Activate Your Network
A 2012 Federal Reserve Bank of New York study found that candidates referred for a job were two times more likely to get interviews and that they had almost double the odds of being hired as their competitors.
When you think of how the job market has changed, this phenomenon makes complete sense. In the 1970s, a company might receive 50 resumes in response to a job posting, whereas today, they receive hundreds. By tapping the networking of their employees, employers can zero in on quality candidates in less time and with better results.
This lesson is all about planting the seeds for securing introductions that lead to jobs. Now that you’ve figured out exactly who you need to know to get your foot in the door of your target companies, it’s time to activate your network by starting with what’s already right under your feet.
Begin reaching out to contacts where you have a first-degree relationship, meaning you’ve talked to them before or have already connected with them in some way in the past. You’ll reach out to these contacts for introductions to people they know who can bring you closer to the inside of your target companies—as close as possible. For every four people you contact, you can usually count on a response from one. So, if you have a list of 10 big and small fish companies, your outreach list might total 40 people, 10 of whom you can expect a response from.
And yes, you can grade on a curve when you have a particularly powerful contact at a company. Save yourself the trouble of reaching out to three other people for that target.
Try using this template and make it your own as you do this outreach:
Subject: Introduction to [target name] for [1-2 words describing purpose]Body: Hi [name],
Since we last spoke, I’ve decided it would be helpful to gain [experience type] of experience.
[Company name] is one of the companies I admire in the [industry] space and I noticed that you are in touch with [connection name], a [their job title] there.
Would you be willing to introduce me to [him/her]? If you feel uncomfortable making an introduction, no worries. Alternatively, I would appreciate any tips you might have for reaching out to [connection name].
I’ve included an easy-to-copy blurb below, to provide context, but let me know if there’s any other information I can provide. Thanks in advance your help!
Including a blurb makes it easy for your connection to pass along your details, increasing the odds that she’ll actually do it. And remember, the ask is never about a job or passing on your resume (though you’ll absolutely have one ready). Job talk actually narrows your options in networking mode, because it’s a strict yes/no scenario.
You’re creating a dialogue. Coffee dates, informational interviews, and general networking chats allow room for discovery and options you didn’t know existed, and opportunities your contact might not of thought of before either.
Keep a list of each message, including the date and time it was sent, who you sent it to, and what message you sent. This will keep you organized and on top of your follow-up activities during each wave of outreach you perform. You may find it helpful to organize all of your job search communications using an Excel spreadsheet or with a job search CRM like JibberJobber.
In tomorrow’s lesson, we’ll tackle the myth that cold networking is slimy and ineffective. Learn why this isn’t true and find out how to start authentic relationships that move you toward what you want.
See you there,
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