Guest post by Hannah Morgan
When you submit your resume to an online job posting, how many other people do you suppose are doing that exact same thing? Hundreds? Thousands? The odds of your application rising to the top of the pile are as good as your odds of winning the lottery. The good news is, you can do something to increase the chances of your application getting the attention you want.
2 Steps Is What It Takes
Most job applicants won’t take the time to do this, and that’s the very reason you should! The first step is easy and familiar. You find a job online and modify your resume to showcase your most important and relevant qualifications and include a 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 may be new to you. Go find someone who works for that company. It sounds simple enough but it is time consuming to implement. Not to mention the fact that you don’t think you know anyone inside the company…yet!
Why the 2 Step Works
When you find a strong ally, supporter, cheerleader, or advocate inside the company, the odds of your resume being reviewed significantly increase. It is called an employee referral and it is powerful. The New York Times featured the rise in Employee Referral hiring. The article reports that companies like Ernst & Young want to fill their openings using employee recommendations. As much as 50% of their new hires are expected to come from internal referrals (they are currently at 45%.) Why? It saves them time and referred candidates tends to stay in jobs longer. 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 proof that the 2 Step is important.
Tap Into LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the best source for finding inside connections. All you need to do is visit the company’s LinkedIn page, see who works there and who you are connected to. If your network is quite small, in other words, you have fewer than 100 connections on LinkedIn, finding first level connections is going to be tough. Be sure your real-life network and your LinkedIn network are the same!
Use the Other Social Networks
Twitter, 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. It is quite possible 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 invitation to see what they are saying on these platforms. This allows you to immediate begin building a relationship with company insiders without waiting for a referral, as you usually would on LinkedIn.
Use Twitter search to find inside connections. Also use Facebook to see who, in your personal network, is affiliated with the company you are applying to. Don’t overlook the fact that your friends and family may know people who can help you professionally.
Social networks allow you to connect with people like never before. You could even consider these social networks massive contact databases just ripe for the picking!