Anyone who has ever looked for a job will have experienced this. You are scrolling through the job ads when, seemingly out of nowhere, your dream job appears. You spend a few hours writing a cover letter and polishing up your CV, answer all the online HR questions, and then hit submit (with your fingers crossed).

If you are going through this process right now you have probably found it deflating because, chances are, you never heard from this company again except for the automatic “Thank you for your application” email.

That’s because everyone is applying for the job in the same way, inundating HR inboxes all over the world and hoping that they will be the needle in the haystack that gets picked out. If you want to be that needle you need to make yourself easier to find.

Here are five unconventional tips for getting the job you want:

1. Get out there and meet people from the company in person

Most companies organise open events for people that are interested in working there. Find out where they are and go! Be brave and go on your own because this will force you to speak with the other attendees and not get distracted from why you are there in the first place. The best place to find these events is on the company’s own website. They often also host talks or seminars which are also excellent places to network in a less formal setting.

2. Contact the company via social media

Social media’s influence keeps growing and all companies have accounts and almost every employee has a LinkedIn profile. People sometimes forget their child in stores but when was the last time you left the house (or went to the toilet!) without your phone? So, the best way to contact your dream manager is to tweet them or send them a message on LinkedIn. A little reminder: always remain professional; a private message can quickly become public. Do you remember that lady who literally screwed over someone who told her she was beautiful via a LinkedIn message? The story went viral and (I’m sure) caused that guy a tremendous amount of embarrassment (read more about it here).

3. Keep it simple

There is nothing worse than coming across pompous, no one is impressed by it. It is much better to be clear and relatable whenever you are interacting with a potential employer (most likely in your CV and cover letter but also applies to any other messages you send them). Use simple vocabulary and strong examples of your experience rather than trying to write a literary masterpiece. There are some excellent online resources to help you write in plain English – here is an excellent one from the Plain English Campaign.

4. If at first you don’t succeed…

Being persistent does work, trust me. You are bound to succeed if you keep pushing. Keep a record of when you apply for a job or contact a company and consistently keep in touch. I have a story about this in one of my latest videos that includes tips on how to be consistent in your job search. Check it out on my YouTube page here.

5. Use your network

Most of the time, the answer to your problem is right in front of your nose. All your friends and former colleagues are working at companies that could have a position for you. Ask them if they know of any vacancies. This is such a huge advantage and studies have shown that employee referrals are the top source for hires. People are usually happy to help if you are reliable and honest because it is their reputation on the line.

If you want that job, then you need to act differently from the herd. I’d love to know any stories of how you got on so please leave a comment below.