One of the fastest ways to get a new job is to get referred by someone you know. Approach your first degree connections, meaning the people that you know personally and let them know that you are on a job search. That you’re looking for a job with criteria ABCD. To heighten your chances, go a step further and not only contact your first-degree connections but especially try to connect to your second-degree connections.
Whether you’ve just graduated from university, are in between jobs or in the middle of a career change, looking for a job can be a process that seems to take forever and has the potential to wear you out.
Perhaps you’ve already sent out so many applications but haven’t heard back and you’re starting to get frustrated.
You might be thinking: Isn’t there another way to get to a job faster?
One way that many people often oversee in their process of job hunting is to make use of their connections and network.
Some people and that might include you, may feel kind of hesitant and reluctant to go to their contacts and networks and ask for job opportunities.
Perhaps it feels slimy to you, and it just doesn’t feel right to ask. But I want to let you know that asking your acquaintances for job opportunities is adequate, as long as you do it the right way.
In any case, I used to miss out on a lot of opportunities because of my hesitancy to do this. At the time when I was about to graduate from University in Germany, I was looking for an internship or a summer job.
My goal was to get a job at a specific company. And I did what most people would do.
I put together an application package consisting of a cover letter, resume work reference letters and so on, and sent it to the company.
I did hear back and managed to get a part-time job for about several weeks up to two months during the summer. And because I did a good job, after graduation I continued to work there for a while.
To get this series of jobs at this company, I went through the standard, normal route.
All the while, I was living in the basement apartment, of which the landlord lady was the mother-in-law of one of the founders of the company I worked at.
When she found out that I worked at the company she was surprised that I didn’t tell her, although I knew that her son-in-law was one of the company’s founders.
If I had told her, she would have introduced me to him and I could have had a chance to meet him.
It wouldn’t have necessarily meant that he would then offer me a job on the spot – I mean I would still have to submit my resume and I would have to qualify for the position – but it’s possible that I would’ve gotten the job much faster and would also have gotten valuable information about the range of opportunities that existed for students like me.
But at that time, I simply didn’t think of making use of my connections. I was someone who was used to following the standard process and didn’t open my eyes to the opportunities that existed in front of me.
Right now your job hunting process might including looking on monster.com or inddeed.com and other sites. You’re likely going through the normal application process of applying: submitting your cover letter or your resume and waiting and hoping that someone contacts you.
And in many cases, it works well, and even fast for some people. But many people never even hear back from the company, because in the first place no one ever took notice of their application.
Over the years, my view of this has changed. Now I believe that you would be missing out on a lot if you do not make use of your connections and your networks.
And the reason is this. You might think that all the jobs are neatly listed out there online and that it is accessible by everyone.
But unfortunately, that is not the case.
You might have heard that there is something like the open general job market and then there is something called the hidden job market.
That means that there are positions out there in companies that are not listed openly. Of course, most of the positions will be listed online because the company themselves have an interest to put themselves out there so that they can get the best candidate to apply.
But putting up all of those job advertisements is a process in itself and sometimes it takes the company a while until they get everything up.
In the meantime, there is a position that needs to be filled in the company and it might only be known internally to the people who are working there, or even within a specific department.
This means that by talking to your connections and your network you might be able to get very valuable information about available positions, faster.
If you find out about a matching position for which you qualify, and your connection is willing to recommend you, then chances are very high that your application will get considered.
The thing is that HR managers and hiring managers get so many applications daily, and it’s quite some work to sort through all those applications.
By applying for a job through your connection, chances are that your application package will go right to the top of the stack of applications that are going to get reviewed.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will get the job for sure. You still need to qualify for it and you will still need to be interviewed for the position.
But at least you have a leg up compared to other candidates.
One of my initial personal hesitations of going through my connections to get a job or a business opportunity was that I thought that I would be a bit unfair or cutting corners by going through my connections.
But now my view has changed. I would now say that using your connections to get to a job or a business opportunity is no problem as long as you are actually skilled, qualified, and the best person for that job.
The only way that it could be a problem or unfair is that if you get a job for which you are not qualified or don’t have the skills at all, and you only got that job because of your connections and your relationship and nothing else.
That would be a problem because sooner or later it will show in your work. People will find out that the only reason that you got the job is because of that relationship, and it will reflect badly on your connection too.
But if you are actually qualified for the job then I don’t think that you should have any concerns about it.
In the end, you are not the only one who will be benefiting from this but also the company and the person hiring you.
Hiring is a very difficult process.
I experienced it myself when I was leading a team and I was hiring people.
I found it really difficult to sort through all the applications and find a suitable candidate.
Hiring managers are looking for a myriad of things when hiring new employees. These include skills, experiences, and capabilities.
But one important thing that people often forget is the trust factor.
The hiring manager needs to be able to trust you. They have to know that you are reliable, that you are going to show up, and that you are a person that is easy to work with. Especially if you have to collaborate a lot with other people and work in a team
The problem is that is not something that can easily be found out from a job application or even an interview.
In an interview certainly, a candidate can say that yeah I’m a team player I am good at collaboration, I’m easy to work with.
But who knows? Who knows how this person really is?
If you get recommended by someone, then you definitely have a leg up. Getting recommended by someone means that you kind of get a stamp of approval from the person referring you.
If this connection has known you for a long time and they’ve worked with you, they know that you are reliable, that you are skilled, that you are easy to work with, it will be a reassurance for the hiring manager.
To heighten your chances, go a step further and not only contact your first-degree connections but also try to connect to your second-degree connections.
Approach your first degree connections, meaning the people that you know personally and let them know that you are on a job search. That you’re looking for a job with criteria ABCD.
The next time they meet their colleagues or acquaintances and hear about a job that they think might be suitable for you, they will have yo in mind already and relay that information to you or even connect you via an email introduction.