6 Tips on How to Network Your Way to a Job Interview

6 Tips on How to Network Your Way to a Job Interview

The days of submitting your resume to an online portal (and getting a call back), are virtually dead. It’s hard to believe, but all that time, energy and effort you’ve spent filling out endless tabs of personal information on company career pages or answering questions on “your greatest career achievements,” almost never generate interviews. It wastes time and is distracting you from gaining other achievable opportunities. And yes, I do know that you know that already, and yet you continue to do it, right?

I tend to take a hard stance on this topic, but only because my experience has shown me that the single most effective way to initiate meetings with people who can secure interviews is to make a professional connection with them. It’s really that simple? The answer is, yes. The best way to get an interview is to know someone who can get you one.

1. Connect with the right people. Unless you’re targeting a role at a small company, you can forget trying to connect with the CEO. Your best bet is to reach out to junior to mid-level employees since they’re usually the most responsive. They should ideally have some influence on the company’s recruiting decisions.

2. Use the right medium. Use either email or LinkedIn when trying to connect for the first time. The latter usually works better. You should avoid giving them a call as they’re unlikely to answer an unknown number. And it comes off a bit desperate too.

3. Master the message. The initial message should be short but snappy. You want to highlight the fact that you’re currently on the job market, and wish to learn more about their company and recruiting needs over, say, a coffee. Nowhere should you mention “can you help me get a job at your company” or anything along those lines. You want them to put two and two together. Suggest meeting up at a time and place that is convenient for them. Be very flexible in this regard.

4. The initial meet-up. The key is to keep it casual so avoid things like taking your notepad out middle of the conservation to take notes. You should prepare half a dozen questions in advance which you can casually slide into the conversation when the opportunities present themselves. Always end by telling them that you’ll keep them posted on, say, the outcomes of interviews that you currently have lined up. You want to create an excuse to reconnect with them at a later date.

5. Make your move. By the second or third meet up, you should make your move if they haven’t already offered to help. Politely ask them to submit an employee referral on your behalf for the role you’re targeting. But before you do, get them to scan through your CV first and provide feedback on how you could tailor it.

6. Continue to leverage your contact. If you’re invited to an interview, you’ll know that your networking efforts is starting to pay off. This is the break you’ve been looking for. And now you got it. You should, of course, continue to leverage your contact during the interview process. They will give you the inside track on landing the job.

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