Alright, you passed Step One and you are now a viable candidate in the employer's applicant tracking system, email inbox, or just a stack of resumes they printed out to review. Now, you need to get started on Step Two to get your extra credit.
Step 2: Extra Credit
Why do you need Extra Credit? Because recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with applicant resumes these days, so it’s very hard for any single person—even one who is extremely qualified for an opening—to get noticed. To overcome that disadvantage, you must help your resume stand out.
The minute you have passed the test in Step 1, start networking to find contacts in the organization that posted your dream job. You’re trying to find one (or both) of two kinds of contacts:
• Employees of the organization whom you know
• Employees whom you don’t know, but with whom you share an affinity (e.g., you are both members of the same professional association, alumni of the same college or university, live in the same neighborhood, have a common charity, I think you are getting the idea.)
Finding these contacts is not as difficult as it may initially seem, thanks to the internet especially the social media sites, professional networking sites, and other online databases and directories at the websites of such organizations as a professional society like IREM, NAA, and NMHC in the apartment management field. Colleges and university alumni associations, local school parent directories, and many other community associations. A few minutes of Google searches with company names, titles, cities and my guess is you can find less than six degrees of separation to a primary contact at an organization. The purpose of this networking is to ask your friend or contact to let the hiring manager or HR Department know you have submitted an application for a position. When they do so, you remove your resume from the one resume and/or application in the possible hundred they may be reviewing to the top of the class. At the top of the pile, you will most likely get noticed and highly considered. Why? Because most hiring managers believe the best candidates are those referred by the organization’s own employees.
Does this mean you skip Step 1 altogether? Can you ignore the online submission of your resume and just try to network your way in the door? Sure, however you will lose the advantage of being placed directly in the companies resume database and possibly being exposed to other hring managers with similar openings in a nearby marketplace. In addition, submitting your resume cuts down on the work a recruiter has to do even with an employee referral. Since it’s already in the database, your resume can be quickly forwarded to hiring managers and others for evaluation and a decision.As simple as the online application can seem it is just the first test in the hiring process, pass it and you can get a seat at the table. Do the extra credit and you may be celebrating with steak, lobster and a nice bottle of red!
Good luck with your apartment job search and remember February has been designated National Apartment Careers Month by the National Apartment Association. If you are interested in partcipating, please register at NAAHQ.ORG and download and information packet.