The question we get most often from job seekers is, “How do I get a good job”
This is a loaded question and tough to answer quickly. Which is why we’ve prepared a complete set of guides on the topic.
However, I wanted to touch upon one job search technique, which people don’t use enough or effectively.
When employers are looking for a new people, one of their preferred hiring sources is a referral from someone they trust.
If you’re looking for a job, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting a referral that will land you a job.
List 10 to 15 companies you want to work for and have a good chance of being hired at.
It is important to be realistic here.
If you went to an average university and you haven’t been a top performer for your employer, your chances of getting hired with a highly competitive organization are probably slim.
Don’t devote all your time, effort, and hopes, on jobs that will more than likely not work out.
In your list, have a few companies that are a stretch for you to get into, a few that are just right, and a few that are a safe bet as backup.
Make a list of 20-30 people.
These should be individuals who you know reasonably well, who like you and who may also know someone importance at one of the companies you listed in step one.
Once you have your list of people, document how you will contact them. Some people prefer emails, and some might appreciate a phone call, so make sure you reach out to them accordingly.
Get something from each of those 20 people.
Try to get as many of the following as possible from every person you contact:
- Resume and LinkedIn profile feedback.
- An introduction to a potential employer. Shoot for a face-to-face meeting, but if that’s not possible, ask for a good word to be put in on your behalf. Or, see if your contact will pass your resume on to the potential employer. At the least, ask if you can use their name as a referral.
- Any other companies or people your contact thinks you should get in touch with.
- If your contacts don’t have any leads, ask if they’re willing to keep their ears open and contact you when one comes up.
Make sure that you give your contacts a synopsis that tells them the types of jobs you’re most interested in.
Also throw in a subtle bit of marketing, to let them know why you’re a good person to recommend. People won’t want to put their reputation at risk by recommending someone who turns out to be a lemon.
Contact people at your shortlisted organizations.
This could be people who your contacts introduced you to or recommended, or, for organizations for which you didn’t receive any warm leads, a cold outreach. LinkedIn is a great source for finding relevant people extremely fast. Have a look at the networking section of our job search guide for the best ways to use LinkedIn.
Ideally, the person will have the power to hire you, but it could be someone on a similar level, or a little lower, who could get you into a meeting with a hiring manager.
As a last resort, contact human resources, which could still be helpful to you.
Use your connection’s name when you communicate with the company.
Try to get something out of your interaction with people in target companies.
Ideally, you’ll get an interview and subsequent job offer out of your interaction.
If not, try to yield something of value like feedback on your resume, or the start of a relationship that makes you known to the hiring powers. Of perhaps some valuable insider information about the company/industry.
If the meeting doesn’t turn up anything, ask if you can contact them again in some time, to see if anything has changed.
It actually is. It’s just that most people turn straight to job sites/boards when looking for a job, and don’t really use their existing contacts for referrals in a big or organised way.
But once people try this, they see how well it works and like how much control it gives them over their job search, especially compared to some other ‘black-hole’ methods like job sites and often recruiters.