Communities: The Inside Track For Job Seekers
Imagine this: You are a manager and you need to fill a job. So, you have more work than you can handle – you are busy enough to need another person – and you have to take time out of your busy schedule to find a qualified person. Ugh.
Now you know if you put out an advertisement, you will get hundreds of resumes; may be hundreds of resumes each day. Many people are looking for jobs and they’ll send out resumes by the dozen, even is they are only remotely qualified. Who has time to sift through hundreds of resumes when you are already too busy doing your job?
Now imagine that a person who this manager knows and trusts walks in with a resume and says something like, “I know ‘so and so’. He/she is a hard worker, is reliable and diligent, is easy to get along with, and I think is a good fit for the job opening.”
The manager interviews this ‘so and so’. It’s a pretty good fit and the job is filled. May be the job was never even advertised. The outplacement company Challenger Gray & Christmas states in some of their press releases that up to 80% of the available jobs are never advertised, but are filled through other means like the referral in the above example.
Once you understand that emailing your resume out to dozens of job postings is putting you in competition with hundreds of other job seekers, you realize that to get an insider’s advantage you need to spend most of your job search time doing something else.
What is this something else?
Connect and reconnect with your communities!
What is a community? In Wikipedia you’ll find this excerpt: “The word “community” is … a broad term for fellowship or organized society.
Since the advent of the Internet, the concept of community no longer has geographical limitations, as people can now virtually gather in an online community and share common interests regardless of physical location. “
So — what communities do you belong to already?
1. Many schools and colleges have alumni associations. If you ever went to school, you are automatically part of that community.
2. Do you belong to a religious or spiritual organization? Consider both your current as well as past affiliations.
3. Any previous employer and former colleagues are a source of community.
4. Any professional associations you belong to or have belonged to.
5. Any hobbies that bring you together with other like-minded people.
6. Any continuing education, from book discussion groups at your local library, classes at your local community college, continuing education classes at your local high school or community recreation department: fellow classmates as well as teachers.
7. All the people you have a professional relationship with: your dentist and doctor, your dry cleaner and owner of the local ice cream shop or wherever you frequently go.
8. Your family and extended family, neighbors and friends.
This gives you an idea of how many people you already know. When you add them all up, they easily can exceed 100 people. Some people will have contacts exceeding 100s of people.
In the olden days we put contact information in address books. If we didn’t stay in touch and when people moved, we lost track of them. Now with social media, you can find and reconnect or stay connected with many more people.
Taking it Further:
If you are not already on LinkedIn or Facebook, this is where you start. Build your profiles and find people whom you know and link to them or friend them. As you get to know new people who you are interested of staying in touch with, ask if they would like to stay connected through LinkedIn or Facebook. You should be able to connect with several 100 people over a period of time.
Now make a list of the companies you are considering as possible employers. On LinkedIn check if any of your connections are or have worked for those companies. Make contact with those connections by email or phone. Ask what it’s like to work there. If you like what you hear, find out if they have a referral program and if your connection would be willing to refer you. At minimum you might be able to get the name and contact info of a hiring manager in your area of interest. Hopefully you can set up an informational interview. This is not to get a job, but it is to create awareness of your availability and your skills and to show in interest in the organization.
Another networking tool is to find a professional organization in your field, which has regular meetings. Attend the meetings, volunteer on a committee, become visible and make connections.
The goal is to find out about a job, possibly one that is not advertised, and have someone recommend you for the position. You’ve just eliminated all your competition and tapped into the 80% of the job market that never gets advertised.
Many people struggle to take the steps they know they need to take. As a coach I can help you clarify what’s most important and offer support and accountability so you make important changes in your life. Think about the life you could have. For a free coaching consultation, call Edith at 847.913.3900. Isn’t it about time you invested in you and your goals?