“I’m an Electrical Engineer, I go to a job networking meeting and ask for contacts at one of my target companies, and someone gives me the name and contact information for an Accountant! What good is that???”
“I already know someone at ‘XYZ Company’, I don’t need anymore contacts there.”
Leading job networking groups and teaching job search classes, I get the same kinds of questions or comments all the time.
What good does a company contact do you if it’s not the hiring manager for the kind of job you want? And, why should you pursue multiple contacts at a company you are targeting? Because the more information you gain, and the more allies you develop, the better your chances of gaining an interview and a job!
When networking for contacts in your job search, any contact can be a great asset to you. Also, pursuing multiple contacts in the organization can boost your exposure when you need it. There is a great deal of value to those introductions and names. They can each be sources of company information, help in navigating the organization, guides to help you get to the best person, and resources in helping you assess the company’s fit for you.
If you are an “Electrical Engineer”, and connect with an “Accountant” at the company you are pursuing, you can ask any of those kinds of questions. Be concise, be professional, be upbeat, and be humble. Ask them things like:
“I realize you’re not involved with the type of role I’m pursuing at ‘XYZ Company’, however, I’m hoping you might be able to point me to the best person to talk to about the ‘Electrical Engineer’ position.”
“Knowing the company as you do, however, pursuing an opportunity like I am and hoping not to get lost in the sea of other applicants going through the normal HR process, how would you recommend I get noticed or find the right person to talk to for that position?”
“As I pursue opportunities in the organization, I’m hoping you can help me get a better understanding of the corporate culture and what priorities are for the company.”
“I have an interview scheduled in the next few days, and I’m hoping you may be able to help me be better prepared. I hope to go beyond what most others would do. Is there any general advice could you provide that would help me excel?”
”Could I ask for your consideration in sharing my resume with someone in the functional area I’m pursuing?”
“Even though I have connected with the ‘Engineering Manager’, I’m hoping to gain more knowledge and understanding of the organization from others as well. Could I ask you a few questions?”
Those questions and others can provide you a great deal of insight and help from any contact within the organization… and sometimes your best information comes from the least likely sources.
In today’s job market, you generally find that most people are willing to help in some way. If you ask in a professional and unassuming way, you will often get the guidance you seek.
Don’t regard any contact as not ‘valuable’ to you, and don’t get discouraged with some ‘dry wells’. Follow up with every contact you receive and your progress will accelerate.
Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.