Currently under development and expansion.
Networking is perhaps the most effective
tool in finding your next job. Talk with
those you know or were introduced to.
They are people in industry and role or
who are movers and shakers in your area or friends who know people. You want to talk with those who can help you directly or in directly.
Networking is the least used tool by job
seekers yet it is the most effective.
Their mistake becomes your advantage.
According to iCIMS, referred candidates are hired two-thirds of the time, in part because a referral reduces hiring risks which fall on the hiring manager. Referred candidates are able to by-pass the endless piles of Resumes and long lines at Job Fairs. This is not to say it is an easy process. You need to have a long-term relationship with a current employee or someone with strong connections in your targeted companies.
Some of the techniques to make this work for you:
Connect with Pros with Similar Interests
Dive through LinkedIn and other Social Media resources to find these people. You
may be surprised you already know some working at your targeted companies.
Having similar career and technology interests, roles and/or backgrounds will help
this connection to them. Common interests builds quick relationships. Eventually you ask for their Advice, Insights and Recommendations. Before your request, build a relationship with them. People are more likely to help people they like than people they don't know and were not referred to them by someone they know and trust. Here is a list of groups we have compiled and submit ones we have missed to Questions@TheCTGroups.org Professional Groups
Making The Case
One goal should be to look at this evolving into a long-term relationship with an industry colleague or friend. Use LinkedIn to find people you both know as a way to build your credibility with them. This may slow down the process but having a good reputation and integrity is of the greatest importance.
Follow this relationship building activity with a short e-mail outlining your interest in their assistance in achieving your dream and why you are qualified to achieve your dream. Reference past important work. Perhaps the company has a referral program that could bring your new found friend a nice check from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. According to iCIMS, 49% of hire hires in some companies are hired through referrals.
Build a Strong Chain
Always seek to make new connections upwards while keeping prior referrers in the loop unless someone requests their confidentiality be honored. Think of this as your team; always let the team know what you are working on so they may offer you insight or guidance on what to expect. And always be open to their input as to who you should be talking to in your next steps.
Where to Find these People
This is rather easy once you think through the question. Start with connections in your industry, former job, companies you want to break into. Think about people who, by virtue of their business, know lots of people. In this group you will find:
Bankers, Dentists, Doctors, Fund Raisers, Insurance Agents, Lawyers, Mail Carriers, Ministers and Priests, Politicians, Public Relations people, Reporters, School Teachers and Principals ... all people who deal with large number of people and have insight into the backgrounds of these people.
JOB SEARCHING BY THE NUMBERS
These numbers will change to some degree over a period of time but are not
anticipated to make any dramatic changes:
- 70% find jobs through networking, the "hidden job market"
These are not published on any job board
- 15% find jobs through search firms or executive agencies, also known as
the public job market
- 10% find jobs through targeted letters, also the "hidden job market"
- 5% find jobs through answering ads, job boards, etc., the public job market
So where are your best chances: 80% are on the hidden market, 20% are public?
And when jobs are tight, where do you believe most jobs will be found?
GOING AFTER THE PUBLIC JOB MARKET
When seeking a job from the "public job market" consider the following plan:
1. Read the job posting carefully and highlight every specification or
requirement in the posting. These will most likely be keywords that the
scanning tools will be looking for and the more "hits" on their keywords the
better you score thus the better potential candidate you are.
2. Prepare your cover letter highlighting how you meet their requirements for
the position. This is your sales document so make it compelling. But ...
- keep it brief - no more than one page
- repeat the words from the job posting to describe your qualifications
- typed document on good white or light pastel paper. Sometimes hand
written cover letters get more attention but only if they are readable.
Look for quality Recruiters at reputable Employment Agencies/Search Firms.
1. Be selective and ask questions about their placements. Companies who
are in business the longest have survived tough times ... you want them.
They potentially have a deeper client base with needs to be filled. The
reputation they have will reflect upon you, for good or bad so choose well.
2. Use the phone to save time and gas and get the same results as you look
for opportunities aligned with your background. e-Mail is great but it may
go to a "generic e-mail bucket" not looked at often costing you time and
Look for Executive Search Firms if your position is high enough. Search Firms work
on a retainer basis and are often paid 30% and up of your salary for the right job
candidate. General rules of thumb for engaging an Executive Search Firm:
1. Salary exceeding $90,000
2. You are currently employeed and need a low profile job search
3. You personally have friends within the search firm
Anything less from the above and you may find all you get is a "courtsey" interview.
Reasons to move forward with an Executive Search Firm include:
1. You have a friend of a friend working there as a former client or true friend
2. You are a highly successful performer but want a low key search due to a
potential merger, downsizing, or outsourcing to foreign countries
3. You are a visible senior executive and are recognized in your industry
4. You are/were earning more than $90,000 per year.
GOING AFTER THE HIDDEN JOB MARKET
Networking, networking and networking: your three area to focus on.
These positions are often posted internally but are open to external candidates.
Seek an informal meeting to discuss some key areas for your job search:
1. What are their thoughts about you making a career change?
2. What do they see as opportunities in the industry?
3. Who do they know that you should be talking to and will they provide a
"warm hand-over" ... call them and let them know you will be calling?
4. Getting their insights/help to obtain an interview from your targeted
companies or individuals they know through various channels.
There are many advantages with this approach which are very strong for you:
1. You could be a good fit for a position being created in their company
If they offer a "bounty", your friend could realize some extra money
2. Your friend may know of openings at another firm for your background
3. Your friend may be able to refer you to someone they know via a warm
introduction to talk about the position directly and face-to-face
4. Your friend may offer helpful insight and guidance to help your search
There can be negatives as your efforts geometrically expand due to constraints:
1. This can be time consuming as scheduled meetings may be limited to only
a few a week. Consider after hours somewhere for drinks.
2. Time and Costs are not your friends plus travel and parking costs arise.
Networking is not done well for national or international opportunities.
3. Blind calls are nerve racking. Following up with recommended people is a
quick anxiety builder. Getting past the "manager guards" called
Secretaries or frequent "out-of-town" travel can be challenging but can be
Sending documents externally marked CONFIDENTIAL via a delivery service
normally keeps a secretary out of the envelope. Delivering food with your
documents wrapped in plastic under the lid of the container also works.
4. BUILD YOUR CONTACT TRACKING LIST
It is critical you keep track of who told you about who but also to see how
the other person is helping you or just spinning you off to a dead person.
Log all information about the contact and referred contact which includes:
- Name, Job Title, Company, Division, Telephone, Cell, and e-mail
- Same information about people they referred you to PLUS
the same information as before with dates of contact PLUS
who they referred you to plus dates of contact and so on and so on
Excel works well for this as you can indent all you need to. This table will
let you quickly find people and see who is helping you and who is NOT.
ALWAYS REMEMBER all you need is one YES to land a job and you WILL
NOT KNOW who that person will be or where they will be at or when.
This is your motivation to keep plugging to find that one key person.
5. BUILDING YOUR CONTACT LIST
Brain storm with family, friends and others to identify everyone you know
who knows others. It seems impossible until you start getting into it. You
need to capture the information listed above for these people you identify.
Divide your list into organized groups to help you focus more.
- People you worked with: currently and in the past anywhere
- Family and friends - dig out the Christmas Card list, phone lists, your
contacts on your phone or office PC tool
- Professional / Business / Government contacts. Get their directories
and pull known names and potential names
- Contacts from church, community socials, civic groups, groups like golf
or shooting or sailing or other activities you engage in
- Community benefit and religious organization you belong to or donate
time or money to
- College or even High School alumni and college placement office
- LinkedIn to search the schools for people you long ago forgot and
reach out to them
- Your Insurance Agent, your car repair place, your lawyer, your banker,
your doctor and dentist, orthodontist the kids see, your religious
leaders, your stockbroker and financial advisors
- Accountants, real estate brokers, editors of papers or trade journals,
members of your local government, state legislature, Congressional
- PTA members, parents of your children's friends, "Friends of " groups
you are part of, special interest groups, etc.
6. POPULATE YOUR EXCEL SPREADSHEET
Start this slowly to see insure you get a good working format for all the
tracking and information you will accumulate. This is not a step you want
to redo at all, ideally done only once to put some brain power into it.
Little or no experience with Excel?
There are many free training courses available on the Internet often in
YouTube.com which can be searched with keywords like "basic excel
training". Some will be junk while others will be a pot of gold for you.
7. BUILD A JOB SEARCH OBJECTIVES SHEET
This one sheet will be used during your networking session. It will list
basic information on yourself to help the other person focus on your needs.
Too much information causes the brain to work poorly. Focus works best.
Helpful information should include:
- Desired Job Titles base on your skills not dreams
- Industries and Companies you want to focus on
- Skills and Experience to justify your Title and area of search
These help focus the mind of those willing to help by bringing to light
names or people they know in these areas or allied areas that could help.
8. PREPARE TO MEET FACE-TO-FACE
In many cities, business can be conducted by fax, e-mail, couriers, texts,
etc. This is a person matter, thus meeting face-to-face to build trust and
a relationship are inescapable.
When possible offer to meet in their office. This eliminates their lost time
in travel and possible loss of a good parking space. It also leaves them in
their power spot ... it's their office with all their information around them.
This leaves them feeling greater control yet also provides all of their
contact information at their fingertips at their desk.
Plan your initial phone call message ... this needs to be personal so dump
e-mail, fax, and texting for now. You need to respond to questions they
may have to see if they want to help or how they could help you before any
commitments being given to you. They may also want to call the person
who referred you to them to see what kind of a person you are. Practice
your planned phone call message until it flows naturally and you are ready
to go "off script" to handle questions, concerns or reservations. YOU are
asking for their advise and counsel while THEY owe you nothing. If you use
a "poor poor pitiful me" line, you may be shot down and hung up on. This
is business and you are seeking a small amount of their assistance.
To help with your learning curve, start with those that will have the least
impact as you build confidence in this effort. Always be aware of how
much time you spend with them. Always try to consume less than than
asked for as this comes to many as a surprise thus building trust with you.
And make sure any recommendations or advise offered is followed up on
and you let them know the outcome. If something went sideways, they
may be able to fix the relationship with them and you with a phone call.
Always plan to discuss the follow-up with them and get five (5) contacts
they could recommend. Not all will always produce good results, some
may not produce anything. Offer to keep them updated by e-mail to help
keep their engagement as an involved support person which excites some.
Keeping them informed keeps them in your circle for support, contacts and
ideas! See if they offer to make some calls on your behalf, if so, this is
what you want to hear.
Create a marketing sheet of yourself for those willing to help you. This
will outline your experience, your hard and soft skills and accomplishments
to help your "sponsor" in promoting you since they can't hire you. Prepare
your reason so everyone in in sync with each other and the reason is solid.
9. PLANNING YOUR NETWORKING CALLS STEP-BY-STEP
STEP 1: Before you Dial
Have an objective for the call; calls with no objective or plan are
a hindrance to those who receive the call at best. Often it may be
to send a Resume, set up a meeting, let your availability be known.
ALWAYS have a secondary objective your first crashes and burns.
One example is if they want to talk NOW versus in a meeting later.
Be prepared to have that talk THEN as you may not get another as
they may be avoiding any face-to-face meeting. If you talk goes
well, see if they are open to "getting together".
Be prepared for your own jitters, anxious or panicky. A few deep
breaths will clear these.
STEP 2: Opening Remarks
These will be your "bonding comments' to connect with them. Be
brief and straightforward to establish initial credibility. Keep any
small talk to a minimum ... this is business. Calls to old friends
can distract you into the "old times" ... stay focused for your friend.
Get their respect by being respectful of them and their time.
STEP 3: Listening
With your Opening Remarks delivered ... SHUT UP! Let the silence
queue them to talk and listen carefully. If they are positive, move
quickly to setup actions and thank them. If the response is cool or
negative, mirror back your understanding for their resistance. This
can get them to soften their stance and open an opportunity.
STEP 4: Closing
There are two ways this can go:
1. Express appreciation for their time and any assistance offered.
Ask if you can remain in contact them to stay connected.
2. Work to keep the connection with them alive and see if they will
accept your Resume in the event a situation arises that might be
appropriate for your experience and skills.
Either way you have some level of relationship with this person.
Do this in your own words to keep the relationship open and not
burn the bridge you need with this person.
10. e-MAILING / FAXING / MAILING FOR A COMPETITIVE EDGE
There are companies who can provide these services to you for a fee. But,
and there is a but, you do this, think through what will happen ...
Having your one Resume and one Cover Letter distributed to large key
companies by passing all the job search walls established sounds great.
Now look at this from the receivers perspective.
Someone signs into their e-mail account and hears "You have 2,376 new
e-mails". And imagine their thoughts as they realize their morning will
now be spent deleting most of the 2,376 unwanted and inappropriate
e-mails received. Of course this assumes the company has not already
applied a block of all e-mails froming from that e-mail account's domain
address. Then they are deleted before they reach the PC and your items
are unseen by any human because it's deemed all SPAM.
Imagine seeing hundres or thousands of faxes for positions that are not
open or are just random submissions with little to no hope of meeting the
positions currently open. If the company invested in a FAX Server and let
the FAX machine die a natural death, all items on the Server can be deleted
in a few seconds.
Clearly the higher cost delivery method due to copying, stuffing and
postage costs plus the envelopes and handling. These, if sent in a plain
white envelope, may require opening before going to the shred box.
The end result is most likely the same but at greater costs to the would be
P.T. Barnum reportedly said "There's a sucker born every minute."
Do not exhibit behavior that supports the reported statement of this man.
Generic Resumes and generic Cover Letters sent without specific focus for
open positions most likely will only generate false hope, real costs, and
most likely lost valuable job search time.
11. YOUR TARGETED COMPANIES LIST
NETWORKING BLUNDERS (all year long)
- NOT ASKING FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
Don't let your title or pride get in the way of asking your networking contacts for assistance. The best leaders aren't afraid to learn from or occasionally lean on others.
- NOT KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH CONTACTS
There is no point in making connections if you're going to let them fall by the wayside. Keep them alive!
- NOT SAYING THANK YOU WHEN YOU RECEIVE ASSISTANCE
Take a minute to send an e-mail, take a quick note or drop by the desk of a networking connection who gave you a hand. You can never say thank you too often (well, yes you can just don't over do it).
- FAILING TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR HELP
To fix this serious problem, apologize and extend a follow-up offer of help if it's still needed. Show you just messed up or got hung up.