The article gives you my top 3 most important steps to do and consider when you are looking for a job within your network.
The precondition to finding a job through your network is of course to have a contact network. Essential is that your network is based on quality, not on quantity.
Don’t meet as many people as possible. Instead, focus on cultivating your existing contacts. If you have a long list of contacts, rank them. Prioritize from closest connection to loosest connection.
Focus on people whose view of the world you share and value. People that have good ideas, good advice and people who want to help you. Focus on people who you share an honest thought with.
You can read this article series to get more tips and hints on how to build a reliable network.
If you work already as a working student or in an internship for the company you would like to be permanently you have already very good chances. Because you are “in” already.
The same applies when you work on a Bachelor or Master Thesis.
Compared to people who apply from outside, you have the chance to meet people in the area you want to work in.
And in your network each contact connects you to another network. By the way there are theories around that every human on earth could reach anybody by just 6 connections. Read this “Six degrees of separation” article if you want to know more. It’s also called the “small world phenomenon”.
This increases possibilities exponentially.
The following list gives you my top 3 most important steps to do and consider when you are looking for a job within your network.
#1 Know where to go
In an article, Ken Sundhaim, columnist on forbes.com writes:
If you don’t know where you want to go, you won’t know how to get there.
Imagine you are contacted by a headhunter or someone from your network and you need to express what you are looking for. You have 60 seconds.
60… 59… 58… 57… 56… 55… 53… 52… 51… 50… 49… 48… 47… 46… 45… 44… 43… 42… 41… 40… 39… 38… 37… 36… 35… 34… 33… 32… 31… 30… 29… 28… 27… 26… 25… 24… 23… 22… 21… 20… 19… 18… 17… 16… 15… 14… 13… 12… 11… 10… 09… 08… 07… 06… 05… 04… 03… 02… 01…
And? Did you tell that contact where you would like to work? No?
Don’t worry. It’s the case for many people. Let me give you some guiding questions I asked myself when I was looking for new opportunities.
- What can you do good? What can you do better the others?
- What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
- If you could dream, what would be your dream job?
- Determine for yourself what you would like to do all day.
- What would you like to create?
- What gives you satisfaction? What makes you feel good when you go home?
- What motivates you when you get up in the morning?
- Do you want routine or every day something new?
- Do you want to travel or not?
- Do you want 9 to 5 or not?
- Do want to work for IT, Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, Production?
- Do you want to regularly communicate with people or work for yourself
- Do you want to say what to do and set strategy or do you want to do what’s said to you?
There are several sources available online to help you with that. For example the Clifton Strenghts Finder® from Gallup (15USD) or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI, ca.60USD).
Remark: I don’t earn anything when you click the links. I posted these links here, because both helped me allot with my personal development. It also needs to be said that these tests will never all your questions or tell you what to do. They aim to provide support for you to find out more about your personallity, strenghts and weaknesses.
It’s hard to find your own way, I know that first hand from myself. Let me know if I can help you with that!
When you know where to go, at least roughly, determine what it needs to get there. What knowledge do you need? Do you know someone in that area? Etc.
And then: Learn. Read. Speak. Watch.
Eventually, you will get an overview of what it means to work in that area.
Have your CV ready. I recommend 2 pages max. Adapt your CV to the area you would like to work in. Recruiter scan for keywords they know and that are used in that area. Don’t lie! But make your CV understandable for the recruiter.
I used to include keywords that I read in the job advertisement I was applying for.
I also recommend including quotes from recommendation letters into your CV. This creates trust in your capabilities. It’s like Amazon reviews create trust on the quality of products.
If you have some, also add to the 2 pages full recommendation letters.
Feel free to ask me if you want my feedback on your CV. As a former Headhunter, I might be able to give you some insights.
Have your social network profiles updated with past work experience and a current profile picture. Ensure that all social network profiles contain consistent information.
You don’t have a XING or LinkedIn account? Create on. Every team leader or recruiter googles their candidates.
What about cover letters? Well, they need to be specific, you cannot really prepare them far in advance. If you write one, tell your future employer what problems you can solve for them, which added value you bring to the team and company. The book “How to win friends…” contains some good advice on this. (exact page coming soon)
#3 Spread the word
Let your network know you are looking for a job. Meet them during a lunch, a coffee or just write them a message on LinkedIn asking how they are and telling them that you plan to move on. Never ask directly for a job. It might put allot of pressure on your contacts or even offend them. Some might feel uncomfortable when they can’t provide an offer.
Just tell them that you are looking for opportunities. Ask for advice whom you should ask, or what you should learn and know to work in your target area.
If you have quality contacts in your network they will come back to you automatically.
Keep track of whom you asked what and when. It avoids asking the same people the same thing twice. And you can inform the contacted people regularly about the status of your search and the final outcome. Which makes you to a good networker.
Of course, you can also apply to official job offers! It’s a multi-channel approach. The more channels you activate, the more results you will generate.
When you followed the three steps above the work is not over of course. It’s a process. It will not happen from one day to the other. You need to constantly learn, read, speak, watch, meet etc.
Sooner or later you will be able to refine what you are looking for and the first contacts will come back to you with something they have heard.
Some interesting links on the topic: