This example is near and dear to my heart – it’s how I landed a job with a marketing communications firm back in the 1990s, when I use to work for other people.
After mailing in my resume, I was called by a receptionist to schedule an interview. During our conversation, I asked if she could send me back issues of their corporate publications. I explained that I wanted to research the writing styles of the magazines and newsletters I would be editing if I got the job.
She immediately agreed, and had a nice package of materials couriered over to me the same day.
It turned out to be a gold mine.
I found three typos in one back issue of a magazine I would be proofreading in the position I was interviewing for. Here was proof I could do the job.
Two days later at the interview, the subject of proofreading skills came up. I pulled out the magazine (with post-it notes marking the typos) and said: “I’ve been researching your publications and found these three errors. I can improve your image by preventing this kind of thing from happening again.”
They hired me.
Action Step: do whatever you can to research your target company and “start working” for them before the first interview. It’s one thing to claim you can do the job. It’s quite another -- and much more powerful -- to prove it.