Sending your résumé and hoping to land interviews may not be your best bet to land that ideal job. Let’s start with some startling facts:
- An average of 250 résumés arrive for one corporate job opening. The first résumé is received within 200 seconds of a position being posted. And if you use a major job site, you are competing with 427,000 résumés posted each week!
- 98 percent of job seekers are eliminated at the initial résumé screening and only the top 2 percent of candidates make it to the interview.
- Most large and midsize companies use talent-management software to screen résumés, eliminating up to half of the applications before anyone even looks at a résumé or cover letter. Over 90% of large companies use automated screening systems.
- Approximately 38% of available jobs aren’t advertised. That alone should encourage you to do some networking. Accessing this hidden job market may require more courage than searching online, but can be much more effective.
Use your network strategically, and the process can be easy (and even enjoyable!) Here’s how:
Make a list.
Former co-workers, fellow classmates, alumni associations, weekend sports teammates, members of your religious congregation, family, friends, neighbors—essentially anyone that you know. Think about people you’ve met through your close connections: your sister’s supervisor; your uncle’s colleague; your accountant or dry cleaner. Go through your social media accounts and contacts and write down names. Connect with each of them on LinkedIn. Don’t exclude someone because you don’t think they’ll be in a position to help.
Practice a one-minute introduction.
In one minute, explain what you want as your next step from a network contact, and describe how you can create value in the role you’re looking for. When you clearly articulate what you want, and come across as driven and enthusiastic, people want to help.
Reacquaint yourself with industry developments.
Catch up on any jargon, technology, or other trends so that you portray relevance to your network.
Set clear goals and be specific.
Avoid the nondescript “Let me know if you hear of anything.” Explain exactly what you want from your contacts: Are you asking for an introduction? Soliciting an insider’s take on the industry? Remember, you want allies, so ask for information or insight rather than for a job.
Authenticity matters in soliciting your network. Be honest in your efforts and in sharing what you’d like. And be considerate, too. Respect their time but take a moment to earnestly catch up on what’s going on in your lives before you ask for their help.
Use social channels to follow up.
You can use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or other popular sites to stay current with what’s happening among your network. Check the sites often and respond genuinely to others’ successes.
Nurture your professional relationships.
Put it on your calendar: every month, reach out to your network and maintain polite, appropriate contact. While you’re at it, look for ways you can help. You can also act as a liaison for your connections and become pivotal to someone’s success.
Connecting with and helping others (aka networking) will result in valuable relationships as it helps you stay motivated during your search.