Military Veterans and people with Disabilities can have job search advantages

If you have served in the Military or if you are an Individual With a Disability (IWD) you may have an advantage, that others do not have, in your job search.  But you must know where to look.

Affirmative Action Plans

Generally speaking, Government Contractors with 50 or more employees and over $10,000 in contracts (amounts vary based on minority group) are required to have, implement and audit annually some type of Affirmative Action Plan.  The Affirmative Action Plan may have goals for one or more of the following groups:

  • Military Veterans
  • Individuals With Disabilities
  • Women
  • Racial Groups

Many people think that an Affirmative Action Plan only concerns hiring but it’s effects are long lasting for an employee of a Government Contractor.  They must monitor:

  • Hiring
  • Promotions
  • Transfers
  • Terminations
  • Compensation

I am not going to discuss whether or not companies should have AAPs.  The fact of the matter is that if you want to do business with the Federal Government, you will likely need one.  As I tell the kids in baseball “If the Ump calls it a strike, it is a strike.”

Most AAPs measure their effectiveness against the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Analysis.)  In other words, they are measured against the surrounding population of qualified individuals.  Not so with two groups: Military Veterans and Individuals With Disabilities.  Want to see what an AAP looks like?  Here is an example.

Individuals With Disabilities or IWDs

Did you know that most Government Contractors have a goal of hiring IWDs?  Yep, they have a goal that 7% of each Job Group be IWDs.  That may not sound like a lot it, but it means that Government Contractors are taking actions to seek out and hire IWDs.  In your job search you need to spend more of your time where you are more likely to be hired.  The fact is that if you are an IWD you are more likely to be hired by a Government Contractor.  There is even an Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).  If you are an Individual With a Disability you should take advantage of these resources.

Military Veterans

Just Googling “hiring Military Veterans” pulls over 18 million webpages.  The AAP goal for hiring Military Veterans is pegged to the National percentage of veterans in the workforce, currently 8%.  Just like IWDs, Military Veterans have a lot of resources available.

Looking for a job can feel like a battle sometime, you against “The Man.”  I have heard people say “I want to do it on my own, I don’t want help.”  Excuse me, but that is STUPID!  What if a fire was headed towards your house?  You stand there watching creep closer and closer.  It is getting hotter and hotter.  Just then a firetruck pulls up.  You tell them to beat it, you got this.  Next you find fire extinguishers, you decide that would be “cheating.”  Finally you remember you have a shovel that you could use to dig a fire line with and save your house.  Just then you remember that would not be fair because your neighbor does not have a shovel.  So you just throw dirt on the fire.  Nice job knucklehead.  That is what many people do in their job search.  They do not use all of the resources they have available to them.

If you are not aware of all the resources you have that is one thing, but if you know about them and don’t use them then there is no whining.

If you’re offended easily, you’re a bad resource allocator. It’s a waste of energy and attention, which is a greater sin than wasting time.
FB post via Tim Ferriss

Who is in control of your job search?

Do you have an external or internal locus of control?  No, I am not talking about some spirituality, mantra chanting, nonsense (my word for incense) burning, yoga bending ritual… I am asking…

Who Controls You?

Not that long ago one of my 9-year olds (we have three of them), once again, taught me an important lesson.  I asked (told) him to do something.  To which he said “You’re not the boss of me.”  He did not say this in anger or as an affront to my position as parent, but rather a statement of fact.  I said “Oh, really?”  He said “Yes sir, I am responsible for me.”  This is not all that unusual in my house.  We have many conversations that others find unusual for parents and 9-year olds to have.  The other day on the way to school we discussed the differences between punishment and consequences for 20 minutes.  But I digress…

Back to you… are you in control of your job search or are you a ship without a rudder being tossed about the sea?  You can either LET things happen TO you or you can MAKE things happen FOR you.  The red pill or the blue pill?  The choice is yours.

How to have an Internal Locus of Control

Freakonomics Radio recently released a podcast on How to Be More Productive.   In it Charles Duhigg, the Author of Smarter Faster Better:  The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business talks about how important it is that you have an internal locus of control.  Duhigg also explains how to use that to influence others and yourself.

Do you believe that you have gotten to where you are through YOUR hard work and determination or has it been by chance?  You must make yourself realize that you control your choices, which control outcomes.  Yes, unplanned things happen… cancer, death, heart break, job loss, etc…  But you and you alone control how you react to those things.  To say that I do not believe in predestination is an understatement.  I believe in free will and you need to exercise yours.

I Do What I Want

You need to realize that you do what you want.  As Denzel Washington said in The Book of Eli “there is always a choice.”  You do not HAVE to go to work.  You do not HAVE to take your kids to soccer.  The list goes on…  You GET to!  Saying to yourself and others that you GET to do things changes the locus of control.  I have a good friend who always says the same thing when he gets a weekend to himself.  I ask “what are you going to do this weekend?”  To which he replies “whatever the hell I want to” with a smile on his face.

So, what do you GET to do today?  Both in your life and in your job search?  Are you going to reach out those people who work at the company where you want to work or are you going to wait for the universe to come to you?

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.
Albert Ellis

Why you should apply online

I just read a article by J.T. O’Donnell from February titled The (Depressing) Truth About Applying To Jobs Online.”  J.T.’s post give a lot of great tips but there seems to be quite a bit of absolutism in advice these days.

Do this, Don’t do that

The truth is that most job search has merit but to shut-off any one area of your job search is to turn your back on those openings.  Let me stop and admit that I have skin in the game.  Not only do I hire people from the job postings but that is also how I came to work at Mspark.  It may be true that1% or less of online applicants end up getting the job but to that 1%, that is a big deal.

Let’s look at the dating analogy… How many times do online dating sites fail vs. succeed?  They fail a lot!  So should you stop using them?  Or how about first dates all together?  Most first dates fail if your goal is to find a life-long mate.  So, maybe you should stop going on first dates?  Sound ludicrous?  So does telling someone not to fill out an online application.

For some, online applications are a must

Did you know that if an employer is a government contractor you MUST be considered an “applicant” before that employer can consider you for a position?  That means to be considered for a position at most government contractors you must fill out an online application.  Don’t think this rule is a big deal?  Just ask someone in HR who has gone through an OFCCP audit… it’s a big deal with HUGE costs to the company if they don’t follow the rules.  Don’t think you want to work at a government contractor?  Think again, the government contractor list is HUGE and yes, Google is a government contractor.

One strategy is not enough

If you only use one channel in your job search you are severely limiting your options.  Let’s say you follow the advise of looking at companies you that sell products or services you respect and admire.  Granted, J.T.’s article does not say “only” look at those companies but I worry that many people would read it that way and could be ignoring a great number of employers.

Put together a marketing plan

By now you are asking, “What channels should I be using in my job search?”  Great question!  Here are some suggestions but the % you spend on each one is up to you and your job search criteria:

  • Online Job Boards – The numbers that show your odds of getting a job just by applying online are similar to the lottery are skewed by TONS of non-qualified applicants who clog up ATSs daily.  Keep in mind that some jobs are only posted for 24 – 72 hours.
  • Company websites – Some companies only post on their website.
  • LinkedIn – Job postings and networking all in one.
  • Twitter – Great networking tool and good for company research.
  • Social Media – FaceBook, Instagram, etc…  Recruiters are moving to social media.
  • Networking – It is often times true… who you know is more important than what you know.
  • Direct contact with employers – Reach out to the employer directly.  Many times if you call the main-line for a company and ask for HR you can talk to someone.
  • Employee referrals – If you know someone that works at the company where you want to work, be sure to let them know.  Ask if you can put them down as the referral source when you apply for a position.  Many companies pay $500 – $1000 to their employees for referring someone who is hired
  • Career Fairs – Similar to job boards the percentages may tell you the odds are slim but you rarely get the chance to talk one on one with someone from the company.
  • Agencies – While agencies do have competing loyalties, they still provide a useful service to employers and candidates.
  • Associations – Look for industry or profession specific associations.  They may have job boards.  They are also a great way to network and get information.
  • Alumni groups – Is there a local alumni chapter from your University?  Be sure to reach back out to your school.  They may have resources you can use.  Even some major employers have alumni groups.
  • Externships – Try job shadowing.  This is usually easier for students or recent grads.
  • Volunteer – If you are not currently working then volunteering is a great way to network.
  • Market yourself – Go on the offensive.  Some people have posted ads for themselves on FB and other online places.  Start tweeting or blogging about your industry or profession.  There have even been stories about people handing out resumes at subway stops.  Get creative and get out there!

In short, don’t restrict your job search.  Think of it this way… you are the product.  You need to identify your top customers and marketing channels.  Then spend your resources (time) effectively.

Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.
Coco Chanel

Don’t Believe Everything You Think

I heard this from Tim Ferriss’ podcast episode on The Man Who Studied 1,000 Deaths to Learn How to Live with BJ Miller.  This is so true in life and your job search…

You are your own worst enemy

We see it everywhere in quotes.  The power of belief or disbelief is staggering.  I even see it in 9-year old baseball.  If a kid walks up to the plate WANTING to hit the ball and BELIEVING they’ll hit it they are much more likely to get a hit.  The reverse is also true.  If they don’t want to be there and don’t think they will hit it they usually won’t.

In Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers he says the same thing is true.  The people who are successful, in large part, are successful because they believe they will be successful.  You can take the same thing to your job search.  You need to visualize what it will be like when you get a referral, the recruiter calls, you go on the interview, etc…  Call it karma, positive thinking or the power of God within each of us, it works.  But, just as with God’s timing, it is often times not on our time schedule.

Sekou Andrews puts it into perspective in Tim Ferriss’s podcast where he gives everyone in the audience a huge takeaway.  Sekou has everyone repeat after him… “at least I’m not trying to build a successful life from poetry.”  He goes on to say “I got no sympathy for y’all”  “I built my business off a dead art form you hated in high school.”

Today, take the time to write down all the things that are holding you back.  Say them out loud to someone else and get them out in the light where you can see them for what they are… they are agreements that you have made with the enemy that you are not enough.  Here is a tip… you are MORE than enough.

Take me off your Rolodex and put me in your calendar
Sekou Andrews

You need to have a sense of entitlement to do well in your job search

I am reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  In the book he looks at what makes great people (outliers) great.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  One of the things that he talks about that makes a dramatic difference in people’s lives is whether or not they have a sense of entitlement.

 the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something

This is NOT the definition that most of us use.  Most of us use it when people get special privileges or when we describe financial help from the government.  Gladwell says that people without entitlement will not stand up for themselves, people with it will.

This is VERY important in the interview process.  I fear that companies often times hire good interviewers, but not necessarily good candidates.  This is an important distinction for every applicant to understand.  Think of it in the dating analogy…  How many times have you been on a date that went great but you later found out the person is a horrible match for you.  Or sometimes the reverse happens, you think the person is a self-absorbed half-wit but you later find out that they just have a wicked sense of humor.  The interview process is no different.  Unfortunately most people do not believe that to be true.

Many people believe that you can interview people in such a way that it determines who will be successful and who will not.  Don’t get me wrong, interviews do help in increasing the odds that there will be a good match.  Interviews can assist in determining who CAN be a good match but not necessarily who WILL be a good match.

Let’s look at how this affects you, the candidate.

Entitled people ask questions

Many times the person that does well in the interview is the person who asks questions.  If the company asks you a scenario or hypothetical question you NEED to ask questions.

  • Interviewer: What would you do if a customer refuses to pay?
  • Candidate: Before I answer I would like to know some of our (assume you already work there) policies and procedures around non-payment.
  • Candidate: What is the normal process for billing and where in that process did the customer refuse to pay?
  • Candidate: Have we already delivered the product / service?
  • etc…

If you do not have a sense of entitlement you will not ask those questions.  It really helps if are the type of person who does not have a problem asking questions.  Keep in mind, you need to ask enough but not too many.

Entitled people believe what they say

One thing that will sink an interview very quickly is a being flip-flopper.  No, I don’t want someone so committed to a belief that they will pursue even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  I mean the people that change their answer because they think you have a different opinion.  In a HRGrapevine article  Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, it seems he wants people WITH different points of view.  The article talks about how Kalanick talked to a candidate (they call it a “30 hour interview”) off and on for weeks about a variety of topics.  My thought is that if the candidate had changed his answer when pressed, it would have been a MUCH shorter process with a very different outcome.

You need to be OK with having a different opinion and be able to back it up.  You need to defend your viewpoint and argue without being argumentative.  Many people cross the line and let their emotions rule them when confronted.  But entitled people don’t get emotional.

Entitled people are persistent

How many times have you been told “apply online” only to wait and wait and wait with no response?  If you are entitled you won’t just sit there, you reach out to people.  I see it all the time… the entitled candidate follows up with me.  They stop by my office.  They reach out to me via social media.  In short, they have the winning attitude of “if this company does not hire me, it is their loss but I want to show them how great I am.”  Again, this is confidence without arrogance.  It is persistence without nagging.  It is a fine line that is walked and it is not a straight line.  This takes what Gladwell calls “Practical Intelligence.”  What is Practical Intelligence?  Gladwell defines it as ““knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.”

We all need to be a little bit better at being an advocate for ourselves, that is what Malcom is saying.  If you don’t believe in yourself, why should others?

Believing in yourself if the first secret to success.
Disti Amalia Pusparanti

2 attributes you must have in your job search

First, I fully admit that I have a lot of skin in this game.  I am not only a corporate recruiter, I am also an employee and soon to be co-worker.  I want us to hire people I want to work with.  Who do I want to work with?  The people I like working with the most have two main attributes…

Self Awareness

This may seem trivial but if it does, you probably don’t have much of it.  I was speaking with a co-worker about this the other day and it seems that very few people can get out of their own skin.  They see everything through a myopic point of view.  They are just in their here and now.  There is no thought given to how others will see things or how their actions will affect the future.

I confess, I sometimes have this same issue but I work to seek others’ input and get their points of view.  Yes, sometimes it hurts.  Sometimes I feel like yelling “But you just don’t understand!  You are being selfish!”  Newsflash… we are all selfish.  This started in a garden long, long ago and it is still true today.

We all need to take time to reflect.  Try to see your own perspective from outside.  What if someone else said what you just said?  What if you received an email like that?  As my Mom says “If the problem is not with me, I can’t fix it.”


Guess what?  Crap happens and it happens often.  Let’s look at my own life… One of your kid’s goes deaf in one ear, your family takes a 60% pay-cut, you get Cancer… life happens.  You CAN build resiliency.  It is like a muscle that needs to be exercised.  Don’t believe me?  Just Google it!  There is TONS of advice available from organizations like the American Psychological Association and the Mayo Clinic.

Just like in exercise and sports we all have God-given abilities to start with and some have been given more than others.  For some of us resiliency comes more easily while others must constantly work at it.  Resiliency is not ignoring the feelings and thoughts that created by adversity.  It is feeling them, acknowledging them and then making the conscious decision to set them aside.  The Black Knight is not resilient, he is ignorant.

From there are a few main keys to building resilience….

  1. Get enough sleep and exercise, and learn to manage stress.
  2. Practice thought awareness.
  3. Practice Cognitive Restructuring to change the way that you think about negative situations and bad events.
  4. Learn from your mistakes and failures.
  5. Choose your response.

Want to know the SECRET to interviewing?  Demonstrate these two things in your resume and your interviews.  Sure, there are a lot of other things you need to have and demonstrate to be the best match for a company.  But in my mind, these two are non-starters.

I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.
George S Patton Jr.


There is no ONE right way to interview

Sorry to burst your bubble but everyone looks for something different.  I know this makes the job search infuriating but do you want the truth or do you want a nice story full of lies.  The truth is that there is no one short, easy way to get every job.

What do companies look for in a candidate?

Interviewing and the job search is a lot like dating and courtship.  Companies, and hopefully the candidates, are looking for a long term match.  Keep in mind this does not count for contract positions or gigs but there are still a lot of old fashioned companies looking for people to stay with them.

Do you think that there is just one right way to act with every person on a date? Sure, you know there is one right way to act on a date with you… but what about everyone else?  It works the same way with companies.  Each company and each hiring manager I have worked for, to some degree, have their own definition of “the right way.”

It really helps if you can read people and mirror them.  If someone is joking around a little then maybe you should too.  But not too much.  If someone is more terse and to the point then they may not appreciate your sarcasm as much as your current boss.  You can figure this out, you just need to pay attention.

Boy, you’re just full of good news for my job search!

Right about now you may be thinking “How in the hell do I get a job if everyone is looking for something different?”  First, you need to READ the job description.  I don’t just mean to read over it but be sure you understand what they want in a candidate.  If they look for years of experience you need to figure out what skills they want from those years of experience.  Personally I think strictly defining years of experience that are required is stupid.

Sure, there are some basics that companies look for but I will save that for the next posts…  But in general you need to address what they say they are looking for.  This goes first for your resume.  Remember, the resume gets you the interview.  The interviews get you the job.

Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen.
Henry Cloud

Want to improve your job search? Listen to a Monk.

Joe Desena on the Spartan Up Podcast @SpartanUpPod interviewed a Monk, Dandapani @DandapaniLLC.  He had some great tips on how to achieve your goals.

Happiness is not a goal

Dandapani talks about how you must know where you going or you won’t get there.  He says that happiness is a byproduct of achieving your goals.  I agree that happiness is not a goal that one can achieve by external means.  If you try it will only lead to frustration.  Don’t believe me?  Check out Shawn Achor’s TED Talk.  You will always push happiness over the cognitive horizon.

Do an energy audit

You need to learn how to manage your energy.  The first step is to figure out where, or more likely who, is sucking the energy out of you.  Dandapani goes on to say that the people in our life consume a huge amount of our energy.  People also give us energy.  The trick is to figure out who takes without giving.  Those are the people you want to separate from.

I don’t know if you have figured this out or not but a job search requires a HUGE amount of energy.  You need to identify what Dandapani calls energy vampires.  These are often times not only people but what about your favorite TV show?  Or how about music, books, blogs or heaven forbid… social media!  You need to be intentional where you spend your energy.

Preparation is key

Dandapani talks about how his Guru said that preparation is the key.  Of course his Guru was talking about meditation but this is also true in your job search.  If you do not prepare before applying for a position then you will not have a targeted resume.  If you do not prepare for the company to call you, they can catch you off guard and it might not go well.  If you do not prepare for the interview, you won’t have good answers or questions.  You MUST prepare.  If you prepare then the WORK of the job search is EASY.  As Joe Desena says, “if you are not prepared then you are just reacting.”


If you want to do something well, you need to focus.  Multitasking is a farce.  Multitasking just means you are doing several things poorly at the same time.  This goes back to where you are spending your energy.  When you are in your job search, focus on that.  That will free you up to have time OFF from your job search, which is very important.

This is especially true when it comes to interpersonal skills.  When you are talking with someone you need to FOCUS on them.  Turn off your endorphin device (aka your phone) when networking or interviewing.  How many times has someone introduced themselves and immediately after you do not remember their name?  It is like they said in Karate Kid… “Your focus needs more focus.”


Dandapani has affirmations and mantras that he uses ever day to shape his subconscious.  You need to use positive action phrases.  The words “want” or “like” do not belong here.  Think of Yoda or the Karate Kid.  There is no “try” or “want”.  Use words like “will.”  “I WILL find an HR position that I will love.”

If you want to be successful you need to surround yourself with like-minded people.  First, don’t forget to define success!  You must feel what it will be like when you achieve your goal.  Use the energy of your emotions.  Ever had an awesome interview?  Remember what that feels like?  THAT is what you want to harness.

Be sure you know what the end will look like.  In your job search it could the offer you receive, the first day at work, the first paycheck, etc… That can be and SHOULD be motivating stuff!  AWESOME!

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.
Hanh Nhat Thich, Being Peace 

Job search advice from Shaun White

OK, first I need to make a confession,  @shaunwhite did NOT actually give any job search advice on the @tferriss podcast but he DID talk about what has made him successful and guess what?  It CAN work for you too!

Visualize it

Just like how Shaun visualizes every part of his jump, trick, take-off and landing you need to visualize the different parts of your job search.  What will it be like when the company calls you (phone interview) to talk about the job?  How will it feel when you go to their office for the interview?

Think about:

  • How will it feel
  • What will you say
  • What will they say
  • How will you carry yourself
  • What will you bring

Pick a Battle

You need to have someone to beat.  Shaun talked about a sweet kid who rode for Birdhouse Skateboards who he wanted to destroy.  And this was before Shaun was ten years old!  Anyone want to guess who got that spot on the Birdhouse team?

I don’t know about you but when I have someone to beat I always drive harder.  Would the 1980 US Hockey Team have been as great without the Russians?  Nope.  Would Agassi or Sampras have been as good without each other to battle? Doubt it!  There is a reason that rivalries bring out the best in us.  We are made with the desire for a battle to fight.

It does not matter whether or not the other party knows about this battle but you need to pick a battle.  Who are you going to measure yourself against?  Now go get’m.

Do the Uncomfortable Until it is Comfortable

Shaun confessed that he did not like and was not good at snowboarding switch.  He always wanted to ride with his left foot down hill.  So Shaun committed himself to this challenge.  He rode the opposite way till he was comfortable doing it.

What are the things you need to do or could do in your job search that you find uncomfortable?  Networking? Calling to follow up?  Stop fretting about it and just do it already!

Failures are Opportunities

Shaun looks at his failures as opportunities.  He talks about how many times his new tricks would come from trying a trick and it failing.  You need to become a recycler and re-purposer when things go wrong.

When you don’t get an interview or don’t get the offer, what can you learn from it.  True, maybe it is that the company does not see all the potential that you see but maybe, just maybe you could have done something different.

You Need Someone to be Honest With You

Shaun says that EVERYONE needs at least one person in their life to be honest with them.  For Shaun it is his brother.  That person can push you when you need to be pushed and be there with you when you need support.  But YOU must give them permission to and allow them to be honest with you.

To me, what matters most is where their heart is.  Someone can be honest and even rebuke from a place of love (think Jesus) or from positioning themselves an an authority (think Trump.)

If you are like most people in the world then you lack a degree of self-awareness.  Some lack more than others but we all have a blind spot when it comes to self-awareness.  Because of that we need that person to be honest with us.  It can be everything from “this needs to be the last time you wear that” to “how many potential employers did you talk to this week?”  Being held to account is not always a bad thing.

You take a crash, you get back up and next time you succeed and that’s a great feeling.
Shaun White



There is more than one way to stand out in your job search

Many times around the office talk turns to what one candidate or another has done to stand out of the crowd.  Sometimes good, sometimes not.  Both are memorable but only one gets a call back.

It depends

The way you SHOULD stand out really depends on a lot of factors:

  • Industry
  • Company culture
  • Profession
  • Position
  • Experience level

The list goes on.  People often ask “how can I stand out in the job search as a top candidate?”  I wish it was simple.  It is like asking “how can I stand out on a first date so they want to go out again?”  Not that easy, is it?  Everyone and every company looks for something a little different but I think there are some similarities.

Sales Jobs

If you are going for a sales position you can probably stand to be a bit more persistent than in other professions.  I have had people show up to the office and ask if I was available.  I love that!  Or at the very least just call and ask for me.  That IS what sales people do isn’t it?

Patiently Persistent

I think most companies want to be wanted.  You need to learn how to walk the line between being very interested and seeming like a desperate stalker.  That line can be crossed by one too many emails or calls.  Be sure to ask what the process is and follow up when you say you will.

Don’t get angry

Here is the deal, crap happens.  I have had people no-show their first day on the job or back out the day before they were going to start.  That is after months of me recruiting to fill that opening, us spending thousands of dollars in the process before hiring someone only to have them do an about face.  Do I get angry?  Sure I do.  But do I call them up, email them, or blast them online?  No way!  I get it.

In the same vane I expect people to deal with disappointment, frustration or even anger professionally.  I have had it happen a few times that we like a candidate at first but then decide they are not a fit.  But I have also had it happen where we don’t pursue a candidate only to have them follow up, show their continued interest in the position and get another chance at the job.  In the end, do your really want to work for a company that does not want you?  I don’t.  But I get it, we all have bills to pay.

Be Creative

I personally like people to be a little creative in their pursuit of a position.  Follow your target company on LinkedIn and Twitter.  Like some of the good posts and follow people at the company.  Mention them in your posts.  Follow up after you apply for a position.  I would rather feel like I did too much in my pursuit of a job I did not get than worry that I did not do enough.

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
Joseph Chilton Pearce