP to whom you should address your letter to—generic “To whom it may concern” cover letters just won’t cut it in these cases.
Figure out your angle.
Once you’ve developed an in-depth profile of the company you’re applying to, determine the best way to fit your experience to their needs. The cold call cover letter is more like a sales letter than a standard issue introduction to a resume, so you’ll need to put forth a really compelling “value proposition” in order to catch their eye.
Focus on your assets with a laser-like intensity.
Once you’ve figured out the main point you’ll emphasize in your letter, stick to it closely. Resist the urge to add in too many unnecessary sentences or distracting rhetorical flourishes. Instead, the centerpiece of your letter should be a short and to the point statement that encapsulates exactly what you can bring to the table—the more concise, the better. If you can, try to add in a few detailed facts and figures that convey your value (i.e., “I developed a strategy that increased dessert sales by 25 percent”).
Follow up assertively.
When you submit your materials for a position that might not exist yet, the burden of follow-up contact rests squarely on your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to move the process along with a few phone calls and, if several weeks have passed with no response, a follow-up note. Be persistent and polite, but not pushy.
It is risky to apply for an unadvertised position, and the odds that you’ll be successful are admittedly lower than they are when you respond to a traditional job posting. But, if you play your cards right and come up with a knock-‘em-dead cover letter that lays out your value in a clear and compelling way, who knows—you just might create your own dream job.
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