It’s not unusual that I hear a job seeker say something like…
“Thanks for the name, but I already have a contact at that company.”
As often as not, the company they are referring to is a very large organization with thousands of employees.
While their contact may be a good one, it’s foolish to rely on only one… or five contacts at a large company to be your door into the organization.
Even at small companies, it’s generally a good idea to build relationships with multiple people to ensure you’re someone that comes to mind when an appropriate opportunity arises. At large companies, it’s imperative that you connect and make yourself known with as many contacts as you can. Whether your contacts are in the area of the company you’re pursuing or not is not as important as having a number of people that know you and are willing to let you know or refer you to appropriate positions.
As an example, someone that was pursuing a position at a Fortune 50 company in my area, made a point of meeting as many people as he could. Within a few weeks, he had arranged to meet over coffee with 24 people. Some were in his functional area, and many were not.
In the process, he learned a great deal about the company, their business challenges, the culture, and the important “hot buttons” that would be valuable in an interview.
When a position came up that was in his area of expertise, 4 of those people recommended him to the hiring manager. The person got a call from the hiring manager stating that he had a position open, and although he didn’t know if they would fit or not, he thought they better meet because 4 people recommended him.
He got the interview, was able to put the information he learned to use, and got the job!
Had he only met with one or two people it’s not likely he would have been referred for the position. He wouldn’t have had as much credibility with the hiring manager if only one person had referred him rather than four. And he wouldn’t have been as knowledgeable in the interview had he not learned as much as he did from all those meetings.
Never be satisfied with one contact when 2 or 20 would serve your job search more effectively!
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