The majority of the best jobs are never advertised. For many job seekers, this can pose a problem. How do you apply for jobs that aren’t advertised?
Start with people you know, and meet those who might have the insight to your job search. Talk to people who know people who may be able to help you out. Chat with strangers at parties, get-togethers, informal dinners - wherever you can get a chance to congregate with others. You can cold call people who you have read about in the newspaper, write letters to prominent community or business leaders, and utilize second- and third-level social media contacts. Cultivate your contacts; build professional relationships
Brainstorm for Contacts
Think of everyone who could possibly be a contact. Don’t just talk to people who you know could clearly help you out. There are friendly, accessible people in unrelated fields who often have leads that are happy to share with you. People through work or volunteer activities can have access to a diverse crowd that can be extremely helpful, for example:
Family – Friends – Relatives – Neighbors - Professors – Alumni – Former Employees - Former co-workers – Public Relations officials – Politicians – Journalists - Business execs – Non-Profit Directors – Physicians – Hair Dressers – Prominent Community members – Members of Professional organizations or various clubs
New Places to Network
Social media sites, i.e. LinkedIn - Twitter - Facebook - blogs - and many more. Use these wisely, as potential employers will most likely research you on these, too
Approach opportunities with a game plan. Before you walk into a conference, dinner party, or group event, do your homework. Find out who will be there, or do your best to find your target audience. When you have a list of potential contacts thoroughly research their work and backgrounds then make up questions and conversational statements that reflect your research. Think of what your goals are and what information you want to walk away with. What do you want to convey to the people you meet? Be flexible and look for opportunities you were not anticipating
There are No Boundaries
You can expect to walk away with some business cards at the obvious places, but often it’s the non-obvious places that surprise us; the adjacent treadmill at the gym, someone in the grocery store line, someone who sits next to you on an airplane. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by. A casual exchange like this can turn into a pivotal moment in your career path. Don’t hesitate to network with someone who has no obvious connection to your ambitions; he or she may be able to give you a job lead in your career field
After you’ve had a good contact, write a thank you note and refer to specific helpful advice. Additionally, keep in touch with your contacts; if you stay on their radar screens they won’t be able to forget you if an opportunity comes up. And if you get a job, tell them thank you again
What Goes Around Comes Around
Treat others with respect; call and write back people who contact you; make yourself available to others - and you will get the same in return more often than not. The higher up you climb in the professional world, you find that everyone seems to know everyone else, so if you’re impolite, condescending, or disposed to burning bridges, you will face many roadblocks. If you treat them with kindness and respect now, they will treat you the same later
Make it Easy for Your Contacts
Whoever you call or talk to, make it as easy as possible for them to help you. Explain what you specifically want, and ask detail-oriented questions, e.g., I’m looking for a personnel job with ______, do you know anybody who works there? May I have their number? May I use your name when I introduce myself to them? Solicit career tips and advice from contacts. Most people like to talk about themselves. By asking them for insight from their personal experiences and successes, they will feel important and respected
Keep a record of your networking. Whether you do this in your planner, notebook, or on your computer, it’s important to keep track of your contacts. Make sure your system has plenty of room for contacts’ names, addresses, e-mails, phone numbers, companies, job titles, how you met them, and subsequent conversations you have with them
Networking is a Lifetime Activity
Don't drop everyone as soon as you find a job! Networking is about more than finding a job vacancy. Networking helps you stay current on what's going on in your career field - what the trends are, new technology, company mergers, who's moving and into what new position. It helps you stay knowledgeable and competitive in your field. It also keeps you connected for when you are in the job market again or when you are ready for a promotion or transfer - and for most of us, that is every few years!
Another useful tool is job search, or in job research, is the Informational Interview.
Social media helps potential employers get a better idea, before they even talk with you, of who you are and what you have done. They also pick up clues about your personality and how you might fit into their corporate culture. Social media has become a fast and cheap "background check" before an interview or job offer.
Through social media, employers and recruiters can learn:
• How well you communicate (spelling, punctuation, and grammar as well as ability to clearly communicate ideas).
• Your work history and education.
• Your industry knowledge.
• Your use of alcohol or illegal substances.
• Your use of profanity.
• How you spend your non-work time.
Employers also use social media to find qualified applicants, often a faster and cheaper method of identifying good job candidates than posting a job.
Networking with Social Media
LinkedIn is a site where people can develop professional relationships for many purposes - business issues and trends, career management, networking, job leads, consulting opportunities, more. LinkedIn is the number one social network for job search. If you have time for only one social network for your job search, LinkedIn is the one you should use.
LinkedIn Learning Center
Learn about all of the different features you'll find on LinkedIn, from a brief overview to detailed tips
I'm On LinkedIn Now What?, by Jason Alba
Good book, easy read, many tips and resources. Stay current and read many more tips by reviewing his blog: ImOnLinkedInNowWhat.com
A few great tips:
- Make sure your profile is complete, has a professional photo and is searchable. Recruiters search LinkedIn for candidates by keywords, job titles, and location. Make sure your profile comes up in searches by having the right keywords (targeted to the job you aspire to) in your headline, specialities, titles and job descriptions
- Obtain LinkedIn recommendations from supervisors and co-workers
- Add to your connections and use your connections effectively to help with your job search. It's also important to help your connections, too, when you can - networking works both ways
- Follow companies of interest on LinkedIn. Visit their LinkedIn profiles to learn more about the company, stay abreast of updates, new hires, promotions and job postings
- Search for connections at companies that work in the department you'd like to work in. See what LinkedIn groups they are members of and join the groups. Then participate in professional discussions. This will help you get your name in front of key people.
Twitter can be an excellent resource for your job search, introducing you to new people, organizations, ideas, and, of course, jobs. Twitter also provides you with a valuable tool for building your online reputation and bringing you to the attention of employers and recruiters. Guide for Twitter Job Search
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