Which of these two sounds like it would work better:
- You send a piece of paper, or more likely a .pdf, to someone to tell them all about yourself and why they should hire you.
- A good friend you know and trust talks about you with someone who knows and trusts them about you and why they should hire you.
Obviously, the second approach is much more personal and much more effective. How does anyone know if what they see on a document like a resumé is true? But if someone they know and trust tells them that you’re a talented and worthy individual, they are instantly confident that you’re worth meeting.
How Many People Do You Know?
Many people say they have no idea. Get a close approximation by seeing how many contacts you have in your address book. Although how many is not really all that important.
What is important is that you take a good hard look at your current job search and make some changes. Here are a few things to consider:
- You know that empty feeling you get when you finish filling out a job application on a job board? You finish entering all the info, attach your docs, click “Submit” and… Then you wait. And wait. Yes, that’s a part of your strategy, but keep in mind: Job boards only result in about 14% of new positions.
- Did you ever feel you were just another resumé your recruiter is churning around the mill? Well, you’re right, you are. Recruiting is a numbers game and recruiters’ activity is based on the hiring organization. Only 11% of job seekers find opportunities through recruiters.
- When you’re unemployed and searching, how much do you hate that feeling every morning when you wake up and don’t know exactly what you’re going to do with the day? If you hate it that much, stop waking up that way!
Wake Up Excited About Your Job Search Every Day
Talk to somebody.
When you wake up and grab your coffee, grab your contact list along with it. Sit down with your phone and your notepad and call someone.
Anyone on your list. Literally anyone. Just like you, everyone you know also knows a lot of other people. Maybe a few, maybe a few dozen, maybe hundreds or even thousands. Ask yourself what the odds are that any one of the people you know also knows somebody who might have a need for someone with your skills? Or that they may know someone else who does.
The Meaning of “Networking”
Networking does not occur just between you and another person. It continues beyond that interaction when the person you spoke with speaks with someone else, and then you speak with another person who then speaks with someone else. And then those people interact with other people. All those people have eyes, ears, and memories. When they hear someone mention that they’re looking for someone with certain skills, they often remember you and who mentioned you to them.
People will listen for opportunities for you, and tell people about you when they do. 65% of hires are the result of networking with family, friends, and companies you reach out to.
Here’s the best news of all:
People Want to Help Each Other
Literally, everyone has been where you are right now. They’ve been displaced from their employment for any of a thousand reasons. They know what it’s like to be conducting a job search like you are. If they dare to look down upon you, forget them. They don’t deserve your concern. People really do want to help each other out, because they know that someday it could be them looking. Happens all the time.
ABC – Always Be Calling!
If you find yourself not on the phone with someone, or meeting with someone in person, or following up with a thank-you email or resumé and CV, know that something is very wrong. Sitting at your computer scanning the job boards, or Facebook. Wasting time. You don’t want it badly enough. You are doing yourself a big disservice.
You can keep yourself busy every day you’re not employed just calling people and following up on leads.
You DON’T have to be asking everyone you call for a job. In fact, you shouldn’t be asking ANYONE for a job.
Instead, call to say hello. Call to catch up with people you haven’t spoken with in a while. Talk with them about how things are going. Be a human being. Enjoy conversation. Let them know that you’re looking, reminding them about your skills and capabilities if they need to be reminded. You have nothing to feel bad about, or ashamed of. It’s called having a career. There are ups and downs. You get jobs, you lose jobs, companies run into trouble, companies run out of cash, you get caught up in someone else’s mess, or one of your own making. Everyone has been there.
You’re still a great person, a worthwhile addition to any company. Project that in your conversations. Don’t brag on yourself, just be feeling good about who you are. One employer’s bad decision doesn’t ruin you. People will pick up your attitude even over the phone. Keep it positive. Walk around. Smile. Think happy thoughts. Whatever it takes, when you’re networking you’ve got to bring your best.
The biggest mistake you can make is approaching your search thinking you have to find someone who will take you. There are plenty of those, and many of them would be the worst place for you to end up.
Instead, start shopping for the company you most want to work at:
- Create your own description of the kind of company you want to work in.
- Define the role of that company that would allow you to make the greatest contributions to that company.
- Be prepared to tell friends what you’re looking for in your next challenge.
- List all the things that make you stand out from the crowd and let those define you, your “brand.” Get help from past employers and co-workers on this one. They often know what’s best for you better than you do, and they’re always more prepared to brag about you than you are.
- Thank everybody and follow up on everything. No exceptions. Even someone who suggested a job you absolutely don’t want may later run into something you do. Tell them it wasn’t a fit. People will get it.
While many people frown at the concept, when you’re shopping for the company you want to work at and you find it, the next thing you must do is to sell. You must sell them on you, someone you know very well and like very much. We sell best what we know and like. Don’t hesitate. Be prepared with plenty of stories about your successes and the people you’ve helped with your skills. Hiring managers want to hire people who can help their customers with their skills and generate more revenue for them.
Speak their language. Be prepared to talk about what they need from you. You want to sell you, and they want to buy someone who can contribute to their bottom line. Sell them what they want by translating you into bottom line contributions.
The first thing you need to learn to do is to deal with rejection. You only need one person to know someone who knows someone who needs your skills. Everyone else may simply not come up with anything. Some may interview you and say no. Opportunities for rejection abound, that’s just how it is, but it isn’t just you. Everyone faces that. Remember what you’re worth and post that up in front of whatever rejections you may encounter.
You can also learn a lot more about several of the strategies we’ve discussed here.
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers offers an “Effective Job Search” program in which you will:
- Learn how to find the job opportunities that aren't listed on the job boards.
- Get detailed steps you can follow
- Learn how to craft your own highly-effective messages.
- Build your confidence and increase your success rate.
- Learn the 3 components of connecting:
- How to be easy to find
- How to build your network
- How to communicate actively
Help is here by reaching out to New Horizons. But your biggest help is right in the palm of your own hand. Pick up your phone and start calling your friends. Keep doing that and you’ll find yourself happily engaged in a new opportunity faster than you’d ever believe.
To further your knowledge on this topic, tune into our webinar, Effective Job Search Strategy on Friday, December 15 at 10 a.m. Reserve your seat here!