If you are on the job hunt, wading through online job postings is probably a familiar past time. And a time consuming one.
Because of the massive amounts of applicants and the few jobs actually available, the best way to successfully get an interview is to get a referral from someone already in your dream company. Today, you have to put much more work into a job search to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Some days, I bet you’re left thinking that this is just too much. Maybe you’ve even contemplated giving up.
Wait! Don’t quit just yet. I want to tell you about a job search strategy I used that can help you find your next dream job.
At the beginning of 2011, I was preparing to graduate from business school and trying to figure out the next step in my career. I made a New Year’s resolution to knock down my barriers to networking and meet the people that would help me reach my goals and dreams. This was not easy. You see, I am an introvert and I need to be
pushed shoved to get out and network. I am guilty of all the negative thoughts and excuses for not networking such as:
- I am too busy.
- I don’t know anyone.
- I am exhausted after work.
- My next great opportunity will come to me.
- I hate that awkward introduction and I never know what to say to people I don’t know.
In January 2011, I embarked on a 4X4 networking challenge where every month I would met with four people I already knew but would like to get to know even better. I also made a point of meeting with four new people. My goal was to learn from each person I talked to and ask questions about how I get to the next step in my career. At the end of 2011, I will have added 48 new people to my network and strengthened relationships with 48 friends, co-workers and family members.
I have successfully completed my challenge for six months have had had the following amazing results:
- An interview: One of the most exciting outcomes of my challenge was that I got an interview at a top consulting firm that I was trying to get into for months. I was referred to an employee working at the company and she coached me through the hiring process and even gave me secret tips for the interview!
- Confidence and clear direction: In the beginning, I had to write out all the questions I wanted to ask. I rehearsed my elevator speech five times before each call. I am now more confident when speaking to people I don’t know and am immediately ready to go when they call. By talking with others in different fields about my future goals and dreams, my career path has become crystal clear and I now know exactly the steps I need to take.
- Referrals: I was shocked by the number of people who wanted to help me along my networking journey. Everyone I spoke to wanted to introduce me to someone else and most months I connected with even more than the eight people I reached out to. Just five minutes into one of my meetings, my contact told me she would refer me to her company because of how proactive I was in requesting and preparing for the informational interview. Talk about a great first impression!
So the next time you are preparing to apply for your next job online, take a minute and go through your network to see if anyone you know has contacts at the company or industry of your dreams. Reach out to your network on your social media accounts or send emails to people you know in the community or alumni from your college. Challenge yourself to knock down your networking barriers and reach for your goals and dreams.
Anna, perhaps better known as Classy Career Girl, provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder. Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking and office etiquette.