When you cold submit your resume online in response to a job posting, you might as well put it straight into a paper shredder. While shooting off countless applications on Indeed or LinkedIn may scratch your anxious itch and make you feel more accomplished, it’s likely slowing you down. And, it may be making you feel dejected as canned email rejections come rolling in.
Stop cold submitting your resume to job postings. Instead, network.
Seeking a new job is a numbers game. On average, 250 candidates will apply to a job listing, 25% of them will be successful in getting past the employer’s hiring software and only four to 5 of them will be asked to meet for an interview. Finding your “in” to a company through networking will exponentially increase your odds of moving your resume to the top of the application pile and an even better chance of securing an in-person interview.
Frequently, most jobs are not even posted online and are often found within a company internally or through a relationship you’ve built due to your networking prowess. To successfully and effectively network, you need to take stock of everyone in your professional and personal contacts. Throw your net and see where it lands. Utilize your current professional connections and those from the past. They are valuable resources. Keep the communication line open. Reach out consistently, even when you’re not on the job hunt, so that when you ask for help, it feels organic.
Most importantly, be sure that you are coming from a place of authenticity and appreciation. Don’t make the relationships you are building one-sided. Make an effort to add value and be helpful. These attributes will not be forgotten. Directly communicate that you are happy to reciprocate if and when the time should come.
Here’s how to boost your chances of getting a new job through the influential powers of networking:
- Ensure your resume is always up to date and ready to be shared at a moment’s notice. You never know who you are going to meet and where. Be prepared.
- Be poignant and direct with exactly what you seek in a potential job. Be able to succinctly communicate your current professional role, your responsibilities, talents and future job vision. You want your contacts to have a clear understanding of your career objectives.
- Maintain and strengthen your current contacts and keep adding to your digital Rolodex. Don’t miss the opportunity to follow, add and engage with your personal and professional contacts on your LinkedIn network. According to LinkedIn, people are more likely to be referred for jobs by their second and third-degree connections over their first-degree contacts. This simple task of building your online network could result in higher chances of securing a job.
- Make the internet work for you, not against you. Make LinkedIn your new best friend. Don’t be afraid to reach out to recruiters and current employees at companies you want to work at or seem interesting. Introduce yourself and start to cultivate a relationship. Remember, “start with the relationship, not the resume.” When the time comes, address your interest in a position if there’s ever an opportunity. This will open the door down the line and keep your name on their radar. Do this daily and see transformative results.
- Network, network, network everywhere you go. This doesn’t have to mean a jam-packed room filled with strangers wearing name tags, unless you thrive in that particular setting. Make networking fun and discover what environment and methods are most comfortable for you. Try different avenues that you might not have previously considered, such as leveraging your college or university alumni network and services, becoming a board member, volunteering, joining a sports team, tapping into your religious organizations, taking a local educational or hobby course, joining professional organizations or starting one on your own. Be creative, friendly, involved and open to what comes to you. New people and experiences mean new interests and opportunities.
- Make informational interviews a common practice. An informational interview is a commonly overlooked but effective way to build your network. This informative meeting is held with someone about a specific position, company, or field you have an interest in and want to learn more about. It is a relaxed environment where you can ask questions and gain insightful feedback. It isn’t considered a job interview and is typically less than thirty minutes. (Reference this guide of questions to ask in your informational interview.)
Investing your time and mastering these networking tools will advance your career trajectory, open you up to new interesting contacts and will successfully land you your next job.