There's no feeling in the world quite like the feeling of discovering a life-changing job post. There you are, scrolling through job boards with your eyes glazing over, skimming post after post of not-quite right positions that may or may not be tolerable, attainable, or within commuting distance, when all once it happens. You read the first few lines and your heart starts to flutter. You start looking for a catch, certain that this opportunity is too perfect to be real.
You reach the end and start again from the top, and as you do, your hopes begin to rise into the sky. The moment may also happen during a conversation at an otherwise dull networking event. Or during a chance encounter in a waiting room or on an elevator. No matter where or how it happens, it's like the first few seconds of true love. What you do during the next few seconds may control your destiny. Here's how to respond.
1. Act Fast
Don't waste a minute, and don't start contemplating risks. Risks only matter if you're investing something you can't afford to give up, and you haven't invested anything yet. At this point, you have absolutely nothing to lose. So don't hem and haw. Embrace the moment—there will be time for hesitating, weighing options, and gathering data later on, but right now you need to act before this opportunity disappears. In the current job market, positions don't stay open for long.
2. Set a Timeline
While you're putting the wheels in motion, stay calm and envision every hour of the next few days. When will you have time to research the company for a few minutes? When will you have a moment to open your resume file and start tinkering and tailoring? If you have a dentist appointment and you can't give the application process your full attention right now, find a way to get back to your desk within the next business day—this may require some clever shuffling and rescheduling.
3. Gather Information
Before you begin writing your resume and cover letter from scratch (or tailoring your template), you'll need to get the lay of the land. Visit the company website and learn everything you can about this organization's culture, its business model, and its staffing needs. Use what you find to inform your application materials. After you've done that, carefully review your own history, your own accomplishments, and your personal contacts list for any information—including phone numbers—that might help you.
4. Start Tailoring
Begin tailoring your template resume and weave the fabric of this position and this company into the list of reasons why you should be hired for this role. Is this a fun, easygoing company? and are you a fun easygoing person who still knows how to work hard? If so, that's great—Make this match work for you.
5. Start Polishing
As you approach the finish line, don't rush. Keep a cool head and triple check every line of your document for tiny fixes and tiny errors that might help you gain or lose a critical edge against your competition. Don't let one excitement-induced typo or oversight crush your chances.
6. Submit Your Resume & Move On
When it's time to let go, let go. Submit your materials with confidence. And after a quick follow-up a few days later, move on. You may want this job—and only this one—very badly, but if you keep applying without missing a beat, you'll give yourself more options and more leverage. Visit MyPerfectResume for tools and guidelines that can launch your search and help you gain a critical marketplace edge.