Top 3 Ways to Network Your Way to a Job

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If sending out 100 resumes is your idea of job hunting, you’re doing it wrong.

Every time you apply to a job online, your resume competes with dozens, sometimes hundreds of others. The odds are slim that a hiring manager will pick your resume out from the stack, let alone call you for an interview.

The key is not the quantity of jobs you apply to – it’s the quality of your strategy. And the best strategy is to rely on people who know you well. Here are three ways to network your way to a job.

Go Social

LinkedIn and Twitter have largely replaced for job seekers. Devote some time to build up your profile on LinkedIn and add your contacts. But don’t stop there! Make sure you join at least a couple of LinkedIn groups, too. Every time you post an idea or advice to the group, you increase your exposure among your fellow professionals.

Did you know that people post jobs on Twitter? Try searching by hashtag – simply type the # symbol followed by the job title you seek, with no spaces. For example, if you’re seeking a job as an office manager, search #officemanager and see how many tweets come up. Then follow the links to apply.

Conduct Your Own Interview

Here’s a fun way to turn the tables on the traditional interview. Once you’ve identified a company where you’d love to work, use LinkedIn to find three or four people who work there. Send them a friendly email, offer to buy them coffee, and ask nicely for 15 minutes of their time.

During this reverse interview, what do you say? Remember, you’re NOT asking them to hire you. Yet. Instead, you’re gathering intelligence, finding out as much as you can in 15 minutes. Some questions you might ask:

  • What do you love about working for this company?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you confront?
  • What do you see on the horizon for the next month? Next quarter? Next year?

And most importantly, end your interview with this special request: Who else do you know? Who else should I meet? Would you be willing to introduce us?

This last question is key, because it sets you up to take the next step. As you’re introduced to more professionals, your network expands. Keep doing this step, and over time you’ll improve the chances that an employee will refer you to a hiring manager.

On that note, here’s a pro tip from Dr. John Sullivan, a thought leader in human resources and recruiting. Dr. Sullivan offers some wisdom “that only insiders know. And that is to become an employee referral (the highest volume way to get hired) . . . because the recruiter knows that they will likely have to provide feedback to that employee when they later inquire as to ‘why their referral was rejected,’ résumés from referrals are reviewed much more closely.”

Be a Joiner

You can join a professional organization to meet people, find a mentor, and hear about jobs before they open up. Chances are, no matter what industry you want to work in, there’s probably a professional association. For example, if you want to find work in health care, there’s the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. Search for your favorite industry, and find your local chapter. You may have to pay membership dues, but you’ll find they usually pay off in the end.

In this economy, searching for a good job can be time-consuming. But take your time, and be patient. When you tap into your professional network, you’ll find that your time and effort are worth the hard work.

Written by: Michael Mussman
Michael Mussman is Editor of Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.

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