Laying the Foundation of Your Insider Network
Episode #3 of the course How to find a dream job and get hired by Ryan Lecour
Welcome to Day 3!
Let’s consider what’s meant by the “front door” and the “back door.”
“Front Door” vs. “Back Door’”
The “front door” that I’m referring to just means the typical ways that companies pretend they want you to contact them and apply to them (e.g., filling out tons of information on career portals, emailing general inboxes, leaving messages on some voicemail somewhere, etc.).
Here’s the secret: They want you doing this because it tells them right away where they can slot you in—either nowhere or in one of their “tough fills”—i.e., the jobs that nobody wants. Going through the front door is a demonstration of low value—an LVT.
Candid managers will admit that they give very low regard to people just firing out resumes. They want to find people through other people that they already know. They want referrals and people who have been “pre-screened” by their connections. They know that their success rate goes way up when this is the case. And this is what we mean by the backdoor.
The best jobs are “behind the scenes.” So, you have to get behind those scenes, i.e., become an insider.
A Solid LinkedIn Profile
Let’s consider a few tips to spruce up that profile of yours and have it serve you well in networking.
1. Toggle the “Notify Your Network” switch to “No” so that every little thing you do doesn’t get automatically broadcasted out.
2. Customize your public profile so folks can easily see everything on it. There’s no need to hide anything—we want to be transparent and visible.
3. Build out your profile according to the Who-Cares-Test principle.
4. Do whatever it takes to get a good solid professional profile picture done—one of you smiling and at your best.
5. Consider creating a credibility image for your background photo. This photo captures your best headlines, highlights, and accomplishments. For example, some folks include covers of books they’ve written or pictures of them speaking at conferences.
6. Create a compelling search-friendly headline that relates back to your main value proposition (you can use wiki symbols).
7. Add a summary that clearly outlines what you do, how you do it, whom you do it for, and what kind of success you have had. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or get too cute—just be straightforward, direct, and to the point. Keep it relatively brief.
Once we have a solid profile built, it’s time to interact systematically with target companies.
How to Organize and Approach the Data
Our goal is to source companies, connectors of interest, and decision-makers of interest. Connectors are insiders in the company who are relevant to the job you are targeting. However, they do not have job titles that imply any hiring authority. Decision-makers of interest are typically department heads, management, owners, and other similar job titles that carry the authority to make hiring decisions. For these, you’re looking for managers, directors, owners, VPs, presidents, and the like.
Let’s make a simple table with three columns:
|Companies of Interest||Connectors of Interest||Decision-makers of Interest|
|ABC Company||Cheryl Jones, Product Manager||Silvia Smith, SVP of Product Development|
|Kevin Lee, Product Designer|
Once you have a good list of companies, categorize them by desirability to you—A companies (most desirable), B companies, and C companies (least desirable). All of them are important. We want to start with the C companies and work backward with everything we do. This generates and builds progressive leverage throughout the process.
Commencing Interaction with Connectors of Interest
Now, the plan is to communicate and interact with the connectors of interest using a “you first” approach. Here’s the subtext you want to get across to connectors of interest: “I’m uniquely positioned to do this thing that would benefit you in this way … I want to understand more about it so I can make it relevant and valuable … I would love to briefly discuss …”
Our purpose here is to establish a “warm” relationship with the company so we can transfer that warmth to the application itself. Pre-qualified (warm) applications are 95% more effective than cold ones (i.e., applications that are accompanied by no prior interaction with the target company).
So, to put it simply, your initial goal in this stage is to start becoming a “valuable friend to have” for non-decision-making (but potentially connected and influential) insiders already working in some way with the company of interest. These folks will be the ones to eventually introduce you to the DMs—the decision-makers of interest.
Our focus tomorrow will be to look at the process of building insider connections in greater detail.
Happy job marketeering until then,
Highly Effective Networking: Meet the Right People and Get a Good Job by Orville Pierson
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