Job hunting is no joke, and can be very demanding and stressful. But even then, it's important to bring our best selves to each and every application and interview. 

You have to be skilled enough, professional enough and be the right culture fit for the company you’re applying to. And that's just when you're applying for an actual vacancy.

What if your dream company doesn’t have an advertised vacancy and you want to offer your skills and expertise there anyway?

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It can be tricky but it’s not impossible to get your foot in this way, provided there is a need for your skill set at the said company. For tips on best practice when approaching a company, we spoke to Megan Ross, a recruitment specialist consultant at Kerry Kopp, and Elizabeth Mamacos, former head of content at Careers24. Have a look at these five tips to help you stand out during the application process:

Who to approach 

If you're interested in working with a specific person in the company, you may be tempted to contact them directly but it can be useful to approach the hiring manager instead.

Elizabeth says if the manager you want to work for has hiring power or influence, then you can certainly reach out to them. Otherwise, it’s better to approach HR to make your intentions known, and you could perhaps include that you would love to work with a particular manager.

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Is a phone call better than emailing though?

She says “a phone call should never hinder your chances, but if you have had an email conversation already then calling might be seen as being too pushy. You want to appear keen, but not overbearing.

“However, a cold call to a hiring manager can be one way to open dialogue and then the conversation could continue via email or a job application process, at the hiring manager’s discretion.”

Megan says if the hiring manager has contacted you then it’s okay to get in touch or stay in touch but “if you’ve emailed, called and SMS-ed the person, don’t become a stalker. If they want to contact you, they will”.

What to include in initial email

The initial email needs to be both concise and informative.

“As with every job application, you need to tailor your initial contact to include specifics as to why you would be an asset to the company, and why you have chosen to approach them. Show that you have done your research, that you have the foresight to apply now and also the patience to wait for an appropriate vacancy to open,” says Elizabeth.

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Megan reckons you always include the following basics: your name, the area you live in, your job title and job title you’re applying or looking for. 

“Also, don’t babble on too much but have punchy email content that will catch the reader’s attention – about you as a person and as an employee” she adds.

Pay attention to tone, spelling and grammar

According to Megan, you should avoid using pet names to people you’re dealing with during the recruitment process, for example saying “Thank you love”. She says that’s a big no-no.

“Also, please don’t include a full-length picture of yourself – if you would like to include a picture, please use a smart, professional looking head shot (shoulders upwards), don’t have anyone else in the picture, don’t have any pets and no cars, drinks, buildings etc. in the background,” she adds.

Don’t beg. Ever

“Don’t sell yourself short, and avoid being timid in your approach. You could well be rejected, but don’t make it easy for them to brush you off.” Says Elizabeth. 

“Be confident in your abilities and present yourself in a professional manner, but no matter the result stay polite and professional. While you might get a no today, if you’ve made a positive impression you can hope for a call back in the future,” she adds.

“Absolutely avoid begging! Don’t ever say ‘please, I’m desperate for a job’,” says Megan. “Rather focus on why they need you as an employee at their company.”

Keep the following in mind

Megan says if you’re interested in working for a particular company you will could get that opportunity if they have a vacancy suited to you.

“Companies can’t create positions, even for excellent candidates, unless there is a need within the business for that person. It’s nothing against the candidate, it’s just unfortunately the way things are,” says Megan

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She says this is what people often don’t understand. “You can’t be hired for a job that doesn’t exist – think of it that way.”

Armed with these five tips partnered with a remarkable skill set, you are sure to make a good impression.

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