Unless you’re going through a recruitment consultant, the best way to ensure your resume is seen by a hiring manager is by networking your way into the company. Social networking is one of the most important job search activities. In fact, according to a report by ABC News, over 80% of all jobs today have been found through social networking. The job search process has evolved, and you need to take an entrepreneurial, targeted approach to landing your dream job.
The fact of the matter is, for many top jobs, the only way to get in is by knowing someone inside the company you want to work for. If a mutual contact recommended you apply, it is important to include their name in your cover letter because this will carry a lot of weight and your application is much more likely to generate an interview.
If you don’t know anyone in the organization you’re interested in, you’ll need to leverage your LinkedIn network to establish a connection with a company employee prior to submitting your job application.
Note that this strategy will require you to reach out to a complete stranger via a LinkedIn message or email, followed by a phone call from you. This is why it is important to build relationships with your connections.
Start with the organization’s LinkedIn Company Page. All of the company’s current employees will automatically show up on that Company Page’s landing page. See if you can identify any of the employees. Any 1st degree connections will show up first, which means you are directly connected to that person and can reach out to him or her directly for advice on applying for the position.
If the prospect is in your 2nd degree network, it means you are connected to that person through a 1st degree connection, and will have to send an introduction request to that connection to get connected to the company employee.
When you find a connection, it is important to handle this strategically. You don’t want to sound desperate in any way, shape or form because that would be off-putting. Rather, you’re going to have a short, general discussion about what working at the company.is like. If you approach these contacts in the right way, they are much more likely to agree to help you by offering useful information. If you get on really well, you can even persuade them to let you use their name in your cover letter.
Follow these steps to request an introduction from a first-degree contact:
When asking for an introduction, avoid using generic introduction requests such as:
Can you introduce me to john smith?
This type of generic message is likely to be ignored and may cost you a potential contact. Rather, take the time to include a more detailed, personal message, providing some context so that the person you forward the introduction request to will have some way of describing you in a way they would be comfortable with. Provide specific details of why you would like to be introduced to the other person.
May I ask you for a big favor?
I noticed you’re connected with Patrick Koshoni, a graphic designer with Virgin Media. As you may now, I specialize in digital marketing and Virgin Media are currently looking for an experienced digital marketer. I would like to speak to Patrick to learn more about working with Virgin Media.
Would you be willing to introduce us?
I realize this is a huge favor. If you don’t feel comfortable introducing us, I understand. Regardless, I hope we stay in touch. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.