Do not let this thought cross their mind

by Jobbatical November 18, 2015
Photo: GaudiLab/Shutterstock

A major job application dealbreaker.

When a potential employer reads your application — for a jobbatical or for any job — there are many things you hope they’ll be thinking. “She seems smart!” “He’s got some great experience!” “That’s our kind of person!”

But there’s one thought – a question – that can wipe out all the points you’ve built up with your carefully worded descriptions of skills and assets.

That question is:

If this question crosses your potential employer’s mind, your chances of landing the job are very, very low. (Keep on reading for how to expertly avoid this.)

It practically breaks our hearts when we see Jobbatical applications where the candidate is amazingly qualified, but makes no mention of any specifics of what the company is all about!

You may get digital marketing, but do you get inspired by musical innovation?

You may know how to growth-hack, but are you itching to use those skills on a new model of startup investing?

You may have relevant sales experience, but are you excited about a fitness revolution?

You may want to travel, but do you also want to make moving less stressful for everyone?

Maybe yes, maybe no. The employer reading your application has no way of knowing unless you say so! And why would they hire someone who doesn’t know or care about their vision, their dream, the source of their daily challenges and celebrations?

We think you get where we’re coming from. And you’ve probably already realized that this element is especially important when applying for a jobbatical, because in a jobbatical application you are competing with people from all over the world, and you need to convince your potential employer that you are worth hiring from the other side of the globe (or wherever you may be)!

So, we’ve made a list of three tactics to help you effortlessly leap over the competition. Take a look, and let us know what you think in the comments!

Tactics: Good, Better, Best. [and Triple-Crown]

Explain why you connect with their vision.

This is the bare minimum that you should do for any application. Rephrase their vision (this doesn’t mean copy and paste from their website!), and tell them why you want to join them in making it a reality. This shows them that not only have you researched what they do, you’re also on the same page as them.

Connect your past experience with their big-picture goals.

If you’re a web designer, of course they want to know that your design experience matches their opening, but their ultimate goal as a startup or company is not just to have an attractive website. Rather, their website is a powerful tool for engaging users or customers with what they have to offer.

If their big-picture goal is to change the way people think about XYZ (whether that’s local travel experiences, virtual reality therapy, or “snackable content”), think about how you can tie in your past experience with that concept. Even if it’s not job-related, letting your potential employer know that you too are a passionate traveler, VR-enthusiast, or content-devourer is a crucial detail.

Introduce them to something relevant and new.

When someone on a small startup team takes time out of their day to read your application, you do not want them to feel that this time is wasted. So why not share something useful that hopefully deepens their growing connection with you, and might actually help them out?

This might be a fascinating article, a surprising stat, or anything related to their field. If you see they recently published part one of a blog series on unusual summer festivals in Europe (we’d read that!), send them a suggestion of one to include in part two. If they’re beta testing a new version of a tool, check it out and give them some (brief) insightful comments. If you see that they’re expanding into a new region that you’re knowledgable about, describe a strategic partnership they could form there or a conference they might want to attend.

They might not end up using your suggestion, but it shows that you’re already thinking along with their vision, and are ready and excited to contribute.

Do all three.

Tell them why their vision excites you, tie in your past experience, and engage them with something new. The key here is making it powerful and concise — don’t make them read for 15 minutes, because they probably won’t. Just get in there, establish yourself as a kindred spirit, and leave them thinking “This person really gets us!!”

Of course, pure enthusiasm alone won’t land you a job — you need the skills to back it up — but we trust you’ve already carefully read the job description, so adding the element of passion to your application is the cherry on top. It’s establishing you not only as a good candidate, but someone they would be crazy to overlook.

So there you have it: don’t let those employers even begin to question that you know and care about what they do, wow them with any or all of our three tactics, and land the international career lark of your dreams! Or if you’re still looking for the perfect fit, we’ve got a whole spread of options for you. Take a look.

Previously in this series:
4 phrases NOT to use on your application (& what to replace them with).

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