Do you remember how you got your first job? For many it was as simple as applying online, waiting anxiously for an interview, attending a successful though awkward meeting, and finally landing an offer. This is the ideal scenario for the nearly two million hopeful and hungry students that will graduate in 2016, and the data suggests it *should* be that easy.
These students will, after all, graduate into one the strongest job markets the United States has seen in recent years. Unemployment for college educated workers over 25 is hovering around 2.4% nationally and in a recent study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 37% of employers say they plan to pay 2016’s graduates more than they paid 2015’s graduates.
A survey conducted with the help of Linkedin found that companies hired three times as many job seekers that came from network referrals than those who simply applied. These findings shouldn’t shock anyone since job hunting has been about relationships for decades now. However, it should be a reminder of the importance of networking. Luckily, in the digital age networking is no longer confined to stuffy events and family introductions. Job seekers can, and must, use tools like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, and even Meetup Groups to help them expand their networks.
Julia’s success story
Julia Clark, an account executive at a reputable marketing firm in New York City, knows how to play the digital networking game. She had worked hard to find post graduation employment.
“Everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to hire someone they either know or gets referred to them.” says Julia. “Out of the 100 or so applications I submitted to companies, I imagine about 5 were actually read.”
“Four months ago I didn’t know a single person in New York’s marketing world. Now I have dozens of contacts, one of which helped me land my first gig.” says Julia. She was able to network into a job that seemed untouchable in just 10 weeks. She did so by making use of 5 tools that helped her find, engage, and keep track of networking opportunities that she then leveraged into interviews and multiple job offers. Simply applying and hoping for the best is no longer enough to land a job. You must go out and get the job that you want.
We’re going to show you how Julia was able to use five tools to create a professional network from scratch and go get the job she wanted in just 10 weeks.
Julia had been using job boards for months, but she had simply been applying for jobs and then waiting to hear back. She quickly realized that this tactic wasn’t going to yield her the results that she wanted because her resume simply wasn’t being viewed by hiring managers. So instead of just going to job boards, Julia made a list of the top 100 companies she wanted to work for and decided to go after the job she wanted instead of just waiting for someone to discover her resume and decide to give her a call.
Julia devised a strategy to apply to, and then cold email the companies that she most wanted to work for. Companies often don’t put up job postings until late in their search if ever. So by reaching out to companies regardless of if they have job postings currently will allow you to jump into an “invisible job board”.
You can also make a list of ideal companies that you’d like to work for. You should ask yourself important questions about what you want out of your job, where you see your career going, and what type of company you see yourself working for. From there find 25 – 100 companies that you most want to work for using Linkedin and other company aggregation sites. Your list should include dream companies that you’d love to work for and “safe” pics that you would still be happy with.
Research your list and find your prospective team members
Once you’ve nailed down your list, you need to settle in and do some research on these companies.
First, figure what companies on your list are hiring. Use websites like newyorkjobs.com to figure out if your target companies are hiring for the position you’d like in New York. As you’ll see in the following steps, you won’t simply be cold applying, but if a company is hiring you will want to pair your application with a email outreach. Often companies that have job listings are the ones most in need of immediate help. You can prioritize companies that you’d like to reach out to according to who has a job currently listed.
Secondly, you’ll want to figure out who works in the department you would like to work in. Instead of contacting HR, you should contact your prospective team members because at the end of the day, it is the team that decides who gets the job. If the team recommends someone for interview, you can be sure that person is going to get an interview. Your ideal prospects will be people that you have some sort of connection with. Whether that be a mutual friend or a school affiliation, mentioning these types of commonalities can be immensely helpful.
Third, reach out! Depending on whether or not the company is currently hiring, you should reach out and either let them know that you applied, or ask if they are looking for additional help.
The idea behind reaching out after you’ve applied is to give them a reason to check out your resume and have a 15 minute chat. You don’t need to get a job offer right then, you just need a foot in the door.
If you have a connection with someone at the company, reach out to them and request a introduction. If you don’t have a connection with someone at the company, still reach out, but try to find a commonality like the school you went to, the groups you may be apart of, previous companies, or even just being from the same city. Any commonalities will help you distinguish yourself from the wealth of other emails your prospect is likely receiving.
Fourth, don’t forget to follow up! Your follow up is crucial because more likely than not, your initial email will fall on deaf ears and not get any response. Hiring managers are extremely busy, and forgetful people. Chances are that the you didn’t get a response simply because your prospect has forgotten about your email. So sending them a helpful reminder after a week or so gives them a second chance to look over your email and your resume.
Fifth, track your outreach efforts and job hunting workflow. Staying organized with your job search with a tool like Trello will help you ensure that you’re contacting, and following up with the companies or your radar at the appropriate time.
What was her tool stack?
After just a few weeks using these cold emailing tactics to reach out to companies, Julia was able to secure more than 10 phone conversations with managers in her industry and was able to turn them into interviews, and finally land her dream job. She used a variety of tools to help her reach out to hiring managers.
If you don’t have a Linkedin account, get up from under that rock you’ve been sleeping and go make an account. Your profile doesn’t need to be over the top, but it should give readers a good idea as to who you are, the things you’ve accomplished, and what you’re looking for. Check out a few good online guides to creating a rock star Linkedin profile.
- Email Hunter
This handy little tool will help you to find the email addresses of people at your target companies. Make the most of this information in your job hunting strategy.
This is a great tool that will help you find social information of your perspective coworkers and also helps you verify if a email address is accurate.
ReplyUp is one of my favorite free tools currently available. This tool let’s you create automated follow up sequences so you can remember to reach back out when people don’t reply to your emails.
Trello will help you keep track of your networking and job interview status.
Featured photo credit: Jacob Lund via shutterstock.com