The Numbers Game theory:
Just keep applying over and over and over and over again on every job board and employer website you can find, and sooner or later something will click.
Like buying lottery tickets every week? And, how well does that work for most of us!
Next to “being flexible” and “keeping your options open” (in other words, not knowing or communicating what job you want – see this post about that major mistake), this is the next most out-dated job search belief I see.
What Does Work?
If you were responsible for hiring a new employee, you would want to hire a person you could trust and work well with, who would do a good job and make you look good to your boss.
So, assume you had these two choices. Who would you hire:
- A total stranger. OR
- A person already known to you, either a member of your own personal network (LinkedIn, etc.) or referred by a current employee or by a member of your network.
You would probably pick # 2, so would – and do – most of us. It doesn’t mean that the person carefully submitting a targeted resume with a great, customized cover letter (or email) has no chance at all. It just means that the person known by someone trusted has a much better chance of being hired.
So, How Do You Get Known and Referred?
You find a way to connect with people who know you (hopefully):
- People you worked with in the past – colleagues, former bosses, even former subordinates.
- People who were your customers in the past.
- People who worked for your employer’s suppliers or other allied organizations.
- People you know who work for competitors of your former employers (be careful with this one).
- Participate carefully and professionally in social media online to become more “known” in a wider circle than the total stranger.
These days, your chances of connecting with former colleagues, customers, suppliers, etc. is much higher than it was in the pre-Internet (pre-LinkedIn and pre-Facebook) eras:
- Check the LinkedIn Groups Directory to find hundreds of corporate “alumni” groups.
- Job-Hunt links to over 250 corporate, military, and government employee “alumni” groups, most of which are not LinkedIn Groups.
- Jump on Facebook, and search for the names of people and the names of your former employers, ask your FB Friends, place a FB ad, etc.
Note! In Jobvite’s social recruiting survey in 2010, 65% of employers surveyed reported that they rewarded the employees who referred a successful job candidate. The employee making the referral got paid by the employer when their candidate was hired! So everyone wins!
When I ask people new in their jobs how they got the job, often they tell me, “My former boss called me,” or “A guy I used to work with contacted me,” and other personal referrals. You can be that person, too! LinkedIn, Facebook, Google/Bing, and the Internet make it easy to reconnect with people you worked with and make it easier to become a “known quantity” to a wide circle of people. Take the time to expand your network, and you can beat the numbers game, too.
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce, USMC veteran, has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. In 1998, her company, NETability, Inc. purchased Job-Hunt.org, and Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt since then. Follow Susan on Twitter at @JobHuntOrg.
The Career Collective Articles for February, 2011:
- Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman
- It’s not your age, it’s old thinking, @GayleHoward
- Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs @erinkennedycprw
- Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
- Break the Rules or Change the Game? @WalterAkana
- The New: From The Employer’s-Eye View, @ResumeService
- Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal
- Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,
- Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni
- 3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness
- Your Photo on LinkedIn – Breaking a Cardinal Job Search Rule? @KCCareerCoach
- How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers
- Be You-Nique: Resume Writing Rules to Break, @ValueIntoWords
- Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson
- Don’t Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani
- How Breaking the Rules Will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan
- 25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @CareerSherpa