The playbook: from job posting to job offer

Street savviness and a little decorum

You found a job you like and want to apply. Now what? Here is the playbook to take you from the application to the job offer. The origin of this post came from our activities as recruiters at Oystir. When we found a great candidate for a company, we passed on strategies for maximizing the likelihood that they would get the job, because if they did, we got paid.

We thought everyone could benefit from that information.

Your homework

  1. Getting intros. Go to LinkedIn and search for the company you are applying to. Find any person you are a 1st degree connection with. Contact them to let them know you are applying for this position. Ask if they know the hiring manager or anyone in that department they might introduce you to. If you only have 2nd degree connections, find the one that you could most easily be connected to (e.g. your best friend is connected to them). Ask your friend to connect you.
  2. Leveraging the recruiter. If you are working with an external recruiter, ask them to connect you with someone at the company. Pump them for information about the company, the position you are applying to and the people you would work with. Maybe they know a lot, maybe they don’t — you lose nothing by asking.

Your resume

  1. Learn from experts. Read these articles on writing a resume:
    a. How to write a resume
    b. Writing an executive summary
  2. Put effort. Set aside 2 hours to restructure your CV or update your resume based on the advice above.
  3. Get feedback. Have a writing-savvy friend fluent in the language of your resume read it with a fine-toothed comb and give brutal feedback (1).
  4. Rinse and repeat. Repeat steps 2&3 until you have something you are proud of. This whole process should not take more than 3 days. Don’t obsess — drive to be done in 3 days.

Your application

  1. Submit it. Don’t sit around and wait, block off an hour or two and get it out. Sooner is better — for your odds and for your sanity.
  2. Proofread it. If you are applying for a job in a language that is not your primary one, please please please have someone who is fluent read everything you write and correct grammar issues. Nothing says, “Please ignore this application” like writing “please me would like much working you with.” A second language is an asset; don’t make it a liability.
  3. Reconnect. If you spoke with anyone at the company (see ‘Your Homework’ section), write them a short email telling them you applied and, if available, to whom you submitted it to.
  4. Enable your recruiter. If a recruiter submitted you, ask them what contact you should engage with at that company. If someone from the company reaches out to you, let your recruiter know. They want you to get the job — it’s how they will get paid — so work with them, not around them. It only benefits you.

Your interview (prep)

  1. Practice. Don’t Allen Iverson this. Practice interview responses for each of the questions below:
    A) What do you think you’ll be doing in this job?
    B) What in your previous experiences prepares you for this job?
    C) What do you think will be the most challenging parts of the job?
    D) Why are you leaving your old job?
    E) Why do you want this job?
    F) Where do you see yourself in five years?
    G) Why do you want to work at this company instead of competitors?
    H) Why should we hire you?
    I) Tell me of a time you lead a group and ran into trouble? How did you handle it?
    J) Tell me of a time you had a disagreement with your boss. How did you handle it and what came of it?
  2. Do your research. If you know who will interview you, google them and look them up on LinkedIn. Do you know someone in common? Did they go to your alma mater? Were they in your sorority? Do they also like boating? Did they write an article you liked? Find information about them and use it to build connections quickly.
  3. Dress to fit in. Dress like a nice version of what everyone else does. You’re trying to convince them you fit in culturally while also respecting the context of the interview. If everyone at the company wears t-shirts to work, wear a really nice one and some clean sneakers. If they wear slacks and a button down, wear a jacket, no tie. If everyone wears a suit, jacket and tie, match them — don’t wear a tuxedo and look like an idiot.

Your interview

  1. Smile. Not like a psychopath, but almost as much. People like people who smile. You’ll also feel more relaxed (2).
  2. Remember names. Know every person who interviewed you. Their first name, last name, and position. More on this below.

The follow-up

  1. Say thanks. Email all of the individuals who interviewed you when you return home. If you don’t have their emails, find them on LinkedIn — you can find their email there — or connect and say thanks in that message.
  2. Feel at rest. Applying and interviewing are both skills and, as such, require time and practice to get better. Give yourself that time and those experiences. You can only control what you can control. Weird shit happens. Life is still good.

Happy ass kicking.


(1) We, at Oystir, get asked hundreds of times a week to help do resume reviews. We used to be able to do all of them, but just can’t keep up any more — or we wouldn’t be able to run our company. Still, to make it so we can still offer this for free and ensure that everyone gets an equal and fair chance, we now will help make your resume stellar to anyone who gets five referrals to Oystir — meaning, they get 5 friends to join our free site.
(2) The hidden power of smiling