Looking for a job? As Lindy Kyzer points out in her article “What Job Recruiters Want:…” one of the important things every job seeker must do is their homework. Fortunately, doing your homework gets easier every year. So much information is published online.
While Lindy correctly points out that candidates should prepare for an interview with thoughtful questions, here’s another idea that will set you above the rest of the crowd and give you some insights you can’t find anywhere else: form relationships with people from the company you’re interested in.
Granted, forming relationships is not something that you can do overnight. It takes time. So if you’re in a hurry, you might want to leave this strategy for the job AFTER the job. I’d recommend this technique for someone who is employed and exploring / expanding their career path.
One way you can start working on relationships is through professional online networking tools like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great place to find people to connect with, post your online resume and generally talk about things that are important to you. But did you know that companies have LinkedIn profiles too?
By using LinkedIn’s Company search feature, you can look up a company that you’re interested in. Once you find the company you’re looking for, you can usually find a list of employees who work for that company. Scan the list for people you might share similar interests with.
You may find people you already know are somehow connected with the company you’re interested in. Check the College Alumni tab, for example. You may know someone who also went to the same university you went to. Similarities make for great conversation starters.
Follow the company you’re interested in. Make some connections, then create value! Blog posts you write will show up on your connection’s status feed updates – especially if you share them. Show people who you are and what you’re made of. Send the people you’re interested in getting to know better email with helpful articles – maybe something you wrote or maybe something you found.
Making connections ahead of time does a few things:
- It gives you information about what’s going on inside the company you’re interested in. Ask your connections “How do you like working there?,” “What’s the culture like?,” “What does someone need to do to get promoted there?” Keep it casual, of course – and don’t ask in the context of asking for a job. Just be friendly.
- It gives you someone else to see once you go for your interview. Telling a recruiter that you’d like to go visit a friend or two downstairs after the interview is just cool. They might ask you: “You have friends here?” Uh yeah… that’s powerful.
- It makes transition easier. Knowing people inside the company help you to get quickly established once you have the job and gives you someone to go have lunch with. After all, finding someone to go to lunch with is important.
Happy networking! If you get the job, please come back here and let us know how this tip helped!
Yes! thanks for going deeper into this topic. It is interesting that many people in general don’t do their homework but with the technology at hand many folks can do just that. LinkedIn is great, so is GovLoop, and for me Twitter presents some fascinating information as well. I think many don’t think they have the time to do the research when in actuality investing the time upfront makes everything easier and faster down the road as you pointed out.
On GovLoop’s Facebook I asked what quick tips our followers had for job seekers, and got these responses:
Jennifer Bledsoe Patience…….
Michael M. Moran
Thanks, Kathleen. With your background, you should know! I know you do this stuff on a daily basis.
Allison, thanks for sharing what the Facebook folks had to say. 🙂
Great post, David. And might I add another use of LinkedIn for networking – link with people from companies that compete with your company of interest. As a job seeker, you are in enviable position of being able to innocently network and collect data in a way that those at the companies of interest can’t. As a fact-finder in search of an informational interview (to eventually land the real interview), your chosen company will be all ears. Of course, you wouldn’t disclose any highly proprietary information, but the people with whom you meet shouldn’t be giving that away anyway. It’s just a little insurance…for if you determine that the grass really wasn’t greener on that side of the fence when it’s all said and done.