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Go for the Kill

You know what you want and you know how to get it. Ever since you were knee-high to a grasshopper (or since you learned how to recognize your dream company when you see it), you knew you HAD to get a job at ABC Corporation. And nothing is going to stop you. In fact, you'll wait patiently until it's time to go in for the kill.

If you've taken the career development bull by the horns, then you know that one of the best ways to get the job of your dreams is to locate a very select group of companies that suit your tastes. A job is a job, but a job in a good company is another experience altogether.

In fact, I hope that at some point in every person's career, they realize that the key to success and happiness is finding a career or a job that makes them wake up early. Stay late. Makes them dread Friday at 5 p.m. instead of Sunday evening. Well, you don't have to love your job, but the difference between a dream job and just another job is like night and day.

Forget the rest, you'll settle only for the best. Here's how to go for the kill:

  • Research, research, research. The more you know about your target companies and industry, the better off you'll be.

  • Visit those target companies' Web sites and review them thoroughly. Look for press releases, new product announcements, and a list of personnel or upper management. Print this directory of contacts.

  • Do a power search and try to find those contacts or their names in newsgroups, discussion forums, or news reports.

  • Go to Web sites that profile companies and see whether your target companies are featured there. You can gather information on stocks and tradings and other valuable information about the company. Some sites, such as Vault.com, provide insider interviews with people at these companies, but the odds are you'll have to do this on your own.

  • Call or email one or two contacts at these companies. Ask for an information-gathering meeting. You can hint that you're looking for a job, but it's best to hold off on this. People will be more willing to spend time with you if they don't think there's an ulterior motive. Simply explain that you have followed their company (or them personally) and would like to ask questions on the industry or the company, its products, and the market. This is called an "informational interview." During this time, ask specifically whether there are any openings or anticipated positions opening up. Ask whether you can send your résumé. Most likely they will say yes, and they might even ask to see it right then, so be prepared.

  • Follow up with a thank-you note. Chapter 4, "Don't Wait! Prepare for Calls and Emails to Start Rolling In!" provides samples of follow-up notes.

  • Compose a killer, killer cover letter (which will be easy to do because you're packed to the gills with insider information on your target companies), and revise your résumé to reflect the individual needs of each target company. Email it to your inside contacts and follow up in a week or two with a phone call if you haven't heard back.

  • Keep checking the company Web site postings. Hopefully, by now you're oh-so-close to landing an official interview.

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