During the job search, there is always the question of how to find and secure that dream job – do you sign up to all the job sites, insert a list of relevant criteria or relentlessly search job sites using ‘keywords’? My issue with this (having seen how recruitment works within companies) is that not all jobs are truly ‘open’ or ‘available’. What I mean by this is that jobs are often posted as part of an internal recruitment process or policy, but really the job has effectively been filled before it even goes on line, i.e. an internal candidate or other known candidate has been identified and is being put through the recruitment process (including posting the job online) to meet company guidelines. In addition to this, employers often ask their own employees to help them recruit the best talent to save both time and money – often rewarding employees financially for their efforts.
Knowing this, it is not always going to be the best use of your time to apply for a list of jobs that you are not even sure are available. And this is where the importance of networking comes in.
My true belief is that to be effective in your job search you need to be more targeted, either by going after a company or a specific role. You need a process that you can use in your job search that is going to most efficiently get you the job you want and I’m going to outline below the stages I recommend to navigate your way in front of employers that are truly recruiting rather than spending all your time going through online applications.
“He or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do that job best; but, the one who knows the most about how to get hired.” – Richard Lathrop (author of ‘Don’t use a resume’)
For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on networking online – since 2008 there has been a massive shift in the way that people are hired thanks to modern technology and most importantly GOOGLE. Recruiters can just google your name and there’s a chance they will find information about you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and anywhere else you have an online social presence. Suffice it to say, you want to make sure that anything that is there is going to help, not hinder you when it comes to your job search! Google yourself or ask someone else to google you and check out what you find from a recruiter’s perspective! You may need to make a few changes to your social networking site settings if you don’t have it set on private. Of course you can also use social networking sites to positively influence your job search.
How to target your job search using online networking?
- LinkedIn is an absolute necessity to any job search and is a great way to network with the right people. It should be your first priority in any job search, or you will significantly be reducing your job search chances. Get a profile together based on your resume and work hard to make sure it stands out from others.
- Use Linked in to learn about companies you’re interested in and identify jobs you’re interested in.
- Once you have your linkedin profile, if you haven’t already, send connections to past employers and colleagues (even and sometimes especially if they have moved elsewhere) and ask any that you worked with closely to provide endorsements on your skills and qualifications. One effective way to do this is to provide endorsements to others first.
- Targeting a company or a specific job – you can search a company name on LinkedIn and use your 1st connections to ask for an introduction to a specific person of interest. If you have no 1st connections, you can ask to link in with 2nd or 3rd connections but I recommend you have a very well written introduction of yourself politely asking if you can ask them a few questions about the company/their area of work and why you are interested in the company.
- What if I am not able to connect with someone who is of interest to my job search? If you know of someone you want to connect with and they are a member of a group, if you join the same group as them you will be able to contact them directly through the group. Again you will want to make sure that you have something well written when you make your connection and its also worth being active in that group for a while before making contact – you can like, comment or share threads.
- And once I have my connections I want? Tell them what it is you’re interested in and a short synopsis of your background with something that stands out that they are more likely to remember you by. Ask them what they like about working there. Once you have built up a little rapport (this might be a few messages but make sure that it IS two-way so you don’t scare them away and just become a nuisance!), then ask them if they can help you one of two ways – either by asking them where you can get more information about a specific job or team you’re interested in OR ask them to connect you to another person if you have someone in mind specifically. Next, you will want to build rapport with that next person you get referred to and slowly but surely you are getting closer and closer to your end goal. It might be that there is no job available at this specific time and you are just exploring a team, but once you are on the radar and have given them something to remember you by, your name may just pop up when a relevant job becomes available.
For more information and support on how you can target your job search, please contact me here. I can provide help with your LinkedIn profile, building your online brand presence and working with you on specifically how to communicate with your target employers.
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