Long ago when my dad entered the job market, things were tough. The country was in the midst of a depression and there weren’t many jobs available. It didn’t take long before he realized he needed to tap into family, friends and trusted professionals, in order to get his foot in the door and gain employment. He needed to network to stand out amongst the masses.
As time passed and I grew older, I soon found myself looking for employment as well. It was time for me to begin supporting myself and I needed to see what was available in the marketplace. So I ran to the corner gas station, picked up a copy of the local newspaper, circled a few jobs and sent my resume to 10 or 20 companies through snail mail. Since I had never met the recipients of my resumes, I did my best to highlight my work history and achievements in a concise single page, hoping to catch their attention.
Years went by and soon my kids needed a job. They searched the big job boards. Within minutes, they could copy and paste their resumes into the online submission portal, sometimes with only a simple change to the subject line. Off it went and within minutes they got an automated response from the HR department, thanking them for their patience as all the applicants were screened. It was a cold and impersonal way for them to get their personal information out there, but it was quick and efficient for them and the HR people.
Come into the present and we find we’ve come full circle. As in the days of my dad’s job search, jobs are few, times are tough, and we find that one of the best ways to land a job may be through a “connection.” So I thought we’d put together a few ideas that might help you with your own job search. Things that may help you get “connected.”
Know your target company. Research them, friend them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter. I know this sounds weird, but if you get to meet this special person (HR rep or company rep), you might want to treat it like a first date. Listen intently, show an interest, bring your best attributes to the table and, most importantly, know something about them so you can talk about them too. Make a connection.
Set up a LinkedIn page and make sure it’s up to date. This way you’re linked or can become connected. Plus, once set up, recruiters can find you too. (Yes, we search LinkedIn to stay on top of our industries and follow talent. We also use it to research you. And you can research us too!) Use LinkedIn for networking purposes, joining groups and organizations, and positioning yourself as an expert on a certain topic. Answer group questions and participate in discussions. Again, get connected.
And, if possible, set up a website for yourself. Include samples of your work, creative pieces and writing, as it pertains to your profession. When you write or talk with a recruiter, include your link. It’s another way to be connected. Remember, HR people and recruiters are digital creatures too. We’re out there sharing your social space, looking for a few good people.