How To Help Your Connections Help You During Your Job Search

How To Help Your Connections Help You During Your Job Search

You may have have heard that networking is one of the keys to job search success. Yet some people are hesitant to use their network of contacts for fear, among other reasons, that the connection will be bothered by any request for help. This is where having a strategy that makes it easier for your connections to introduce you to others can bring more success.

Why bother to network?

It is much tougher to find a job if you exclude networking from your arsenal of job search tools.  In a 2016 study, Silkroad, an HR software company, found that employee referrals were 30% of all hires, and a US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Yale University study reports that a whopping 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Networking provides access to jobs that might not be posted on job boards as well as provides you an “in” at a company.

Six degrees of separation

We live in a social society so each of us knows a network of people. We often rely on this network to help us find quality daycare, a good plumber or a new restaurant to try out. In the same way, your connections can also help you find a new job. Often this can be a simple introduction to someone else. The “six degrees of separation” concept is that all humans are only six steps or fewer connected to each other. You want your network to be able to connect you with others so that they can help you with your job search.

Introduction effectiveness

To make the introduction process easier for your connections you should do two things.

  1. Find your ultimate target and work backwards

  2. Provide a script for an introduction

By doing these two things, you will find that the quality of your connections increase and the length of your job search decrease.

Find your ultimate target and work backwards

First, you need to determine the companies where you might want to work and people that might be able to assist you in your job search. Be very clear and focused on this, as you want to use the time of your connections most effectively. You do not want to burn your bridges with a connection by asking too many times for introductions that cannot help you with your goal. You can get names by doing an internet search of a company including reading press about a particular company. You can also see who is part of a professional organization in your field. When you find the names of individuals that you would like to cultivate a relationship with, look into their social media presence. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, among others, may provide you information about these individuals in their biography sections. Note hometowns, schools attended and previous employers. This is where you start finding where your connections might help you by providing an introduction. LinkedIn lets you know if a person is a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connection. Here is more information about the differences.

Provide a script for an introduction

This is where being intentional helps your connection to help you. What you want to do is provide the information that your connection needs to reach out to the individual that might be of help. Essentially, you will write the introduction for him or her. All s/he will need to do is forward it on via email. This way you do not have to worry that your connection will leave out any information that you feel is important.

First, let your connection know what you need and why. Briefly, let your connection know that you want to be introduced to X as this person works or worked at a certain company.  Tell your connection that you are on a job search and are interested in learning more about that company. It can also be useful to send your resume to your connection. Your connection may be asked for your resume by your targeted individual. It also allows your connection to forward it onto others that may be interested in it.

Secondly, write the introduction email that you want your connection to send to your target. You should have the following elements:

  • An introduction of who you are. This would be your name and one or two biographical sentences. This could be something like: “Hello. My name is Shelley Piedmont, and I am a job search coach.”

  • Information about why you want to make the connection. “I asked X to connect us, because in my research, I see that we are in the same industry. I am interested in learning about how you became a job search coach.” Variations on this could be “I see you work at X company and have an interest in knowing more about the work you do and the company” or “I see you are doing X and am interested in exploring this as the next step in my career.”

  • Suggest a time to connect. This can be through texting, phone, Skype or in person. Provide options for dates and times.

  • Don't forget to include all the ways that you can be contacted. This would include your email address and telephone number. Also add your LinkedIn profile, Twitter handle, Instagram information or personal website or other appropriate internet information.

You only have a limited amount of time. So do your connections. Try to make the process of making introductions easier for all. You can do this by not making your connections craft an email to introduce you to their connections but instead by writing it yourself.

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