Over the last four years, I regularly hear people tell me something like: “I’ve been searching online postings and going to networking groups for months, but ended up finding the right job through…
…a referral from an 85 year old woman at my church one Sunday morning.
…the stay-at-home mom next door that knew someone.
…an old co-worker I hadn’t talked to in 15 years but ran into at the supermarket.
…a previous boss that called me out of the blue.
…a recruiter that found my information on LinkedIn.
…a company I blindly called into, not knowing if they had an open position or not.
…a conversation I had with someone I met at a coffee shop.
…an email I got back from someone I had sent a monthly update to about my job search.
…an introduction I sent someone based on an article I read about their company.
…a referral of a referral of a referral!
…and on, and on, and on"
There is no single best source of leads. The obvious ones (job boards, online and newspaper ads), are generally the least fruitful because nearly every other job seeker out there is checking out and pursuing those same ones.
The reality and the challenge for the job seeker, is that you need to consistently pursue dozens of avenues, all the time!
Don’t neglect any contact, lead, or idea you hear of. Use your time wisely, however, the best opportunity often comes from the least likely sources. Often the name you’re given that sounds like a dead-end lead (the 85 year old grandmother), may be the one that has the best contact, specific job lead, or idea for you.
Will that always be the case? Of course not! However, don’t miss out on an opportunity by not chasing down every lead and contact you hear of. That means putting in enough time each day and managing your time effectively is key to being able to make each of those connections.
If your days are primarily characterized by searching and responding to ads online, you are spending most of your time on the same resources as the vast majority of other job seekers out there. To effectively find and connect to someone that is not getting overwhelmed by candidates, you must go where others don’t.
Make personal connections to people whether they have a job opening or not. Getting to opportunities before anything is posted is critical in beating the crowds.
Don’t neglect the obvious avenues. You still need to check and follow up on job postings. You still need to attend networking groups. You still need to search out contacts through LinkedIn and connect to potential hiring managers and recruiters. However, don’t dismiss the stay-at-home mom next door when she says… “You ought to talk to my cousin Frank who works at XYZ Company. He’s not in your field, but his company seems to be doing well!” You have no idea… cousin Frank may know of a particular job, have a better networking contact for you, or know of resources that may be worthwhile for you.
Effective networking is building relationships, one at a time, building a chain of referrals from one person, to the next, to the next, and to the next until you end up talking to the one that has the right lead for you!
Does pursuing all contacts and leads make your job harder than just searching for jobs online? Absolutely! Is it likely to help you find a job faster? YES!
You never know where your best job leads will come from. Check everything out and you may be surprised!
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