You’ve probably figured out by now that seeking work through job boards can give you mixed results. I’ve heard some experts claim that for every job opening on a job board, an average of 300 people are submitting resumes to that same job.
To make matters even more frustrating, the longer you wait to reply, the less chance you have of getting considered.
In a conversation I had with a local business owner, he said that he gets totally overwhelmed with resumes within just an hour after posting a job. The chances of your hitting “submit” on a random online job opening within the first hour are negligible.
Why not just talk to people?!
At the end of the day, it’s people who make the hiring decisions. Sure, these people have to follow HR processes, and these processes may get in their way.
In many cases, hiring managers welcome actual conversations with actual human beings (rather than lifeless resumes), especially if the candidate is interesting, talented, and qualified.
So, don’t wait for jobs to get published. By engaging directly with hiring managers, regardless of whether their company has posted jobs, you not only grow your network, but also earn the right to flag your résumé for special treatment later when a job pops up.
LinkedIn Groups Connections
Think of groups as a virtual version of an industry conference. If you’re a member of a large and active industry group, you’ve got a great platform for engagement.
Here are some Group guidelines:
- Begin your involvement with a Group by commenting constructively on a discussion topic.
- Pay attention to Group members. Don’t be shy to click on the profiles of people who contribute. They might turn out to be new connections for you, for info interviews or maybe more.
Display the names and logos of your industry / professional Group memberships on your LinkedIn Profile.
Also check out the job search groups which are for LinkedIn members engaged in job search.
Successful LinkedIn inMails
LinkedIn has reported over 185 million users. Unless you are looking for work in an under-represented industry, a decision-maker has a profile there.
But before you go gung-ho and start inMailing them, consider these guidelines:
- A hiring manager is not going to reply to someone who has only a half-hearted profile.Be sure you’ve got a complete and professional profile before engaging. Believe me, they check!
- People with jobs are busy. That means messages that are irrelevant to their immediate problems won’t get much attention.Do some research and find a way to be relevant.
- No one likes talking to someone who’s desperate. InMails, tweets, or Facebook messages that show desperation are promptly deleted – for example, “I really want to work there, can you help?”
- No one likes talking to someone arrogant. The opposite of desperate is cocky.How on earth can you know whether you are a “perfect match” for a job if you haven’t even spoken to the hiring manager?
Currently, you need a LinkedIn “premium” account to send inMails, although you don’t need one to receive them. (More information about premium accounts.)
Engaging on Twitter
Twitter is the ultimate level playing field. Here you can tweet with authors, CEOs, customer service reps, or celebrities.
Don’t expect engagement until you earn it. Just like a big networking event, you can’t just barge in and ask random people for favors.
Here are some ways to put a deposit into someone’s social bank account:
- Using Twitter, retweet messages from companies you want to work for, or from people you’d like to add to your close network.
- Find articles and tweet them with an @reply to alert that twitter user that you’ve shared something with them in mind.
- Interrupt conversations with twitter users and add your own voice or opinion.
- Join tweetchats related to your field and pay close attention to active twitter accounts. After the chat, compliment them on their ideas.
After a while, you earn the right to Direct Message (DM) them, and you can ask for an offline conversation.
Engaging on Facebook
Many organizations use Facebook Pages to promote their brands to potential candidates. Not only do they post open jobs there, but these pages are often maintained by various members of their recruiting organization.
Before Liking or commenting on these pages, be sure to follow the following guidelines:
- Post a personal yet professional profile picture. It doesn’t have to be the same as your buttoned-up LinkedIn picture – no one expects that – but it should be of you in a fun and presentable pose. (And remember your Timeline Banner too!)
- Visit your “About Me” page and fill it in with as much detail as you can about your education and work history. Be sure these elements are set to Public.
- Begin by Liking the page of your target company.
- Next you can slowly introduce yourself to the community by commenting on posts and sharing posts.
- If the page will allow it, post interesting comments on their Timeline that highlight your qualifications.
Of course, don’t forget that as you are looking at the company’s Facebook pages, they will probably be looking at your Facebook pages, too…
Social media connections are not a quick fix, but neither are job boards, as you have probably noticed. And social media enable you to develop a stronger network that can help you with your career as well as your next job search.