I earned a few interviews for mid-level planning jobs over the past year, coming in very close to a job offer, but always out-manuevered by a more experienced planner. After I am told the bad news, I try to have a brief disucssion to find out what I was lacking in and what would have made me a better candidate. They usually say there is nothing wrong with my interview: I have the right technical and people skills, did my homework, understood their issues in great detail, but someone with just a little more experience was offered the job.
I am pretty confident that I will earn at least some face time for one or both transportation jobs I applied for. I bypassed the traditional process of sending my application packet to HR. Instead, I sent my resume and a charming coverletter to a former employer (a retired politician who now sits on the board of the transportation agency) who, in turn, sent an endorsement to the agency executive director. No matter what happens, I am indebted to my old boss for her help, and will help her with whatever volunteer help she needs with political events.
I think I am capable of doing both jobs and would love an opportunity to earn more experience in transportation planning and develop solid mangerial skills. However, 500 people applied for both jobs already. At the very least, my endorsement may bump my application to the top of the pile. Even if I earn an interview, do all of my homework on the agency, and practice, practice, practice the interview questions, I have a feeling in the back of my mind that both positions will ultimately go to transportation planners with a lot more experience. However, that's not going to keep me from trying my hardest, since I really would like to earn an offer from this agency, and use my experience to meet their specific needs.
What can I do in this case? Are there any strategies that you have tried that worked to beat incredible odds for a job?