You applied for a job and didn’t get it.

Now you’re asking all kinds of questions. And it’s really messing with your confidence. You might be asking yourself, “What could I have done differently? How could I have been more proactive? Was it something I said in the interview?” Before you jump into an emotional breakdown, take a deep breath and keep reading. I  know the feeling, and I want to share with you the most important knowledge for landing your dream job!

Would you believe that before I landed the best position I could’ve imagined, I applied and interviewed for over 40 jobs? I WAS COMPLETELY DISCOURAGED!

But, I didn’t give up and neither should you. I’ve seen far too many people making the same mistakes, including myself. These mistakes are inevitable, but if you don’t learn from them, you’ll keep making them over and over again. I am sharing my experience to be helpful, friendly and to serve as a resource to you. If these steps worked for me, then why can’t they work for you?

I can guarantee if you follow this guide, your chances of landing the job will increase exponentially. It is important to mention however that sometimes you can’t land your dream job on the first shot. Consistency is key, and you should continue to apply for jobs endlessly until you land one that matches with your work ethic, morals, and personality. If you still don’t get an offer, at least you know you tried your absolute best.

So, without further ado, let’s get that offer:

Know Your Target Market. The first thing you need to do is know what you want and where to find it. In the job world, you need to know the players. Which company is on a hiring spree? Which company is showing rapid growth? Those are strong indicators that they need to hire… and hire fast!

If you’ve ever been on the other side of the equation and have received hundreds of resumes from qualified people who all want to be hired, think about the interview process from the recruiter’s perspective. He/she must go through all of the resumes and cover letters to find the perfect candidate. Position yourself through your resume and cover letter as the perfect candidate who can go above and beyond to do the work for them.

Do your research, check out multiple sites and start narrowing positions down. I knew that I wanted to work for a small business in Austin, TX  doing digital marketing. So, that’s what I looked for and is exactly what I found.

Content Mediums. Build a resume and portfolio that showcases your personal brand to a company. Show off different writing styles, social media content, advertisements for separate campaigns, different versions of design work, etc. Don’t include too much of the same thing (i.e. press releases) to avoid over-saturation of content and to highlight more variety and experience. Here’s a snapshot of my portfolio site:

A lot of people will have the same type of work samples and projects, so you’re probably struggling with how to differentiate your work. I was stuck in the same situation until I started gaining new and different experiences to add to my portfolio. The best way to differentiate yourself from the other candidates is to have experience and multiple work samples from as many areas as possible.

Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done before!

Research. Once you’ve decided on what you want then start the application process and familiarize yourself with the company. Visit the company website and social media sites. Learn all about the company image, message, goals, theme, team, departments, etc. This can help you position yourself well in an interview to show how you fit in and play to their needs.

Looking at the services a company offers is an intriguing perspective to bring up in conversation. Here’s what caught my eye on the Blackhawk website.

You know when something just seems perfect? And you didn’t know how to describe it until you saw it for yourself? Yeah, me too. I knew that the skills Blackhawk specializes in were what I wanted. I liked what I saw and felt like I would fit in really well there.

Create Interest.  People hire people, not applications and resumes. Call the office, email them, connect with an HR Director on LinkedIn and message them. Show that you’re eager and interested.

When I called my potential (now current) employer to touch base on the application I had submitted, he moved me on to the next phase of the interview and emailed me saying it was great initiative to call him (see below).

A simple, effortless phone call does not go unnoticed. It can make a positive difference in how the hiring manager and company perceive you.

Follow up again. Yes, following up is so important I’m putting it on here twice.

Every job I’ve ever had involved me following up multiple times throughout the application and interview process. Email them and let them know you enjoyed meeting and speaking with them. Acknowledge how excited you are about the opportunity to potentially work for the company. Clearly state you are looking forward to hearing back from them. You have to make your own opportunities. Great jobs don’t just fall into your lap. You have to want them and work for them.

The Message You Want To Convey. Show your passion and interest. Don’t call just to call. Be excited. Actually talk. Answer questions and speak like it’s an interview. Even if it’s a casual follow-up call just introducing yourself, answer their questions like they’re writing down your answers.

When I made my initial follow-up call, everything I said was written down and taken into account when Blackhawk was deciding if I would be the right candidate for the position.

Is that not intimidating?! I could hear him typing through the phone and knew I needed to be on my ‘A’ game. Just look at those notes… he wrote down everything I said. Prove to them that your goal is to be the best person for the position. Ask about the next step and push them a little bit.

Business Goals. After multiple rejections, it was easy for me to lose sight of my personal business goals and I started to lack self-esteem. Take encouragement from someone like I did. My dad was so excited for me just after the first interview. He knew I would get the job and helped me see my own qualities and set my own goals.

Then… I got the job!

Know your goals. What’s the ultimate outcome you’re desiring? Go get it and make it happen. And, with that, I send you on your way! I have full confidence in you and know you will crush your next interview – as long as you keep these things in mind and want it bad enough.

Be excited for the opportunities out there, stay hungry and know that I’m rooting for you!