Stop wasting your time on job boards. Connections, whether personal or professional, are by far the #1 way that people acquire new employment. The fact is, most job opportunities aren’t even advertised. In a bid to avoid hours upon hours screening hundreds of resumes and interview mediocre candidates, many hiring managers bypass advertising job openings all together. Instead, they often use their own connections to find suitable candidates for the position they’re trying to fill.
As a job seeker, the imperative is on you to build up and leverage your own personal network to find these “lobangs” and get ahead of the pack! Here’s how:
- E-mail your immediate circle of friends.
Don’t feel embarrassed, as that won’t get you anywhere. Just be straightforward and mention that you’re looking for a job doing XYZ, and ask if anyone knows any relevant opportunities (or relevant contacts who can help) they can ping your way. Do try to e-mail people personally if you can, because that personal touch can make all the difference. After all, you’re more likely to reply to a personal email, rather than a generic mass email sent to a big group of friends—when you feel like someone is reaching out to you directly, you’re more likely to become invested in their cause.
E.g. Here’s an example of an e-mail template you can use as a starting point when contacting your contacts and friends:
It’s Mark from IBM. I’m looking to move from my current company, towards a role in XYZ. I wanted to ask if you know of any opportunities in that area, or know of anyone I who might be able to provide any relevant advice.
Perhaps I could send you my CV. Please do let me know what you think, I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
Feel free to add in more details, especially for contacts whom you know better and feel comfortable revealing more information too. A willingness to be open and honest will leave a stronger impression, and make the other person more interested in helping you.
And please do check before forwarding your CV over—you don’t want to appear too presumptuous in assuming someone’s help, and no one likes receiving unexpected attachments, especially in non-business correspondence.
- Use Social Networks
But how do you contact that one person you met at a conference one time? Or that friend of your aunt who works at your dream company? If you don’t have email addresses for such acquaintances, or want a more casual way to begin putting out feelers—well, Facebook is called the Social Network for a reason. Exploit it! Use all the social media platforms at your disposal. Don’t feel shy about reaching out to your full network, even people you’ve only met once or twice. Maybe that person has a spouse or sibling who works in the same field as you, or knows someone who can help. You never know who might be able to nudge you in the direction of a perfect but unadvertised job opening.
- Decorate Your LinkedIn Profile
Don’t just join it and set up a simple profile—go the extra mile to make it complete and robust. Join some appropriate professional groups, be active in discussion there, and fill out the miscellaneous sections like Volunteering and Certification as best as you can.
Maybe even try find hiring managers at your dream company. Perhaps you’ll find a mutual connection or two who can make an introduction for you, as this will likely be more successful than a cold approach. And if not, at least you now have a starting point! It’s worth the effort because your chances of being considered for a job increase significantly when someone connected to the job can vouch for you.
- Expand Your Social Circle
It’s easy after a certain age to get comfortable in a fixed social circle, but this won’t do you career any favours. Continue to develop your contact network, both through your personal social life, and your working life. Consider joining professional organisations for the field of work you’re in (or hoping to move into)—there are many informal groups on LinkedIn, if nothing else. But professional associations often have email newsletters advertising relevant job openings, and the connections you can make at mixers or meetings can be invaluable.
Otherwise, keep in touch with people online; be active on social media and take an interest in other people’s lives—you want them to want to help you, after all, and human relationships are all about give and take.
Want More Advice?
Feel free to drop us a note here if you have any questions or comments—our consultants will be more than happy to help you make the most out of those personal networks!