So you need to find the hidden job – that role which has not yet been approved or advertised. This approach, if undertaken well, will show prospective employers that you have sales skills and that you are able to use your initiative. You need to find a real, live person inside the company to talk to.
So try to develop a professional relationship with gatekeepers. Introduce yourself, ask if this is a good time for them or can you call at a more appropriate time, explain what you can offer the organization, and then keep in touch without being pushy. Can you email them your cv in case something suitable comes up?
This applies to more than just sales jobs. Knowing how to sell yourself, and manage professional relationships is an invaluable asset in any job.
Often, it really is about who you know as much as what you know, so actively set out to meet people who can provide a positive influence on your career. This kind of networking is what will get your CV to the top of the pile.
Networking often delivers those opportunities that have not yet been advertised so ask your relatives, friends and business contacts who they know and who might be able to advise you, direct you towards an opening or have an opportunity for you.
You might even meet someone, or already know someone, who can talk to the gatekeeper and recommend you for a particular role in the company.
Use your network, including a company search on LinkedIn, and make a phone call to someone who may ask someone to look at your CV.
Using social networks like LinkedIn is great. They can help you to find the appropriate people to talk to. You can also set up your own profile on these sites to demonstrate how you can add value to a particular company.
Remember that networking is not just about you; it’s about what you can do for other people, and in turn they will quite often return the favour in one way or another.
Find an internal champion
With an internal champion, your CV has a chance, but without an internal champion, even the best CV is one out of many, and the chances of success are reduced. By using your initiative and being proactive your CV could rise to the top of the pile.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve already got the job, but a recommendation from a highly respected person who’s worked in a company and within a senior position for years is like gold dust.
We all need our own brand champions, people that can talk about why we as individuals can add value to an organisation or a particular role. So don’t forget to ask these people to refer you to an employer who might just need your skills.
Remember an excellent CV and cover letter will often help you get past the gatekeepers to interview stage, but you might need to go further.For example, you might like to think about creating a website that explains who you are, what you like to do in your spare time, as well as your professional ambitions and skills.
This can be used to complement your CV, allowing employers to gain further insight into you as a person, enabling them to find out if you are really someone they would like to hire.