You’ve heard it all before. If you want to find a job you need to network your way there. The odds of getting a job from applying online though a job board is incredibly small yet many people do just that because they decide networking is not for them.
I recently worked with a client who was let go from her previous job. She had been searching for jobs for a while before coming to me. When I asked her about what she was doing in terms of networking I realized she avoided reaching out to all the key people that would best be able to help her out. She was so worried about what people might say about her because she had been let go. After working with my client on overcoming her fears she decided to reach out to those key people. Within two weeks she found the perfect job working for a great company, all because of one of these contacts. So often we know what we need to do, but somehow we can’t get ourselves to do it.
Networking is the best way to get a job, but how you go about it is critical to get the best results. Below are 7 steps you can take to network your way to your next job using LinkedIn. (Note that this requires that you have completed your LinkedIn profile and that you have expanded your network).
1) Know what you want and get clear on your elevator pitch. Make sure you can say who you are, what you do, what you have accomplished and how you can be of value to a company in less than 30 seconds.
2) Create a list of target companies you would like to work for. Go to LinkedIn’s company search and search for the company you would like to work for. LinkedIn will automatically bring up all the people in your network that work for these companies. These people are your gateways to finding a job at that company. They could provide you with valuable inside information and may be able to refer you for a position. If you only have second degree connections, you can click on your second degree connection and it will show who you know who knows the person working for the company. You can reach out to them and ask for an introduction.
3) Go to the advanced search on LinkedIn and search for people who could be in a position to hire you at these companies. What would be the typical title of a hiring manager for your target role? Use LinkedIn’s advanced search to look up people at the company with that title. You may find a hiring manager looking to hire someone like you.
4) Use the LinkedIn groups to connect with key people. Once you have identified key people who could help you get a job, find out which groups they belong to and join those groups. If you are fellow group members, you can send a direct message to that person. Now, you’re in direct contact with a person who could potentially hire you.
5) When you meet with people online, develop relationships. Don’t expect someone to help you until they have gotten to know you. Be curious about them, ask them good questions, listen and provide value. Think about what you can do to help them out. Don’t ask if they can help you get a job until you have developed a relationship with them and they know what you have to offer.
6) If the person you’re networking with cannot help you out, ask them if they know of someone who could be a good contact for you. If you have been successful at showing the person how you can be of value, they may already have someone in mind that they would like to introduce you to.
7) Don’t give up. People tell me they have been “doing this networking thing” but it hasn’t worked for them, so they stop doing it. However, finding a job in today’s market can be tough and your persistence is the key to landing the job.
How are you leveraging your LinkedIn network in your job search? I’d be curious to hear what’s worked for you. Feel free to comment below.