Tips for a Job Search Breakthrough

1. Cover letter? Try a “Pain Letter.”

Do not fear the newfangled! There’s a reason why this new method is catching fire. Though it sounds painful, a Pain Letter is actually a simple-yet-groundbreaking alternative to formulaic cover letters. Instead of writing about yourself, in a Pain Letter you would focus on a specific challenge that you know the company has been facing, and explain what you would do to help find a solution.

When the hiring managers see a Pain Letter, they automatically know that your intentions are solid and you know the company well. They’ll know that:

a) You did your research,

b) You are a bold problem solver, and

c) You have a vision for both the company and the role you want to play in it.

Instead of presenting yourself as a possible new hire for the recruiter to mold into a seasoned employee, present yourself as a sharp potential team member who already has fresh ideas for the team you want to join.

2. Get yourself a personal reference and directly email the recruiter.

You can’t always bet on the system. Sometimes sending your letter to will indeed fail you. Instead, don’t be afraid to directly email the recruiter by connecting with them online, or if you’re lucky enough, through a mutual friend or colleague.

Be intentional but also considerate in the way you make an introduction. Instead of just asking this person for a favor, emphasize how specifically you can serve their company through the role you are vying for. Referring back to tip #1,show that you have a vision for the company and the role, and genuine passion and value to bring to the table.

Here’s an example of what this email could look like:

Hi Miranda,

I am an applicant for the social media director position at your company, and I came across your contact information and website profile after seeing your post on your innovative approach to increasing brand awareness through video and audio streaming advertising with Periscope. During my time as an intern, I pioneered a video streaming advertisement strategy that the company is now using. I am sending you a link to some of my project samples.

As you can see, the brand was able to benefit considerably from the 30% increase in readership and clicks. I was very excited that your article highlighted and predicted the benefits of this innovative strategy. Please let me know if you are interested in more details! I would also truly support any help from you in my application process for this role.


Jordan Michael

3. Don’t jump on the resume fad bandwagon– make a portfolio instead.

As appealing as the idea is of making a cool music video or Game of Thrones-themed infographic to tell your career story, being cute and gimmicky on your resume usually doesn’t fly that well, unfortunately. Many hiring managers are not amused by bright and flowery attention-grabbers on what should be a clear-cut document. For most, visuals (even a profile picture) can be highly distracting from what really matters on your resume.

Nonetheless, if you are creatively/artistically-inclined, and your aesthetic sense/design talents are highly relevant to the position you’re applying for, by all means show it off: create a portfolio of your work. This is an appropriate medium to pull out those infographics and SlideShare skills, or even deviantART projects. Treat this as an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and bring your application to life in an especially impressive way in showing off other relevant skills. By submitting a portfolio, you’re not only displaying tangible examples of what you can bring to the table, you’re also showing that you arethat much more willing to exert more of yourself for this position.

If you do decide to do this, make sure you highlight just a few of your most recent and outstanding projects, instead of just compiling all the work you’ve done since 10th grade into one large, messy folder. Use portfolio sites to help you achieve the most professional, sleekest look possible. (Some popular free sites are Behance Network, Dribbble, and Coroflot.)

Tried-and-true methods are indeed a trusty go-to, but sometimes the road less traveled by can lead to unexpectedly positive results. Hope you will achieve that breakthrough!

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Source: Victoia Xiao (Ladders)

in Job Search

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