How To Use Your Friends To Get A Job

Job search: networking friends

If you want a job, and you aren't focusing on tapping into your network to try to win a referral into the company that interests you, it's time to drastically alter your strategy. As employers try to cut hiring costs, decrease turnover and improve new hire time-to-productivity, they are becoming more aggressive about encouraging their employees to recommend people who would be good candidates. A New York Times article reports that employees hired as the result of a referral are 15 percent less likely to quit and that they "perform better, stay longer and are quicker to integrate" on the job. What company wouldn't want to identify this type of candidate?

CareerXRoads, a consulting practice that studies recruiting technology solutions, conducts annual studies about how organizations source and hire employees. They found that nearly half of all companies make at least one hire for every five referrals they get. If you are not putting yourself in positions to be referred, you are missing out on one very key aspect of job search networking.

More: Sign Up For AOL Jobs' Newsletter

How can you get referrals and avoid the "resume black hole" that so many job seekers dread? The key is to expand the number of people who understand your background and who like and trust you enough to stake their own reputations on your expertise. Here are some tips to help you convince people to help you in your job search:

Let people know what you do. Don't be obnoxious about it, but especially if you are actively job searching, make a point to talk about your professional expertise with people you know. If you're at a party, it's natural to exchange pleasantries and ask, "So, what do you do?" When you have a chance to respond, don't delve into a diatribe about your job search -- simply mention your expertise matter-of-factly. If the person seems really interested, and especially if you share professional interests, consider steering the conversation to find out if the person may know anyone at some of your target companies. However, recognize, that if you've just met it's unlikely that your new contact will jump at the chance to refer you for a job. Think of the meeting as a steppingstone and make sure to follow up.

Grow your network and keep conversations alive. You can't get referrals before people get to know you. It's your job to put yourself in positions to meet new people and to keep in touch with contacts. Why do people refer candidates for positions? One reason is because they think they are competent and can do the job, but another important reason is because they like the person. When you meet people you like, or you might like to know better, follow up with them. Forward occasional links to articles that they may like and ask to meet for coffee. The more people who know you and like you, the better your chances to land a referral.

More: Why You Need A Social Media Makeover

Demonstrate your expertise via social media. There's no better way to demonstrate what you know to people who don't already know you than via social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Pick your favorite network and share a steady stream of news and information about your field. Be a useful resource for people in your industry. Comment on articles, offer your own insights about key topics and start online conversations with influential people in your field. You may be surprised to find that someone you never met in person will refer you for a job because he is impressed with you online.

Volunteer for opportunities. Be known as someone who is always willing to pitch in. If you are employed, step up to take on challenging projects where you'll have a chance to showcase what you know. If you're between positions, look for places to offer your help. Ideally, you'll land volunteer gigs where you can use your work skills, but if you have a hard time landing the perfect volunteer job, find an organization whose mission you support and find ways to pitch in. You'll grow your network and your potential for job referrals simply by doing what you say you will!

Make seeking opportunities for referrals a priority and you are much more likely to land a job sooner than later.

The Simple Joys of Networking

Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now

More From Keppie Careers

Looking for a job? Click here to get started.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:
Bob Prosen

Landing a job in today’s economy requires you to think and act differently. If you’re wed to the traditional way of job-hunting you’re destined to compete with everyone else chasing the same few opportunities.

The most effective way to get the job you want is to think like an employer. Sounds simple but many people don’t appreciate the importance or know how to do it.

Before beginning your search you have to understand why all companies hire. It’s to solve problems and your challenge is to position yourself as the solution. In other words, hiring you allows the company to solve problems faster, better and cheaper than they could without you. Here’s how to start.

Step 1 - Identify your skills and expertise.

Step 2 - Find the companies you want to work for and research them to uncover their problems. Use the Internet, Google alerts, read press releases and speak with current and former employees.

Your ability to uncover your target employers’ problems and position yourself as the solution is what will get you hired.
Here are just a few potential problem areas. Completing projects on time and on budget, improve product quality, improve customer service, increase sales, reduce costs, enhance online marketing, etc.

Step 3 – Identify the hiring manager.

Step 4 – Create a personal marketing plan to get your solutions in the hands of the hiring manager.

Step 5 – Develop a “One-Sheet” resume, to separate you from the crowd, along with a set of compelling cover letters that show your experience solving similar problems.

Step 6 – Follow up is essential to getting an interview. Be persistent but not a pest.

As a former executive with several Fortune companies I know how leaders think. People who have followed this process have gotten hired.

Good luck and never give up!

Bob Prosen –
The Prosen Center for Business Advancement

P.S. And yes, this works for recent college grads as well.
P.S.S. Market yourself to the companies you want to work for whether or not they have an opening.

February 04 2013 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hana Katzir

yOU RECOMEND- Demonstrate your expertise via social media. There's no better way to demonstrate what you know to people who don't already know you than via social media tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.

February 03 2013 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Picks From the Web