1) Start with 5 to 10 target companies. There are several ways to identify the kinds of companies you seek. For example:
- Google companies by typing the company name, the word near, and your ZIP code.
- Use LinkedIn’s company search by selecting an industry type and location.
- Search companies that you know employ people in your industry.
2) Research the target companies. Use your LinkedIn connections who are employed at your target companies. What positions do they hold, and how are you connected to them? Explore the ones among those connections who are in a position to provide you with advice and information about the company.
Use different avenues to do in-depth company research. To attract others to talk with you, you need to appear very knowledgeable and, hopefully, interesting to talk with. Find detailed information at your local library, by doing Google searches, and by looking at Google Finance and Google News. Thoroughly study the company Web site, and look for your fit into the company culture. While there, check out the types of positions the company has posted, but at this time, do not rush to apply. First, you need to find an internal referral.
3) Sleuth into the company. This is a delicate phase, because if you have not done your work thoroughly and you pull the trigger too quickly, you might turn off the employee and miss your target. Excellent written and verbal communication at this stage is essential. Spend time developing your arsenal. Test it several times to see how effective it is.
Before asking for referrals, make sure you’ve established a relationship first. Is there a way you yourself can help the employee you’ve connected with? Attempt to convince the employee to be willing to meet with you in person. That’s a success by itself. Ask about company culture, employment practices, whether it’s a fast-paced company, and how employees are treated.
4) Develop personal relationships. Virtual networking via social media is very important, but typically produces only shallow relationships. Personal networking is how people bond and can be of benefit to one another. You should renew and further develop already established relationships as well as constantly look to start new ones.
Donald Trump says, “If you can’t sell, you can’t be in business,” and the same applies to job seekers. In addition, schedule informational interviews, attend and participate in professional and educational meetings, and go to conferences where you can meet employed professionals.
5) Use social media to your advantage. No matter how much research you do, you’ll never uncover all the job openings out there! That’s why it’s vital to make yourself visible to those seeking people with your talents and experience.
Spend time continuously improving your LinkedIn profile. This is the single most important social media activity for job seekers and those contemplating a change. You must differentiate yourself from others seeking the same job as you are. Personal Web sites have become more and more prevalent. Create one for yourself, and post your résumé on it. Then start blogging. You don’t have to be a prolific writer to post articles on your blog. You can create links to other sites and networking groups.
If you follow these five steps, you will most likely beat your competition and reach the finish line soon. Good luck to you.
by Alex Freund