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“It’s down to word of mouth,”
Explains career coach-Sinead English-“When it comes to job vacancies, your network is invaluable to help you find work. But your contacts are not “mind readers”. If they don’t know what type of job you are looking for then they can’t help you get it”.
When companies are looking for new staff one of the first things management will do is an “all staff announcement” regarding the role going live- It’s not uncommon for organisations to also offer to pay a bonus as an incentive to staff who referred a candidate who ends up getting hired.
Why do businesses prefer to recruit this way?
Because sourcing new staff and dealing with hiring agencies is time-consuming and pretty expensive.
“It makes sense for companies to access their own network,” says Sinead English “If your company has a winning team who is intelligent and hard-working the tendency is that their staff’s network is as well- as the saying goes – like attracts like”
How should YOU access YOUR network to get a job?
Job hunting is hard work and we would recommend you approach it by creating a project plan where your network plays a central part in it.
However, before we get into how to make your network help you get a job, let’s recap on what should already be in place beforehand:
- Your CV should be updated and ready to go.
- You should have a clear vision of the roles you are considering. Based on your CV, write down 3 roles you can potentially see yourself in. E.g. 1) Account Management, 2) PR and Social Media Content Manager, 3) Business Management, etc.
- Under your choice of industries, write down a “wish list” of companies you would like to work for: E.g. Technology: Apple, Microsoft, Arista or Consumer Goods/Retail: Amazon, Tesco / Other Sectors: Higher Education Institutions, Local Council, Health Services.
TIP: Items 2 & 3 are important to prepare you for this next stage. Now onto your network.
We have made it simple for you and have boiled it down to 3 easy steps to follow:
Step 1. Create a list of Close Connections separated by columns.
Close connections would be made of close family members, friends, previous or current colleagues whom you are in close contact and have a good relationship.
Now, Identify Who you will speak to and Why– choose What questions you will ask.
|Jane Smith||Previously worked in Tech company as Account Manager||What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job?|
Fill this chart for each of your contacts. Once this step is complete you are ready to Contact all of your Network.
Before you begin to cringe, let me clarify that this is NOT TO ASK THEM FOR A JOB- This is to ask for any of the following: Job leads or postings, Referrals, Informational Interview questions or all the above.
Step 2. Here is how you can contact your Close Connections…
Craft an email or a LinkedIn message- This should be Personal, Concise and Positive.
Tap into your knowledge of your connections and tailor your letter to each individual using the table above.
Explain where you have worked, in and what position and what you are willing to do now (pick 1 of the roles you have in mind) and where you would ideally like to work in (pick 1 of the companies you chose)
The ASK- Say you are enlisting their help with any leads or contacts, or even to share their personal experience working in similar roles or similar companies and if they would be willing to have a 20-minute informational interview call with you?
Finalise the message by saying you are attaching your CV and that you look forward to hearing back from them.
PS: Offer to return the favour in any way you can and say THANK YOU!
Be polite and professional in this email as it is likely that it will be forwarded onward to one of their contacts or colleagues.
TIP: Schedule a follow-up email or text for one weeks time. Be patient but also don’t let too much time pass.
Alternatively, you could ask your close connection if there is anyone else, they know that they would recommend you speak to.
“My past experience in X, Y and Z. If you have personal experience working in similar roles/companies or know someone who does and would be willing to arrange for a 20 minute informational interview over a call with me I’d greatly appreciate it – I have attached my CV for your reference, please feel free to pass it along”.
Step 3. Prepare your Informational Interview questions
For this step, we have put together a list of useful questions you can use to help you visualise yourself in the role or company you are aiming to work in. For more questions to ask on your Informational Interview click HERE
These recommendations are tried and proven
By following these 3 steps you will also be positioning yourself within your network’s radar as someone who is organised, proactive, friendly, eager and actively pursuing their career dream. Who wouldn’t want to be associated and recommending someone with those qualities?
Apart from being in someone’s “inner circle” you have increased your chances to be referred for a new position, while simultaneously strengthening your own links and connections.
This is a win -win strategy. It will take some initial planning and it means you move away from your comfort zone of relying solely on job posts, but it’s worth every bit of effort in the long run.