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Never Just Apply For a Job- Use the 2 Step Method

two step job search

How many times have you simply applied for a job and left your application in the hands of fate? Kind of risky if you ask me. Is there anything you can do to increase the odds that someone will actually review your resume?

2 Steps Is What It Takes

two step danceMost job applicants won’t take the time to do these two steps, and that’s the reason I recommend you do it. The first step is easy. You know that drill. You find a job online and modify your resume to showcase the most important qualifications you have for the job and send a kicking cover letter that explains why you want to work at that company (this requires you’ve done research and know more than the company’s name).

Step 2 is what I want to talk to you about. Go find someone who works for that company. Simple idea but time consuming to implement.

If you can find a strong ally, supporter, cheerleader, or advocate inside the company will that increase the odds of your resume getting reviewed? It is called an employee referral and it is powerful. According to the 2012 CareerXroads source of hiring study, the number one source of external hiring was employee referrals (28%)! Good to know! This is why Step 2 is so important. You are leveraging the power of an inside contact to refer you.

LinkedIn- A Powerhouse

linkedin-icon2LinkedIn is the go-to source for finding inside connections. When you go to a company’s page on LinkedIn,  see who works there and who you are connected to. If your network is tiny, that is, you have fewer than 100 connections on LinkedIn, finding first level connections is going to be tough*.

*It is important to remind you that your LinkedIn connections should mirror your real-life connections and I’m pretty sure you interacted with more than 100 other professionals over the past couple of years. But this isn’t just a number game. The strength of your relationship with your connection is equally important.

Don’t Stop

facebook-twitter-google-pinterestTwitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest all draw different crowds and may enable you to tap into employees who work for the company you are applying to. Search them all. If you have the same results I did, you will find some employees on one network you were unable to find on others.

Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ are open networks which don’t require someone to accept your invite to see what they are saying on these platforms. The benefit to you is that you can or could begin immediately building a relationship with company insiders without waiting for a referral, as you usually would on LinkedIn.

Use Twitter and Twitter search tools to find inside connections. Then use Facebook to see who you are connected to in your personal network. We often overlook the fact that our friends and family may know people who can help us professionally. And don’t forget about Google+ and Pinterest.

You don’t have to use them all…but it is good to know about them.

More Details…

I delivered this presentation yesterday and I hope this shows you in more depth what I’m talking about. Obviously, without the words behind the slides, there are still details missing, but see what you think.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cwill18479 December 6, 2012, 7:32 am

    Hannah, LinkedIn is the only social network worth putting an online cv together for.  It really has got a good reputation as being a professional social media network.  I’m not too sure that pintrest and facebook are as good.  Why not get your cv noticed for free

  • ssusina December 6, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Hannah,
     
    I think you have the steps backwards.  
     
    Job seekers need to find the insider first.  Communicate with them, and most importantly find out from them how you apply as part of that company’s referral program. 
     
    If you apply first, you’re not an employee referral in the CareerXroads sense–you’re in the pool of hundreds (if not thousands) of other applicants.  Maybe that internal connection can pull you out of that pool down the road–but in many cases they cannot.
     
    More importantly–think about this process from the insider’s perspective.  In most cases, their biggest incentive is the employee referral bonus–which can amount to thousands of dollars for a successful hire.  That bonus is often paid out only if the candidate is new–no bonus is paid for anyone already in the applicant tracking system.  
     
    Do you really want to cost that person their bonus just before asking them to take time (and risk their reputation via a recommendation) to help you?

    • careersherpa December 6, 2012, 5:06 pm

      @ssusina 
      You are absolutely right. Chasing jobs is not the best approach to take! However, you and I both know that people are going to apply for jobs and they should, because about 15-20% of hiring happens through job postings.So in those instances where someone is applying through a job posting…this is what I recommend doing. What would you recommend?
       
      Interesting you mention that companies may not pay an employee bonus if someone applies online and is referred. I have not heard of that happening before.

  • drewtewell December 9, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Hannah, you’ve got me thinking. This is a little different than the strategy that I teach and another option. Thanks for the sharing!

  • drewtewell December 9, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Hannah, you’ve got me thinking. This is a little different than the strategy that I teach and another option. Thanks for sharing!

    • careersherpa December 10, 2012, 5:23 am

      @drewtewell The whole job search thing is about trying different methods to see what works. Sometimes one approach will work for some companies or some people but not for others. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

  • Coline December 9, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Great post Hannah. I am on Twitter and Google+ I need to start using those platforms more to promote the Virtual Virtuoso and find clients. Thank you for the article.

  • Jonathan Duarte January 2, 2013, 2:06 am

    careersherpa.  ssusina.
    Hannah,
    From my experience, employee referral programs vary greatly. Some applicant tracking systems require the job seeker to add the employee name during the application process.
    In other situations, I’ve heard that the “referral” can be identified after the actual application, but I wouldn’t always rely on this.
    I recommend that job seekers to ask an employee something like “Do you know if your company has an Employee Referral Program? A lot of companies have a specific process to follow when referring someone. If the candidate is hired, the employee gets some sort of incentive.”
    This is a kind of tricky question, because it infers that the job seeker wants to apply, but also makes it a win-win. The employee can then decide if they want to pursue the “incentive”… and figure out the “best way” to apply.
     
    As you mentioned, every job search is going to be a little different.
     
    Regarding job chasing.
    I teach job seekers to sign up for job agents on multiple job boards, with diffferent job titles, and keywords, and Company Names.
    Doing this creates a “job lead” system for the job seeker. They can see what jobs are available at different companies, but also they companies they want to work for.
    Most importantly, Referrals are going to get job seekers into the “Hidden Job Market”.
    This is why it’s important to target 20-30 companies. Follow them on LinkedIn, create job alerts for them, and start “connecting” with employees in those companies on LinkedIn. Join groups, etc where those employees hangout online. Follow those companies on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
    The final step before asking for a Referral is what I call “Do Coffee!”.
    It’s like the old “informational interview”, but this isn’t about looking for “career advice”, (and the term “infromational interview” is laden with negatives).
    The purpose of meeting multiple employees in your target companies is to find out what the company culture is like. Is this a place you would like to work?
     
    Sure, it takes time, but if a job seeker is sitting around “waiting for the recruiter to call them back” because they just applied to a job without a referral, they’re  going to have a lot of time to kill, so they might was well start creating virtual connections on LinkedIn.
     
    Just my $.02.
     jonathan. Duarte

  • Jonathan Duarte January 2, 2013, 2:08 am

    @careersherpa @ssusina 
    Hannah,
    From my experience, employee referral programs vary greatly. Some applicant tracking systems require the job seeker to add the employee name during the application process.
    In other situations, I’ve heard that the “referral” can be identified after the actual application, but I wouldn’t always rely on this.
    I recommend that job seekers to ask an employee something like “Do you know if your company has an Employee Referral Program? A lot of companies have a specific process to follow when referring someone. If the candidate is hired, the employee gets some sort of incentive.”
    This is a kind of tricky question, because it infers that the job seeker wants to apply, but also makes it a win-win. The employee can then decide if they want to pursue the “incentive”… and figure out the “best way” to apply.
     
    As you mentioned, every job search is going to be a little different.
     
    Regarding job chasing.
    I teach job seekers to sign up for job agents on multiple job boards, with diffferent job titles, and keywords, and Company Names.
    Doing this creates a “job lead” system for the job seeker. They can see what jobs are available at different companies, but also they companies they want to work for.
    Most importantly, Referrals are going to get job seekers into the “Hidden Job Market”.
    This is why it’s important to target 20-30 companies. Follow them on LinkedIn, create job alerts for them, and start “connecting” with employees in those companies on LinkedIn. Join groups, etc where those employees hangout online. Follow those companies on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
    The final step before asking for a Referral is what I call “Do Coffee!”.
    It’s like the old “informational interview”, but this isn’t about looking for “career advice”, (and the term “infromational interview” is laden with negatives).
    The purpose of meeting multiple employees in your target companies is to find out what the company culture is like. Is this a place you would like to work?
     
    Sure, it takes time, but if a job seeker is sitting around “waiting for the recruiter to call them back” because they just applied to a job without a referral, they’re  going to have a lot of time to kill, so they might was well start creating virtual connections on LinkedIn.
     
    Just my $.02.
     @Jonathan Duarte

    • careersherpa January 2, 2013, 5:07 am

      @Jonathan Duarte  Jonathan,
      Great points. Tapping into the hidden job market is so important and I recommend job seekers develop a target list of companies.
       
      My purpose in writing this post was to teach people how they can leverage social networks to find inside connections. It has been my experience that most job seekers rely on job postings and job boards and will not or do not know how to network into companies in advance of an opening. So this post was designed to help them improve what they currently do rather than ask them to do something too different. (baby steps)
       
      Thanks for your two cents!