You can easily become hopeless making application after application for advertised positions. Often, you need to customise your CV, write a tailored covering letter and fill in a detailed application form. Typically, you get no feedback but an automated acknowledgement. Many of the big job sites have positions advertised which are not real vacancies budgeted by employers. Publicly advertised positions can receive thousands of applications.
Even if you get to the first interview stage, you are often ‘making up the numbers’ or used to test the job specification and person. Increasingly, you will have to record an interview online to respond to predefined questions and will never have an interaction with the interviewer. If you become the preferred candidate, the employer may not be as committed to the appointment as they initially appeared – uncertainty, competing priorities and changing budgets could mean that as long as six months into a recruitment cycle the opportunity disappears. And so, the cycle continues to wreak its dehumanising, silent rejection of all you have to offer.
Changing your approach to ‘pitch’ can radically shift your access to opportunities and empower you to move from a passive to active approach for you preferred job. Many career advisers will quote unverified suggestions that as many as 80% of jobs are unadvertised in a ‘hidden’ job market. Robust research is lacking. The most important benefit of pitching for a job is that you are radically limiting the amount of competition. This is particularly valuable if you are looking to use transferable skills to change roles or sectors: conventional recruitment processes would eliminate you by check list criteria at the first pass. Take courage and pitch.
In the past, you might have pitched by sending unsolicited letters to senior management or used your network to have a coffee. Now, social media platform LinkedIn has democratised access to leaders across many segments of the economy. Prepare your LinkedIn profile to tell the story consistently with your pitch. Use direct messaging to customise an approach to tightly targeted individuals respectfully. Always attach documents as PDFs or video files – never use links to external websites. Be creative, be disciplined, take control.
Pitch? It means having courage for a future you can love.
This article was originally published in KCW London. You can access that article here.
Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.