Some of you I have helped with a job search will have seen this before, but the advice is sage and certainly worth a post. Time and time again I have seen this process work. It happened again just this week –a friend called me and said he was ready to embark on a discrete search for a new opportunity.
“Hey Chris, I know you ‘re a Recruiter…can I pass you my resume?”
This is actually how most people utilize their network. It could even be a blast from email or Linkedin. And likely, it is probably not giving you the results you would have liked or anticipated. If you really want to turbocharge your networking efforts, try these following steps — it will take some work on your part, but it will be worth it.
- Decide what you really want to do. Ideally. Not what you would be willing to do — but really what you would do and why. Jot this down – the role you would love — and for what you are most qualified , have the most accomplishments doing, and where you’d add the most value.
- Decide where you want to do it. Not just where you would be willing to work — but really where and why. What is your pressing criteria — Industry? Business Function? Company Size? Company Stability? Culture? Commute? Benefit Package? Travel? Match that against companies that would find you the most valuable to them based on your background or past experiences. Maybe it is a competitor? A vendor? A supplier? You get the drift, right? Jot this down too.
- Come up with a target list of companies that fit the criteria you outlined above.
- Check their company sites, Linkedin, Google, and/or external job boards (Monster, Dice, Careerbuilder) or aggregators (Indeed, Simply Hired). Note any jobs you see that are open that fit your criteria.
- Use LinkedIn, your social networks, your email contact list, your neighbors, etc. to give people in your network direct, easily actionable tasks based on what you have outlined above.
I always push back on people to help me help them. And what is helpful to me — and will be to the people you are hoping will help you — is to have this pretty solid idea of the type of role you want and your ideal target companies. Thus the exercise above. It will keep you focused and it will keep your network focused too. And not just the why’s — know what you don’t want and why as well. This will make it easier for you, me, and anyone else helping you, to take a targeted approach — that also just happens to have the benefit of showing you know who you are, what you are seeking, how you can/will add value, and why these organizations have to have you to take their teams or organizations to the next level. It also can help you figure out who all can best help you and how — and then you can use your network accordingly.
I know this pushes some of the ownness back on you to think through all of this and do some research and footwork, but doing a job search is just like building a business — it needs to be focused and frankly you don’t want somebody else assuming what your vision, values, and goals are…or where you should work.
For instance, there is a big difference between…
“I am looking/open to new opportunities, here is a copy of my resume — Could you please keep your eyes and ears open?”
…and what happened in my example from this week. I had told my friend that reached out to me to do exactly what I have described above. As it turned out, I didn’t know anyone at his target company — but I saw through LinkedIn that I had a connection there. Because I had the information I requested, I was able to still send this email on his behalf:
“Hi _________! I am trying to help a friend make a connection with someone at ____ . I am reaching out to you as I noticed you were a second level connection to me via ___ and a fellow ____ member. He is currently working so he was hoping to make a discrete inquiry regarding potential job opportunities in _____. Through our discussions, it was clear has a strong respect for and interest in _____ as an organization. He also has experience calling on the same customer base and your products are either linked to or used with the tools he currently sells today — which would make for a very easy transition and short learning curve if there are opportunities. He also happens to reside in the same area as your ______ division, headquartered in_____. If there is an interest, I’d be glad to forward you, or anyone you deem appropriate, his resume and contact information. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks in advance for your attention — have a great rest of your week! “
And for those of you who favor the blast on email or social media, you could do the following…
“Hey Friends, do any of you have a connection at ________? I’m looking for a Sales Manager position and would welcome an intro”
(please note I did not say reference/referral, save that for the people you have direct work experience with that you can ask personally/directly).
As for my example above, that very same day I received a response. My friend sent his resume and the rest is now in his hands. The best part is, he has done the work upfront to identify a great match — and he is prepared already for an interview. And because I was armed with the information, I knew what to do when he sent me his resume. No assumptions — and frankly not a lot of work on my end. I was glad to help because I knew exactly how to help him.
Try this and I promise you, you will have a much greater chance for success in your job search.