Job searching is exhausting.
And for today’s professionals who may be looking to advance their career every few years, it can be never ending.
It goes something like this:
You’re browsing for new jobs online. You check frequently because you don’t want the ideal job to slip by, just because you weren’t paying attention. When you find an online job posting that seems like a good fit, you apply, sending your resume into a black hole.
You may or may not hear back, but from experience, you know that the latter is more likely. In the end, someone else gets the job. You start the process over. Rinse and repeat.
You might have gotten the job—only to realize after awhile that this isn’t the right job (or career) for you. Start from the top.
It’s overwhelming, exhausting and worst of all: discouraging.
Unfortunately, you’re playing a guessing game.
You’re guessing that the job is right for you, that you’re qualified, and that the organization is a good fit. You have a ton of questions and a little confidence—confidence that gets chipped away with each and every time you don’t hear back.
How are others are getting jobs they love? Chances are it’s through conversations, not applications.
Having conversations with the right people within your network can help you answer those questions. They can help you understand if a job or company is the right fit for you. If the job seems to be a good fit, they can coach you on how to make your application stand out. They can put your resume directly into the right hands. And they can tell you about jobs you don’t know exist (because they aren’t posted online).
You can land the perfect job in a fraction of the time with a strong referral from networking.
You’re 10x more likely to get a job through a referral
Referrals are powerful. If you applied for a job online, your odds of getting the job are 1 in 152.
With a referral, your chances increase tenfold. Referred job candidates have a 1 in 16 success rate in landing the job.
Let’s break this down for a minute:
Why would referred candidates have such a drastically better chance at getting the job over other types of applicants?
Employees know the company culture and what it takes to succeed in their organization. They’re more likely to recommend people who they see would be a good fit. Plus, employees aren’t likely to recommend someone who might tarnish their reputation.
In other words, referrals are the preferred source for all new hires in today’s job market. Hiring managers rely on the judgement of employees that they know and trust.
Without networking, you’re missing out on 85% of jobs
Getting a referral will not only increase your chances of landing a job, but also will help you find out about jobs you don’t know exist. That’s because over 85% of jobs are not posted online.
If you’re relying solely on job postings to find your dream job, you’re only reaching 20% of possible jobs that you could have. What’s more is that you’ll be competing for that tiny fraction of online jobs with hundreds of online applicants.
By now, you’ve figured out the best way to move your career ahead quickly isn’t by sitting behind your laptop. Referrals and job opportunities are found through conversations with people in your network.
In other words: connecting with the right people in your network can help you land your dream job.
But don’t worry—modern networking isn’t like old-fashioned networking. It’s making human connections, and it actually works.
Here’s how connecting with people in your network can change your job search.
Networking authentically: the better way to search for jobs
So who are the “right” people to talk to when it comes to authentic, modern networking? Your best contacts for a referral may surprise you. The best people to connect with don’t have intimidating titles. They aren’t executives, directors, or even hiring managers.
They’re the people who are just a few steps ahead of you, on the same career path.
Generally, that’s someone with less than 5 years of career experience—someone you likely know, but have overlooked.
These contacts have been in your shoes and know exactly what it takes to cross the threshold into their field or job. From of their recent experience, they can offer practical advice, details about the hiring process, and the skills you need to succeed. Plus, when you connect with people closer to your experience level, the two of you relate well to one another.
Oftentimes, connections from your network often make the strongest referrals for positions they’ve once held themselves.
Modern networking case study: Michelle
Connecting is the modern, natural style of networking. Our research on the new rules of networking proves this is what is effective today. See how connecting worked for Michelle.
Michelle wanted to change jobs.
She had been applying to jobs online for months without success. Michelle was pretty discouraged when a friend suggested she talk to Trevor, a former classmate. Trevor worked for a company that she was interested in.
Figuring it was worth a try, Michelle sent Trevor an email to request a conversation. The next week, they met at Starbucks for a chat.
Michelle will tell you she was nervous going in, but quickly relaxed. Trevor had only worked at the company for a couple of years, and he remembered exactly what Michelle was going through.
He explained what skills she should highlight to position herself for different job openings. For example, Michelle found out that her experience with a certain software was highly valued for certain positions. Trevor also walked her through the details of the hiring process so she knew exactly what to expect.
At the end of their conversation, Trevor volunteered to be a referral for Michelle’s application. Michelle felt like she hit the jackpot. None of her online job searching and research had given her what that one conversation did.
Trevor said he felt comfortable referring Michelle once they’d talked one-on-one. She seemed like a good fit for his company, one that he knew was always looking for great talent.
His referral was a win-win for both of them.
Did Michelle and Trevor’s relationship develop out of luck or random chance? No—it happened because Michelle took the leap and reached out, tapping into Trevor’s relevant expertise. That made Trevor feel invested in her success.
Authentic networking works for more than just job seeking
The modern way of networking isn’t like traditional networking. It’ll work for you regardless of your career path or step. Compared to applying online and waiting to get rejected, connecting:
- Shortens your job search time
- Provides access to better and unposted jobs
- Feels collaborative an human rather than competitive
- Increases your chances of landing a job
- Leads to better job and career fit
It’s the best and quickest way to advance your career in a direction you’ll love.
Tips for getting referrals through modern networking
In the new world of work, those who connect get the jobs. Those who don’t connect, don’t. Here’s four tips to help you start connecting—the new way to network:
1. Leverage LinkedIn to find the right people
You have access to thousands of people in your LinkedIn network who could offer you career advice right now. They may be 1st- or 2nd-degree connections, found through the alumni finder, or various professional groups.
Look for those who are two steps ahead of you working in your same field. If you have broader industry questions, seek someone out with 5 to 10 years of experience instead (learn all about Connection Types to figure out who to network with). Then reach out.
2. Have a face-to-face conversation
Referrals happen naturally when you take an interest in other people and invite their help. Referrals happen through one-on-one conversations, not over email or online.
Reach out and ask for a 30-minute conversation, either in person or on video chat. That’s usually all it takes to get acquainted and gain valuable insider advice for your job search.
3. Match your questions to their expertise
Focusing on your contact’s recent expertise gives you practical information and helps them learn about you.
Be prepared to tap your contact’s specific expertise with questions tailored to them. Focus on their recent experiences, the details of their job, and what the hiring process is. Steer clear of big picture, high-level questions that may fall outside of their expertise.
4. Ask for the referral
Yes, that’s right. Once you’ve had a great conversation, you can let your contact know about your interest in a job.
Ask them about strategies for making your application stand out. Given the conversation, you could ask them specifically if they would be willing to be a referral for your application, or if they would be willing to forward your resume to a contact in HR. Oftentimes, they’ll offer for you if they’re in the right position.
Cut your job search in half with MANGO
MANGO is the free tool that will help you cut your job search in half through networking. It’s no wonder more and more career coaches are using MANGO to help their clients get face-to-face with their network.
Start networking the modern way by sending a conversation request email to a contact two steps ahead of you (one that’s in a position you’re interested in). Rather than risk they’d recognize a generic email template, write your own outreach email with step-by-step coaching from MANGO’s FREE Email Builder.
Besides step-by-step coaching on writing networking emails, MANGO helps you prepare for informational interviews, followup professionally, and manage all the steps in genuine one-on-one networking.
Stop sending your resume into the online abyss. Reach out and start connecting with people who can make a difference in your career.
You’ll be glad you did.
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