Finding a job is painstakingly hard. There is so much competition out there, and depending on what kind of job you’re going for, there can be hundreds of applications. How will you make yours stand out anymore than the next guy? There’s only so much you can do to your CV and cover letter. I believe there is a better way to make yourself stand out as a stellar, passionate candidate and it is a way that people just don’t exploit. This method of job application means you would probably only apply to 2-3 jobs a week, rather than the standard blast of 3-4 applications every evening.

The method in question is based around research of the company, the role, the hiring manager, the market, the product/service and executive team. This research doesn’t take very long – maybe a couple of hours. Putting together a presentation, different kind of cover letter (pain letter) and using social media and the internet to get the correct contact details of the people you need to impress is the perfect strategy to ensure you get a foot in the door.

So without further ado, let’s start from the very beginning.
Look for a job you really want, something you’re passionate about. You could be passionate about what the company does or what the actual job role is etc. This will make your presentation and pain letter easier to do as you’ll already have the basic background knowledge.

Once you find a company you want to work for, take a look at their job openings and see if they have anything that fits your skill set. If they do – you’re golden, but even if they don’t there is still something you can do to stand out as a potential employee for the future once a position opens up. Once you know what you want – start your research. The research will consist of finding the right people in the company (hiring manager, executive team etc), the company itself (market, competitors, news stories), the actually role (duh? But you need to go into more detail, what defines success in this role etc).

This research should begin with the organisations website, then moving on to other websites where you’ve seen their name being mentioned. One thing you need to remember, every application you make should be unique, so the more research you do, the better the pain letter will be. Read about its business. What do make or sell? Who are their clients? What sorts of issues do you imagine that the organization is dealing with?

Once all the research is done, it’s time to get down to work. Create a presentation, filled with infographics and citations to other studies or books that help to give your presentation credibility. Write down and show in your own words what you think needs to be done in this role (you’ll already know because of your research). You want to make an impact and hit the ground running so you’ll need to explain how your track record shows you will. This presentation should take no more than 2-3 hours to create (are you sh###ing me?!?!?). I did say this will be time consuming! When you think about how long this process, just remember there are many recruiters who have openly said they don’t check a single CV when a job is posted, they do their hiring directly through their network on LinkedIn!

The next step is to create a pain letter, your pain letter needs to portray that you know what ‘pain’ the hiring manager is feeling. What problem is the hiring manager trying to solve with this new hire? How can you make a difference? What have you done in the past that relates to the job description? Maybe there’s things you do outside of work in your spare time that can help with your application? Everything that is applicable should be added. One thing to remember is that everybody solves a problem at work. For example a logistics manager for a manufacturing company ensures the smooth process of deliveries in and deliveries out. If something goes wrong on either side, there are several problems as the knock on effect gets passed onto other parts of the business. This is a critical part of a business; a late incoming item may mean that you can’t supply one of your customers who in turn have customers of their own.

This pain letter will go directly to the hiring manager; this person should already be known to you through your research. Remembering that hiring managers will have plenty on their plate and will have read many cover letters so you need to entice them to read yours in its entirety by starting it with a ‘hook’. A hook can be anything that shows your potential future employer that you do your homework, so maybe it’s a news story about them, or they were mentioned in an article etc. I personally found a company when looking for what investment to make with my savings! So stories like that may be the kind of hook you need to get your pain letter read. One big difference between a cover letter and a pain letter, the cover letter is all you, the pain letter however is all them. This will give them something different to the norm and should entice them to read on.

Hooking them in with genuine interest in what they do is the perfect way to get them on side because there will always be people who are only interested in forwarding their own agenda, you are beginning your letter with showing them your interest in them. People who aren’t wildly successful or celebrities or models don’t get enough acknowledgement, this is your way to make them feel good about themselves.

After the hook, you delve into the pain that the hiring manager may be feeling. This pain is the problem that the new hire will solve. There will be lots of tasks they need their new hire to perform but you want to focus on where you feel you would bring most value. How could you make their life better? Focus on that problem/pain, you may feel like you’re stating the obvious but remember this is not a long drawn out letter. It should be clear and concise. You don’t need to suggest fixes to the problem here, you just need to tell them why you’re the best person for the job.

The way you show them is not by telling them about how awesome you are, you need some kind of story to backup your claim, it needs to be short one though! A clear short 2-3 sentence story about how you solved their pain is more than adequate. There is no need to praise yourself, this is just functional, what you did, what the outcome was. That’s it. It doesn’t even need to be a story from a job, can be from a class project at University. Once this is done, that’s it! You don’t need to go into detail about why you’re the master of the universe. Nobody cares about how well you can use adjectives to portray yourself. Remember, people only care about themselves, however sad that is, it’s the truth. The close should be short and confident. “If you need help in x or dealing with y, I’d love to chat when you’re free. Kind Regards.”

That’s it! You’ve done your pain letter, easy right? It’s not supposed to be and it does take some research but it’s definitely worth it.

The next step is to do something completely different, out of the ordinary – create a presentation, this can be a presentation of you (CV in a presentation) or of how you will attack the job at hand. If you choose to go down the CV route, just make sure you have a traditional CV to go with your radical one. Your presentation will take a while to compile but the main points it needs to cover is, what you’ve done in the past that can help the pain mentioned in the pain letter. How you intend to grow into the role and the company and any future aspirations you have that you feel would be a good thing for the company, further education, positions you’d like to attain etc. One point I feel I really need to drill down on is to always show passion, be passionate about the role, company and anything else you can find on their website that you can relate to. Don’t be fake, if you’re unsure about something and you portray your passion on it, you will get found out later on down the line. Bad move.

After this is done, you need to start finding people of interest on social media (LinkedIn not Facebook or Instagram). Get in touch, follow them, tell them you’re interested in the position and you’ve prepared a little portfolio you’d like them to look over. If you feel like you’ve built up enough rapport with them, comments on their status, a few messages here and there, ask them about what they’re looking for in a perfect candidate. This would put you in a perfect situation as you’d be able to tailor everything in your portfolio (everything you’ve done from above) and also tailor your interview to ensure you get the job.

If you really want the job, you need to show it. Actions speak louder than words. Show them what they’re missing! GSY