You know you need to network to be successful in your job search. You’ve had informative informational interviews. You’ve identified contacts in your target companies and in your field of interest. You have even joined a couple professional associations in your field. Congratulations. You are off to a great start but you still haven’t seen the full power of your network.
Imagine this. You check the job postings each week at your target companies and finally this week when you look, Company A has a job posted which is your ideal job. What do you do?
Prepare Your Resume and Cover Letter. Review your resume in context of the job description. Make any needed final changes and proofread carefully. Have someone proof it as well just to be sure you have no errors. Develop a customized cover letter addressing how you meet the specific requirements of the job. Do not summarize your resume. Instead “connect the dots” for the hiring manager by showing them how your experience would add value to their company in this role.
Apply Online. While this does not do much to ensure your success, it is often a requirement by the company. Many hiring managers are not allowed to speak with candidates who are not officially in the system. Follow directions carefully and apply with your resume and customized cover letter attached.
Leverage Your Network. Once you have applied online, reach out to your contact at Company A. Tell them you saw the perfect job posted and that you have applied online. Ask if they would do you a huge favor and share your resume and cover letter with the hiring manager. Send your resume and cover letter to be forwarded to the hiring manager.
What’s a Hiring Manager to Do? The hiring manager receives hundreds of online applications and doesn’t even know where to start. If trusted colleagues within the organization share a few resumes and cover letters, those are most likely the first ones the manager will review. If they see a possible fit, they start the interview process with those candidates. Going to the mountain of resumes is often a last resort. You want to be sure you are in the short pile and that is what a networking connection can do for you.
Increase Your Likelihood of Success. You have to get an interview to have a chance of receiving the offer. To get to the interview stage, someone has to see your resume and believe there is a fit. Your networking connection can significantly increase the odds of getting your resume seen by the hiring manager. Sometimes you get lucky and your connections give you a heads up that a position will be posting. Networking makes a difference.