People come to me for help when they can’t get any traction with an Amazon recruiter. They’ve applied for 20, 30 or even 100 open positions with the ecommerce and web services giant, but they consistently never hear anything back.
I coach them to take a targeted, methodical and multi-channel approach. The result has been a 500 percent increase in response rates. How is this possible? Let me walk you through the methodology.
Step 1: Establish the right mindset
Amazon hires for experience. They are looking for people who can hit the ground running on day one. Your first goal is to cultivate a mindset that demonstrates you can contribute to Amazon and add value to their business now.
Unfortunately, many applicants begin the application process with a mindset of, “What’s in it for me?” or “How much money can I make there?” These are important considerations, but Amazon recruiters care less about your personal gains and more about how you can help them. They are stressed out. They’re under a lot of pressure to deliver. They have deadlines to hit. They need help. That’s why they’re hiring.
Focus on how you can add value immediately. This will change how you approach the rest of the Amazon job search process.
Step 2: Target the right positions
Amazon hires for relevance and experience. This means you should target positions for which you are significantly qualified for. You have done similar jobs before and done them well; you bring expertise and skills to the hiring team. The closer your experience and expertise are to the job description, the easier it is to get a recruiter’s attention.
This might sound like a common-sense recommendation, but I’ve seen plenty of applicants focus on “hot” areas (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Alexa, Amazon.com category management, etc.) when they have little or no relevant experience. Unlike Google, which doesn’t put as much emphasis on experience, this won’t work with Amazon recruiters. Don’t waste your time pursuing a long shot.
Get in the door first. Amazon has a work culture that encourages internal transfer, and you can always move around once you get in. Focus on getting hired, period.
Step 3: Optimize your resume and social profiles
Read the job descriptions carefully. Then, identify keywords that are important to the job and make sure to include these on your resume. Of course, you want to check for grammatical and spelling errors. Ask someone to proof your resume for you — they will often catch typos and other things you miss.
LinkedIn is the most relevant social channel for job seekers, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated and consistent with your resume. Some important tips for LinkedIn include:
- Update your “Job seeking preferences” setting. This is a free but important feature. Go to Settings/Privacy > Privacy > Job seeking preferences and change “Let recruiters know you’re open to opportunities” to “Yes.”
- Have at least three endorsements on LinkedIn. Carefully select your endorsers, and ask them to endorse different aspects of your strengths and expertise.
Nowadays, recruiters look at your profiles across numerous platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I highly recommend you clean up your social media presence. Don’t post inappropriate content, and if you have in the past, go back and remove it. A professional presence on social media is vital to present and future employers.
What should you post to your social profiles? Share professional content that adds value to the people in your industry. Start a blog on Medium and share your experience. Follow industry thought leaders, including Amazon employees. Like and share their posts. Comment on them if you have insight to share. Remember, always think about adding value to Amazon.
Step 4: Get a referral from a current Amazon employee
You might not know any Amazon employees, but chances are good that you’re only two or three degrees removed from one. Find them by searching for potential contacts on LinkedIn. You can:
- Look for Amazon employees who attended the same schools as you around the same time
- Search for employees who come from the same city or state
- Look for those who belong to the same church/nonprofit organization
- Interact with Amazon employees who have a popular blog or social media profiles (make insightful comments on their posts)
Don’t ask for a referral right away. Start with how you can add value to the conversation. Take them out for coffee at their convenience. The referral will come naturally if you show you’re genuine, capable, curious, intelligent, and ambitious. Amazon employees want to help their company to grow. They want to bring in talented people.
Step 5: Be prepared
You did it — you got an email from an Amazon recruiter. Now your job is the nail the interview. The interview process looks like this:
- Initial phone call with a recruiter
- One to three phone interviews with the hiring manager and other people on the team (for technical positions, at least one of these will be a technical screen)
- Onsite interview with four to six people
Amazon wants to fill job openings as soon as possible, so don’t ask to delay the next round of interviews so you can take more time to prepare. This is a bad idea. There are a lot of qualified candidates out there. There is no time for you to get ready. You need to be ready now. Use my best-selling Kindle book How to Get a Job at Amazon as a guide. Practice, practice and practice now. Chance favors the prepared mind.