What You Need to Know About Leveraging Your Network to Get a Job
“Use your network to find your next job.” It’s sound advice, but some of us implement it better than others. If you’re the type that fires off a group email to let your network know that you’re starting a job search and to ask for their help, you may want to tweak your approach
Unfortunately, group emails are an incredibly unreliable way to capture the attention of the very person who can advance your search efforts. Why?
You’ve asked your network to not only rack their brains for openings they might know of, but to also do the legwork of pairing you with the right person to talk to—you’ve put the bulk of the work on their shoulders. Not cool. The kicker is that since it’s a group email, each recipient on the list could assume that someone else on the list will help you out, potentially leaving you with no leads at all.
Folks, here’s the deal: Effectively using your network to land a job requires more than broadcasting to the world that you’re looking for something new and waiting for the chips to fall.
Landing interviews with your dream companies takes strategy (and a little grunt work).
To strategically tap your network for opportunities, start by sizing it up. Do you have connections across different industries and markets? Who do you know at the companies you’d love to work at? What stages of their careers are each of your contacts at? Do you belong to any free or paid networking groups that could help you?
You have more under your feet than you might originally think!
From there, create networking maps for each company of on your big and small fish target lists. Use LinkedIn and company websites to research the following details:
- Names of people with similar job titles as you / on the same rung you’d been on
- Names of key figures at the company (think 1-2 notches higher on the totem pole)
- Names of your first degree contacts who can introduce you to all of these people
Annotate your maps. Where are these people most active online? Do they have a blog? Do they tweet more than they post on LinkedIn? Have they been published? Do you have their email or phone number? Try structuring your information the way you would a mind map, or using an spreadsheet.
And if you can’t seem to figure out who your potential boss, or the people who can lead you to her might be, hop on the phone. Call the company’s main number and say “I have a question about [function / area], can you put me in touch with the head of that department?” More often than not, you’ll get the information you need to figure out just who you need to know.
The most important thing to remember is that you’re not looking to actually contact hiring managers or HR reps at this stage. They hear from job seekers all day—you’d be just another voice in the crowd. The idea is to leverage and build relationships that lead to you to that interview step, because being a referred from someone the inside is your fast track to that conversation.
This is an excerpt from my free course, How to Land Interviews Without Ever Applying, coming in 2017!