In just 10 weeks of job hunting, I got 13 interviews and landed a fantastic job at College Prowler. I even scored an interview at Google, that hallowed land where employees are treated to free sushi every day.
So how did I get so many great job leads?
By NOT applying for jobs!
That might sound strange. But check out the graph below. As you can see, instead of uploading a resume and competing with the thousands of other fellow resume uploaders, I made myself stand out by establishing personal connections within each target employer. For each company, I found someone to introduce me to an employee. When that wasn’t possible, I just worked up the nerve to call up and introduce myself.
The result? 13 interviews in 10 weeks.
Here’s How it Works
Look at each target company’s LinkedIn page to see if you share connections with any employees. In other words, you’re investigating whether you know anyone who knows someone at the target company. If you don’t have a lot of LinkedIn contacts, quickly add your friends, professional contacts, and acquaintances as connections.
If You Do Find Connections to the Employer
Send a short email to each mutual connection to ask for an introduction. For example, here’s an example of an email I sent to someone who knew someone at Google. This ultimately lead to an all-expenses-paid on-site interview at Google Headquarters in Silicon Valley.
I hope all is well.
I saw that you’re connected to Mark Rivera on LinkedIn (http://linkedin.com/in/rivera).
I’m wondering if you could provide a 2-sentence email introduction to him?
I’d love to have a 15-minute phone call with Mark to learn about a day in the life of a Google People Analyst.
Quantitative analysis of employee behavior holds a special place for me, having earned a Master’s in quantitative psychology and after running a start-up focused on boosting employee engagement (http://communiteach.com)
It looks like Google People Analysts explore these same topics, so I’d love to get Mark’s feedback on whether I could be a good match for the open Analyst positions.
You can see that in this particular email, I said I wanted to learn about a day in the life at the target employee’s job, and to learn his perspective on whether my background could be a match for a particular position. In some other emails, I would also ask to learn their perspective on how to get started in their particular career path.
And, although I’m interested in learning their answers, to be honest it’s mostly just an excuse to make a personal connection inside the target company.
I sent about 20 of these emails, and believe it or not, most people said “yes.” It’s true that some people said “no” or never responded. But who cares? Some did respond!
These emails lead to several friendly, informal phone chats, which often ended with the employee offering to personally send my resume to the right person inside the company. As a result, I’d get contacted for an interview! Score.
If You Don’t Find Connections to the Employer
Sometimes you won’t have a direct connection to anyone inside a particular company. So, you’ll have to figure out a way to establish personal contact yourself. This is harder, but I still got three interviews this way.
Make a list of 3-4 questions that aren’t answered in the job description, e.g., “What’s the culture of the Quantitative Analysis department like?” Then cold-call and/or tweet the recruiter (if they have one), as well as someone who does the job you want to do. Tell them you’d like to ask some questions about the position, and ask when would be a good time to talk.
Remember, successfully networking to find a job is all about making personal contacts. Don’t just complain that you don’t have the connections in a given industry. Be aggressive and make direct connections yourself!
What do you think? Will you try this job search tactic? Post a comment and let me know!
About the Author: Ben Paul is a Quality Assurance Analyst for College Prowler, a comprehensive college resource with more than 325,000 student reviews and coverage of over 7,000 schools. Previously, he was Co-founder and Web Developer for CommuniTeach, and he gained experience in quantitative data analysis via a M.S. in Psychology. Follow Ben on Twitter!