Maybe your primary job search strategy is to apply to lots of positions by just sending your résumé. Then waiting. And waiting and waiting.
Sam has a great résumé. He found 10 potential jobs that are a “perfect fit.” He sprinkled in a few carefully selected keywords for each job, hoping that the company’s applicant tracking system would flag his name as one to consider for interviews.
Now Sam waits, right? Wrong!
Sam is only 5 percent to reaching his job-search goal. He needs to put in 95 percent more time and effort now that he has applied. For example, Sam applied online for an account manager position #4629 at XYZ company. As of this moment, only a robot has viewed his résumé digitally.
What are the remaining actions Sam should take to win this job? There are four steps:
1. Targeted connections
Now that Sam has applied for a specific job, he needs to connect with people he knows and even total strangers to try to get his credentials in front of the hiring manager and recruiter. How? Sam should search LinkedIn to see if he knows anybody at XYZ company or if someone he knows is connected to any employee there. He next needs to master the skill of advanced searches in LinkedIn and seek out possible hiring managers and recruiters for this specific job.
Connecting with people on LinkedIn is not networking! It’s just connecting your profile and theirs in a massive database. That’s it. Networking begins with a phone call, a face-to-face meeting or, at the very least, an e-mail exchange. Here are Sam’s next steps:
Request a Linkedin connection with a personal message rather than the default message. Open the full profile of someone with whom you wish to connect, then erase the default message. Instead say something like, “Dear , I just applied to a position in your company and am eager to connect with you to learn more. Regards…”
Once they accept, send an e-mail (if that’s available) to request a phone introduction: “Thank you for connecting with me. I just applied to the account manager position #4629 at XYZ company. I would appreciate 15 minutes of your time on the phone to ask you two questions.” If the e-mail address is not available, send the message through LinkedIn.
After the phone conversation, if the person is willing to meet, request just 30 minutes of time in the office, not at a loud coffee shop.
3. Enlist specific support
Here are Sam’s questions and items to request from the new contact:
- Can you please confirm that the position is still open?
- Do you have an employee referral program within XYZ company? If so, will you please submit my credentials?
- In order to help me follow up on my application, could you please provide the names and e-mail addresses of the hiring manager and the recruiter?
- If I send you an email with my credentials, will you please forward them to the hiring manager and recruiter?
Rule of thumb: Follow this process with at least three people for each job you are applying for.
4. Follow up with each person
It’s amazing how many of my job search clients only do this with one person, then wait. And wait. Follow up with each one at least three more times, spaced out a week between each message. If you can’t do it, your job search must not be that important.
Yes, the first time you go through these steps it will feel awkward. However, once you are over the hump and start seeing results, you will get over the awkwardness. And this method will help you network for other important goals in your life such as selling, building alliances, building a business or just meeting fabulous people.
Remember: People are on LinkedIn to network and help others. If you don’t ask, you will never know. Change your game, job seekers, and stop spraying and praying!