When you’re applying for a job, employers want to know 2 basic things about you. The first thing they want to know is whether you have the skills to do the job. To find out, they look to your resume and check out your degree, your work experience, and your skills.
The next thing they want to know is about your character. Maybe they will check your Facebook pages and other social media posts. But the traditional way of confirming good character is through traditional networking. While tools like LinkedIn are decidedly high tech, the underlying philosophy is as old as time. Employers have one question you need to answer: do you have someone we know who can vouch for your character?
Networks function as the relationship lubricant of the professional world. It’s like having mutual friends introduce you to someone you want to date. When that mutual friend attests to your good character, then you have an “in”. The same goes for when you’re trying to land a job. If you know people in that company who can vouch for you, then you have a decided advantage.
Here are some tips that can help you make use of networking to find yourself a job:
- Obey the 2 Prime Directives on networking. Don’t explicitly ask for a job. Don’t explicitly ask for a job interview. The point of networking is to just let them know about you and your desire to work for certain companies in certain positions. If you’re too blatant in using the network to get a job, you’ll turn off a lot of people. Be more subtle, please. It’s like if you’re a man on a date with a woman you find attractive. You compliment her and show your admiration openly, but you don’t come right out and proposition her.
- LinkedIn. Of all the online platforms for professionals, nothing beats LinkedIn when it comes to networking. This must always be your first website to use. Connect with various professionals online to see whether their company and their culture fit with your character. In turn, these people are also checking you out if you’re a good fit for them. Wait until they expressly ask for your resume before you send them one.
- Twitter. Find the various hiring managers and recruiters on Twitter and find out more about them from their tweets. If you have many things in common, then “like” their tweets, retweet them, or engage with them. Maybe after a while, you compliment their posts and start to build a rapport. Social media is a great channel to get the words out.
- Don’t forget to network in your current workplace. You may find yourself a mentor who can show you how to navigate workplace politics. Or perhaps you just make friends with people, and when these people start their own business or join a new company, they may offer to hire you with them.
- Maintain your connections. Your connections are like friendships. If you don’t talk for a few years, then you may be forgotten. So make sure your network stays strong and in place by keeping in touch regularly. Even posts every few weeks or so can work.
In the end, using a network to land a job is a bit like putting plenty of fishing poles into a lake. You never know which pole will get a bite. You just never know, but at least you know that the poles are put there just in case!