How to Get more Job Referrals from Your Network
Does your network notify you immediately when they hear about a new job opening?
Will they refer and recommend you for that new job?
Do your connections even know what your capabilities are and what you are looking for?
If you know of a job opening you would like to apply to, you should know that getting referred to the opening by a current employee of the company is a far more effective way to get noticed than simply sending your resume in.
Employee referrals work better for the following reasons.
- HR workers typically give employee referrals a longer look than they do the general resume. They consider it a courtesy to the employee referring the candidate.
- Referrals are likely to be a good match for the company, because the referring employee probably knows what the company's expectations are.
- Companies like to look at the quality of the referrals they receive to see if they are doing a good job communicating to existing employees what their values and expectations are.
- In some companies, employees receive a reward or bonus for referring a good candidate for a new job opening.
Of course, In many cases, it may not be possible to go in through a current employee referral -- you may not know anyone who works at the company that you have in mind.
But there are so many other individuals that may deal directly with that company such as customers, suppliers, consultants and freelancers. If you can find someone in your network who is in a position to pass your name to the HR team (or an employee, or a manager), however, it tremendously improves your chances of getting called for an interview.
Since job referrals work so well, how can you make sure your network will think of you when they come across a job opening?
Here are five things you can do:
Find out who in your network is most likely to know about job openings
It takes time and effort to maintain relationships. You can't possibly keep in touch with everyone you know on a regular base. In order to hear about job openings, then, you need to focus specifically on the people in your network who are most likely in a position to learn about them. Usually, if you have HR professionals, recruiters, executives or hiring managers in your network, those are the people to concentrate your networking efforts on.
Start connecting with them
The people on your list who are most likely to hear about job openings still don't necessarily think of you when they learn about those opportunities. For top-of-the-mind recall ability, you need to be in regular touch. Once you do succeed in staying in touch, you can talk to them about possible job openings. Communicate with them often. Like their posts. Comment on them. Congratulate them on new accomplishments. Send them valuable information that they would find beneficial. The more you give the more they would be willing to give back.
Make sure your network knows you're interested.
If you have a network of people who are likely to know about openings, they still may not know that you would like to hear about them as soon as they become available. Once you’ve established a relationship, it's important to specifically tell them what you're looking for, why you qualify and that you would appreciate their help. A good way to do this without directly bringing the subject up, would be to simply share stories about how your job search is going so far, what your professional interests are or projects that you would like to work on.
Get as specific as possible.
Even if your network does remember you and know you're looking, they probably won't be able to help you unless they know EXACTLY what you're looking for. Whether you're looking to change careers, looking for a step up from your current job, or there are specific fields or areas that you would like to move into, you need to talk about it to make sure everyone knows and will immediately think of you when those opportunities arise.
Are they aware of the best way to refer you?
Your network needs to know that you expect more than a simple heads-up about a job opening. Instead, you would like a proper, formal introduction, so the company knows you're being referred. Formal referrals have the greatest value and help you stand out from the other candidates when it comes to job applications.
Make their job easier. Let your contact know in three or five concise bullet points what it is about you that makes you a good match for the job. Your contact could use the points when they refer you to their HR department or the hiring manager.
Finally, it's important to remember you don't simply want to accept help from everyone, and not give back. Just as you would expect people in your network to help you out with referrals, you should stay aware of opportunities to help others or help them in other ways.
Networking may be a powerful way to find new career opportunities, but you need to put work into by not only establishing or strengthening your professional relationships but also making sure your network is aware of HOW they can help you. When that happens, you'll find that the referrals come in far more often than before and are of high quality.
By Rafael Tomik, Career Transition Coach, BeGreat.com
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