In today’s world, finding a new job is often a complicated and challenging process. Fifteen years ago, companies would search for candidates through job adverts or possibly use a recruitment company. Today, technology allows companies to not only access to candidates locally but also across the country and to an extent, across the world.
If you’re in the market for a new job, reaching out to recruiters or looking at job boards are all great places to start your job search. The problem is you can spend a lot of time applying to jobs, achieving very little.
The average position on a job board receives over 250 applications and with roughly 10% of applicants being relevant, standing out from the crowd is very difficult, unless your CV is an exact fit to the job requirements.
Standing Out From The Crowd
I often talk about standing out from the crowd when candidates are writing their CV. The same applies to a candidate’s job search. Gone are days when you could apply to a few jobs and be confident of an interview. Today, if you want to have a successful job search, you need to think outside the box and stand out from the crowd with your job search strategies.
Candidates need to stop focusing their search on job boards and think about how they can directly get themselves in front of the hiring manager.
Probably the best way to get in front of the hiring manager is to use your network of contacts. The idea is to find a connection who can put you in touch with a hiring manager, whose looking for candidates to fill a position within their team. Not only can this contact put your CV directly in front of the hiring manager, but they can also put in a good word on your behalf.
Very few candidates use this job search strategy or understand how powerful it can be. Using your network will help you stand out from the crowd with your job search. Below are eight ways you can network yourself into a new position today.
LinkedIn has turned itself from a basic social networking program into probably the best business networking portal on the Internet. Recent statistics show there are over 500 million profiles on LinkedIn. If you want to find out who is the CEO of a company, head over to LinkedIn and usually they’ll have a profile.
Typically, there are three key ways we can use LinkedIn to network. The first will help to find a reference that can be used when applying to an advert, while the other two are great ways to networking using Linkedin.com.
- Shared Connections – The idea here is to run a search on LinkedIn for potential hiring managers in your field. Once you find a potential hiring manager, look to see whom they’re connected to, that you also know. Could you ask your connection to introduce you? I will always look at a candidate who comes recommended by someone I know well.
- In-Mails – To send in-mails on LinkedIn, first you need to upgrade your account to a premium status, however, this allows you to search for potential hiring managers in your field, that you’re not directly connected to, and send them a message. If you don’t want to pay for a LinkedIn account, check out this hiring manager outreach plan.
- Groups – LinkedIn has over two-million groups discussing everything from hiring to problems in the workplace. Try to join a few relevant groups and network across them. Possibly you could use a combination of the two LinkedIn methods above to network across the group.
Who Else Do You Know?
There is a theory that suggests we’re all connected by six steps or fewer called The Six Degrees of Separation. The idea here, we use anyone we know, to connect with someone else who maybe can help or maybe can point us in the right direction.
Start with Ex-Colleagues and ex-managers and find out if they know who a potential hiring manager could be.
Mainstream recruiters typically use a “send and hope method” that typically involves finding candidates and randomly sending them to clients to see if there is a level of interest. If the client is interested, there is a potential fee, if not, repeat until you find someone who is offered.
Niche recruiters work slightly differently. They only work in a specific market with very specific clients that they know well. If the recruiter thinks you’re an expert within your field, often they can encourage their clients to meet you.
A good, well-respected recruiter will be able to open doors that were previously closed. Niche recruiters will often know of positions that are not public knowledge. An example could be where a company wants to fire an employee but needs a replacement to take over. Rather than advertise this role, they would give the position to a recruiter who would work confidentially to find a quick replacement.
Go Back To School
For a professional, going back to school is a real option. In a past post, I discussed my thoughts on going back to school to do an MBA. Personally, I feel an MBA is not worth the expense unless you’re going to a top 15 School.
That said, MBA’s and other “going back to school programs” allow you to network within both the current students and any alumni that have attended in the past.
Business Networking Groups Or Organizations
Joining a business networking club will give you access to senior professionals and a plethora of potential hiring managers. The idea here is to join (often you will have to pay a yearly fee) and go to their business networking events. Often top CEO’s, hiring managers and professionals attend to discuss business ideas for the future, but it’s a great place to start networking.
Join A Social Club Or Sports Club
Social clubs have one significant advantage of being able to catch senior professionals when they are not expecting it. If you go to a networking event, both parties are usually trying to get something out of the conversation.
If you start networking at a sports club, the best tactic is to become friends before you start asking for help. However, once you have a good network, you also now have a plethora of contacts and potential hiring managers to help you find your next job.
Career coaches specialize in helping candidates to point their career in the right direction. They are often seasoned business professionals who have had a long, successful career and a vast network of potential hiring managers that they know well.
A decent career coach can be worth their weight in gold, not only to help you figure out your next move in the short, medium and long-term but also to help you with your networking and open doors that would be closed shut, without their help.
Use Your Customers
Impressing your customers with your work is a great way to find a new position. It’s very common with consultants working on projects who impress and are often asked to stay. If you can show that you work well within the team, the hiring manager is likely to offer you a position to stay on for the long term.
One point, you don’t have to be a consultant or work on projects to network in a company. Working on a temporary contract will allow you to show your skills to the hiring manager while meeting lots of new potential hiring managers and contacts to point you in the right direction.
Networking is a crucial job search strategy to separate yourself from the crowd while directly contacting potential hiring managers. One point to remember, often the best contacts are those where the relationship is formed over time.