5 tips on how to apply for a job – and get hired

The last time she applied for a job, she got invited to 20 job interviews, which led to three job offers. Cathelijn van Haaren does a lot of great work for the The Talent Institute (one of the schools BSSA teamed up with): teaching, recruitment of students, all sorts of digital marketing and sales activities. She has sunken her teeth in many things before, such as operating as junior marketer and PR manager and fulfilling the position as community events manager at large companies. An impressive resume, which makes it hard to believe she is only 26, and finished her masters so little time ago. How did she get all these great jobs? Well: she knows how to stand out –  she knows how to present herself  – she knows what sh*t work – she knows how to apply for a job and get hired. As her current boss, Roderik Hageman says: ‘I did not even meet her, but by receiving her email, I knew that I wanted her to work for me no matter what.’

So pay attention all you jobseekers out there!

1) Select the industry

Simple: first step in applying for a job is deciding in which sector you want to work in. So start broad. Try to not get to specific still.

2) Make a list of companies

The next step will be making a list of companies within the industry you find interesting. How? You can use LinkedIn by searching on industry keywords. When you find someone working in your preferred sector, it’s best to look at their experience. Chances are high they worked at companies that are operating in the same industry, which you can add to your list as well. Also look at the sidebar at the right where you can find comparable companies as the one you were looking at. Searching for top-list – like ‘the 50 best advertising agencies in Amsterdam’ – through Google is very helpful as well.

3) Define your role

A lot of us don’t know exactly what we want, but know what we somewhat like. Write down what your strengths are and what kind of activities you like to do. Then think in what kind of roles they would fit in the companies you just wrote down. Also note job titles – existing or not – you find interesting. Trick is to make it as concrete as possible, in that way you get clarity on what activities you can take up within a company and be of value to them. When you are on a job interview and tell them you like travelling: it doesn’t add anything if you can’t tell why that makes you do your work really well.

4) Fix your personal branding

There are so many tips on LinkedIn to find online, so I will not bore you with those. But what’s crucial: align your LinkedIn and CV with the role you just defined for yourself. In other words, every job, study or experience abroad you present in a way that fits the role you see yourself performing. Find overlap, find relevance, emphasize the things that are interesting for the sector you chose and leave everything else out. Also use the keywords significant in the industry and don’t ever lie, but manipulate your use of words a bit to your favored function. Believe me: companies will reach out to you.

5) Choose strategy to present yourself + send out open and many job applications

Send an email? Just walk in? Put up a billboard alongside the highway? Whatever you do: be original in presenting yourself – in a way that fits you. But, please, have the balls to stand out! I let a designer make the layout for my resume, which he made into an infographic. It cost me €150, in my opinion not a big investment on an annual salary. For this job I send a letter of application in the form of a blogpost named ‘My epic journey from student to The Talent Institute’. That sh*t works! I got so many positive responses to it. Also I recommend everyone to do open job applications. Just sent out a short email to the boss or head of the department you want to work at, with a link to your resume. Don’t wait for a job opening where at least 100+ people apply for. And, even though quality goes before quantity, send out multiple job applications – I send around 60 in three days. Just make sure you do small adjustments per company.

Some extra’s to go sky high:

* For making a beautiful resume you can use great looking templates on Canva.com.

* Want to leave an unforgettable impression of yourself by using video but you do not have any experience with it? Use the VideoShop app.

* You don’t have the email of the person you want to reach out to? Use the Emailhunter tool and get in contact with anyone you wish.

You’ll see: the rocket effect will reveal itself.

Cathelijn teaches Growth Hacking, soft skills and does coaching at the Digital Content Creation and Growth Hacking course – where you can ask her even more questions on starting your career!