Employee referrals have been part of the hiring process for years. But according to the experts, employee recommendations have become the key that unlocks the door. For instance, employees at Ernst & Young have been responsible for 45 percent of non-entry-level placements in 2013, up from 28 percent in 2010. Clearly, in the job hunt, it is not about what you know, but who you know.
How to acquire this key? How to have tons of friends who are holding important positions at top companies? The answer is networking. Check out our top networking tips to guarantee a position at a top company.
Attend networking events
How are you supposed to gain contacts if you are closeted at home? Prepare an awesome business card, suit up and rock the networking events! Go to any job fairs, career events, gatherings, anywhere you can meet industry professionals that might give you a job.
However, don’t be that annoying person that everyone avoids. Introduce yourself and engage them with dialog. Make it all about them, not about you. Then, master the art of the business card exchange. Don’t shove yours in their face, but ask permission to have their card.
Note that in such social events, top industry professionals would meet plenty of job-hungry individuals like you. They would receive uncountable business cards and at the end of the day, they wouldn’t care which card belongs to whom. So how to stand out in this situation? Get a cool, state-of-the-art business card design that will attract anyone’s attention. A cool business card can also serve as the basis of conversation, and trust us, your business card would be the only business card he keeps (and talk about!) at the end of the day.
Pro tip: consider getting yourself a mobile resume too, which is the coolest way to present your resume at networking events.
These days, whether you’re working or looking for a job, you can’t afford not to use LinkedIn. It’s the single most important professional networking site on the Internet. Once you’ve created your LinkedIn profile to promote your “personal brand” and set up your network, use that network to find connections at your target employers. Then, email them to learn more about their companies and, when appropriate, ask for referrals.
You can also use LinkedIn to build goodwill, which could ultimately inspire your contacts to recommend you for openings where they work. Share articles, routinely participate in LinkedIn’s group discussions and send congratulatory notes to others in your network. This way, you’ll be on the radar of LinkedIn members whose firms are hiring.
Besides LinkedIn, you can also utilize other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Keep your profile current, use appropriate photos and participate in discussions. Note that networking is something you do all the time, not just when you need something, and part of building rapport with your network is to feed it with information. Share interesting articles to show your contacts that you are keeping up with the latest industry trends.
Cultivate the relationship
In effective networking, face-to-face interactions and social networks work hand in hand. After the networking event, follow up on social media either the same day or the next day when the event is still fresh in their minds. When appropriate, request a time to meet to learn more about them, their business, and how you can help one another. Connect them to someone that may be in need of their services. Subscribe to Google alerts or their newsletters and congratulate them on their successes, new ventures, or even their recent quote in the paper. And, if necessary, set your calendar up to remind you to contact your professional connections.
By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll stay at the top of minds of the industry professionals. Therefore, they will know who to contact when there is a new opening at their company!