When it comes to breaking rules during a job search, career coach Angela Copeland has long practiced what she preaches.
She encourages jobseekers to think beyond the normal barriers or unspoken rules by explaining how she, while a student at Pepperdine University, posed as a UCLA grad students just so she could get a chance to interview at The Gap headquarters in San Francisco.
“It’s always been my philosophy that you have to think outside the box. You can’t be so worried about following the rules because then no one is going to know who you are,” says Copeland, a Memphis coach and author of “Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job.”
The best jobs, she says, don’t go to the person with the best GPA or the degree from the best college. They go to those who try harder, who are creative and who break the rules in their job search. By challenging yourself to think differently and to take risks, you will be ahead of your peers, she adds.
Copeland offers her top five rules to break while looking for a job.
1. Don’t listen to HR about how to apply
The standard line is to apply for a job online. And though it’s important to follow that process to allow for tracking of your application, Copeland suggests finding other ways to apply, whether it is in person, via a headhunter or through a friend inside the company. Applying in person often is the most effective method.
2. Don’t worry if
you don’t meet all
If you think you have the skills and knowledge to do a job, you should apply anyway. The hiring manager will be interviewing candidates who don’t have all the qualifications, which often is a wish list for the company. At the end of the day, they need help. There will be parts of the job description that are optional or that they’re willing to teach you.
3. Don’t worry about bothering people
Put yourself out there and network with people in your industry. Attend events and reach out to people by email or phone. Out of 10 contacts, you may only have three who respond. But one of those could lead you to your new job.
4. Don’t be afraid
of social media
When applying for jobs, know that potential employers will Google you and look through your social media profiles. Keep them professional and updated. But also use social media to meet new people. Many senior executives manage their own accounts online, and it’s good to engage with them when possible.
5. Don’t expect
others to train you
If you want to learn a new skills set, figure out how to train yourself. Stay current in your industry by taking the initiative. You can’t expect to always get on-the-job training.