You want to work for a specific company, but you’ve applied before and haven’t gotten an interview. Ready to give up and throw in the towel? Don’t do it!
Companies receive thousands of resumes each day. Due to the large volume of applicants, recruiters may only have time to review resumes that come up through a keyword search in a database. (Keywords are words that are relevant to the job you’re seeking, and are often found in job descriptions. If you don’t already use keywords, you should. A good resource to visit for key words is here).
This means you have to figure out a way to get your resume into the hands of that recruiter or hiring manager. Enter networking.
Most of the jobs I’ve had have been found through old-fashioned networking. By networking, I mean developing, building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships for social and professional success. Here are five tips to help you crack the code and potentially get that dream job at your target company:
1. Tap Your Network
Many people informally network when looking for a new doctor or restaurant recommendation, but most don’t think to do the same when looking for a new job. How about asking that neighbor, friend of the family or parent you see at school drop-off if they know anyone who might be looking to hire a top-quality candidate such as yourself?
You can’t be shy. Know that people are tapping their networks all the time — it’s how you go about it that’s important. (Click here to tweet this thought.) And don’t forget about your online network: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. On LinkedIn, for instance, if you enter your target company in the search field, it will bring up any of your connections who know someone who works or has worked there. You can then ask to “Get Introduced.”
2. Tell Them About Yourself
What type of position are you looking for? What makes you qualified? Yes, this is your sales pitch, so work hard to get it right. You should know it well enough to gracefully slip it into conversation with others. You should also share it with your close family and friends so they can network on your behalf.
Remember, keep it brief — 20 seconds or less; you don’t want it to monopolize the conversation. To do this online, draft a short message to a focused group of connections to let them know you’re targeting a position at Company X and ask if they might be able to refer you to someone they know who can help.
3. Strike While the Iron is Hot
That parent you see at school drop-off has a contact at the company you want to work for. They gave you a name, phone number and email address of someone they know, and even put in a good word for you. Reach out and introduce yourself that same day.
Send an email that lets the person know why you’re interested in the company and highlights the skills you could bring to the organization. Ask if they have time to speak with you, either via phone or in person, to discuss your interest in the company and your background/qualifications. Don’t sit on the referral for two weeks and then decide to write; that communicates that you aren’t that interested, and will more than likely turn off the person you’ve been referred to. Not to mention it could negatively impact the person you were referred by.
4. Follow Up
If you’ve left a phone message or sent an email and it’s been over a week without hearing back, it’s okay to follow up by phone or email to reiterate your interest and ask for an update. You should also follow up with the person who referred you to them, to let them know you haven’t heard back and see if they can touch base with their contact on your behalf.
Just know that following up is best done in moderation. Don’t call your contact multiple times a day hoping they’ll answer. In this instance, caller ID will not work in your favor. And one email to follow up should suffice. If you don’t hear back after this, start the process all over again and see if someone in your network has another referral for you. A non-responsive contact should not discourage you from pursuing your job search.
5. Keep in Touch
We live in a busy world. People may think about you in the moment they get your note, or when you’re speaking with them face-to-face, only to get pulled in different directions since then and forget to do what you asked of them.
Send a monthly check-in email to remind them about your search, and also to tell them about any other activities you might be doing to help build skills in your field, either through volunteering or additional training. Always remember to include contact information and keep it positive. Many people are willing to help if they can. Don’t assume they aren’t willing to do so because you never heard back. Regular contact once a month while you’re searching is a good way to help keep you top of mind.
These five tips will help you leverage your network and target a position with a specific company. It may even open up opportunities you weren’t aware of, so remember to keep an open mind in your search.
How can you tap into your network to boost your job search efforts?