Don’t waste another minute of your time applying for jobs online. If you’re actively seeking new opportunities, you’ve probably already sent your résumé out to numerous companies in response to their online job posts. As you await a response, your confidence begins to diminish because your phone isn’t ringing and your email box is empty. There’s a better way!
Placing your career in the hands of a database is oftentimes unproductive – it’s time to make personal connections and build a network that will get you real results. We’re not affirming that applying to job advertisements is pointless, but it should serve as a complement to your larger, more diligent efforts.
Companies typically advertise open positions on their websites or via job boards, but don’t believe for a moment that someone is on the other end of that “Apply Here” button reviewing each submitted résumé. In truth, their applicant tracking system is sifting through the multiple applications and pulling the top matches based on the hiring manager’s search criteria.
So what’s a qualified job seeker to do? Make connections! Your network is your foot in the door. The recent 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study found that “recruiters rate referrals as the highest quality source of hires.” Consider the following networking opportunities:
1) Recruiters. If you decide to enlist the help of a recruiter, it’s important to note that if you’ve already applied for a job on your own, they probably can’t submit you again as their candidate unless a certain amount of time has passed. However, there are always exceptions. Before you embark on a résumé submitting rampage, decide which method will work in your favor. Be honest with your recruiter and you’ll be given the feedback and constructive criticism that is necessary to move your search forward in the right direction.
2) LinkedIn. If you’re lacking a professional network or industry connections, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Request to connect with individuals in your industry and in your field. Don’t ask for anything more than a connection. Turn your privacy setting off and make strategic updates to your profile to alert your network of your accomplishments and experience. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups and participate in the conversation. Like and share posts that pertain to your industry and follow the Company Pages of employers that interest you.
3) Get introduced. Meeting strangers can be pretty daunting; but one connection leads to another and before you know it, you’ve created a network that may come in handy in the future. Networking is a two-way street, so don’t expect to get something for nothing. If you are trying to make a sincere connection, when the time is right you will be able to ask for a favor without coming off as opportunistic. Simply asking for an introduction via email is a step in the right direction and the perfect opportunity for requesting to meet up for coffee or to schedule an informational chat.
Building a network that works for you will take time, but the end result will be beneficial in the long run. Let us know if you have any suggestions to add to the list!