Tapping into the hidden job market takes time. It’s the “long game” as far as changing up your career goes. To boot, networking your way to the inside edges of companies won’t immediately land you interviews for your dream job. Even after you follow up with your new contacts, there’s still work to do, because the reality is no one is in control of your job hunt but you.
When you see a friend steeped in job offers, it’s safe to assume she’s been doing this backdoor work on an ongoing basis during her career.
Your commitment to creating your opportunities is a huge competitive advantage—most people don’t continue pushing and revert back to the spray ‘n’ method: Submitting their resumes to black holes until someone bites.
Rather than throw away all your efforts networking and building relationships, press on with the following ideas in mind:
1. Your Personal Brand ≠ Tattoo
Of course, your resume is now stunning. Your LinkedIn profile is a masterpiece. But the thing is, if your personal brand doesn’t appropriately align you with a company based on what you’ve learned from your contacts on the inside, it’s won’t reap the results you need.
Continually incorporate takeaways about teams, cultures, and industry quirks from the conversations you’re having into your brand. Your personal brand isn’t permanent; it’s not inked into your skin. It’s a fluid entity that should evolve with you and the value you can offer.
2. Persistence is Polite
The likelihood that one of your networking contacts will ask or agree to pass on your resume is high. The chance that your resume might get lost in the lurch is just as high. Think about it—research shows that most of us receive more than 100 emails a day on average. It also shows that most emails die after just one exchange. Don’t mistake a lack of response for rejection. Circle back regularly before deciding you’ve reached a dead end.
Likewise, consistency is key when it comes to warming relationships and generally staying in touch. Don’t wait until your next job search to activate your circle. Establish wink marketing and follow up routines that serve you for the long haul and you’ll always have a strong network of contacts you can turn to.
3. Never Stop Creating Opportunities for Yourself
Don’t halt your efforts just because you had a great interview or because someone agreed to pass along your resume. Sure, it’s great to think positively, and immersing yourself in yet another hiring process is grueling, but why risk losing your momentum? Never stop creating opportunities for yourself. Should your dream company reject you (or ghost you entirely, yikes!) you won’t be painted into a corner. On the same note, engaging in various conversations at once typically leads to the situation where you have multiple job offers to choose from—and that’s a beautiful place to be.
When you add up the time you might spend applying to a zillion online openings and hearing nothing back, long game, backdoor approaches to landing interviews actually save you time. Remember: you had a reason you wanted a new job—likely more than one—and giving up now will mean those reasons will still be there at 9 AM tomorrow. And every day to follow.
Keep hustling, connect the dots, tweak your approach, and the right opportunity will present itself.
Best of luck,
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