Unfortunately, many job hunters fail to utilise this technique because they don’t understand it, or they don’t want to “bother” people. Many job seekers are just too proud to “ask” someone for help. If you aren’t using this technique you are overlooking the most valuable tool you have, the personal contact.
If you are a recent school leaver, networking can be just as powerful a tool as it is for the seasoned business person. The key to getting a position is getting your foot in the door to sell yourself and your skills. Knowing someone in the company or someone who knows someone in the company can be just the key to that door.
The Secret to Networking
The secret to networking is to understand how it works and what steps you have to take to use networking effectively. You have to determine if you know someone in the company. Then, how do you make contact with them? Do you contact them by phone or by letter? Do you have someone else contact them on your behalf? What happens after contact is made?
If all you job hunters out there remember, last week’s article dealt with one of the most efficient tools to job hunting. Networking has proved to have an 85% success rate. This should be enough to motivate you to go all out at attempting this very useful technique.
This article is going to run you through the four building blocks for creating a strong and effective network and let’s remove the idea that we need to know the powerful people in order for us to get the job we want.
Research The Company
Find out as much information about the company as you can. Call the human resources department and ask them to mail you (or pick it up personally if you can) a company profile and any other useful information you might need to have a clear idea about the company. Ask questions about the organisation and see if any names pop up. If you “used” to know someone there, see if they are still there and if they are, ask to speak with them and establish contact. It can be a bit like a snowball rolling down hill. Don’t forget to take detailed and extensive notes so you can refer back to them. You can also ask for job application requirements that the company may have such as a Malta work permit if you’re from overseas.
Make a list of the people you know at the company AND a list of anyone you are acquainted with or have been acquainted with in the past who may know someone at the company. The longer the list the better the chance you have of making a contact who can get you that interview.
Compose a letter, which you will use to send to the prospective employer. Just explain why you are contacting them. Let them know why you’re writing and what you are looking for. This will conclude with an action step, i.e., “I will call you next week to follow up on this letter and to arrange for a personal interview.” Also, compose a letter to the person you know who knows someone at the company. If the letter is to a contact outside of the company, but who can make an introduction the same rules apply.
Once the letter has been sent. If you asked someone to make a contact on your behalf call him or her and thank them for their consideration. If they have yet to make contact for you thank them anyway and ask if a personal introduction would be possible. If they agree let them know you’ll be following up with the person once they have contacted them. If they give you direction, i.e., that they will call you once they’ve contacted the person then wait for them to call. If you’re lucky enough to have them make a personal introduction (face-to-face) then get out your calendar because that is the most powerful action that can happen. If nothing happens within seven working days, call them as a follow up to see what the status is. If it has, then find out when the call was made and follow up within five days with a letter and follow that up with a phone call within five days. Don’t push your calling too far. It will only put the people off.
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