With social media and the Internet, when we approach the project methodically, we have excellent sources of information. We also have methods to connect with those hiring professionals. Ideally, an employee (not on the HR staff) hands the hiring manager – or her boss – a copy of your resume.
Here are 5 ways to find a VIP who helps you make a connection to the right job for you.
1. Networking Through Your School
Regardless of how long ago you attended the school, most colleges and universities have alumni associations. With them often comes career services and other alumni support.
Look for fellow alums who are working in your target profession, industry, and/or for your target employers. A quick way to find them is through LinkedIn. Simply search on the school name or the technical training name, like a certification, in LinkedIn to find other alums. Also search through Facebook, and check out LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups for your schools.
2. Networking Through Former Colleagues
Another excellent source, particularly if you have worked for a large employer, are “corporate alumni” groups. These are networks, often with directories, meetings, and websites. Typically, they are made up of people who have worked for the same employer at some point in their career. They don’t all know each other. But they do have the common experience of working in the same large organization.
Find these former colleagues through social media and in face-to-face meetings like professional/industry association gatherings or corporate alumni reunions. Like school alums, there is a common ground for discussion and connection among people who worked for the same employer, even years apart.
Sometimes these groups are sponsored by the employer, and even include current employees because they can be an excellent source of “boomerang” hires. Again, search through LinkedIn and Facebook to find these organizations.
3. Networking Through Professional or Industry Associations
These can be gold mines for both professional growth and networking! Many associations have (no surprise) LinkedIn Groups where information is shared, events are promoted, and jobs are even posted.
Attend local events. Bold job seekers can go past attending. Those who are experts on some relevant topic may also speak at an event. Less bold job seekers can join the program committee to help plan programs. They can also meet other committee members and grow their network.
Many, if not most, professional associations have job boards connected to their websites. Usually, these job boards are free for both members and non-members to use. Bonus: the jobs posted there may not be widely posted elsewhere.
4. Networking Through Informational Interviews
This is often a misunderstood and badly used method. But it is so successful when done correctly. Like an industry or professional association, information interviews can be an opportunity to learn and network. Remember, this is research, not a job interview. Do not hand over a resume during an informational interview.
I have spoken to several job seekers who practiced Dick’ Bolle’s (author of What Color is Your Parachute?) classic approach to great success. They learned a great deal and also made connections that ended up helping them land a job.
- Approach “workers” and hiring professionals.
- Prepare a list of questions for the interview, like: How did you get into this field? What do you like most about this job?
- Limit the interview to 20 minutes or less.
If the person being interviewed asks for a resume, offer to email or send it later. Also, consider asking about connecting via LinkedIn.
5. Networking Through Other Local Groups
Attend more than one meeting, and introduce yourself to other meeting attendees. Help other members, and become known as a reliable source of good information. A fast and painless way to meet other members, particularly if you consider yourself shy or introverted? Become a volunteer, helping the group.
My favorite job is checking people in for meetings. In that job, I get to welcome them to the meeting then hand them their name tags. For me, this makes it much easier to talk with them later during the meeting.
Networking is the most effective way to land a job. Job boards have millions of job postings available today. But the best way to use them? Research. What jobs are growing in demand? Who is hiring what, where?
To get on the fast track, try to connect with hiring professionals through networking.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Work Coach Cafe.
About the Author: Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps . She is also a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Susan has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Google+.