Bringing yourself to the attention of hiring managers, who have the ability to hire you, is a very good way to connect with a job. With social media and the Internet, we have excellent sources of information and methods to connect with those hiring managers when we approach the project methodically.
5 Ways to Connect with Hiring Managers
Ideally, an employee (not on the HR staff) hands the hiring manager – or her boss – a copy of your resume. Here are 5 ways to find that Very Important Person who helps you make that connection to the right job for you.
1. Networking Through Your High School, College, University, Graduate School, and / or Technical Training Provider
Regardless of how long ago you attended the school, most colleges and universities have alumni associations, often with career services and other alumni support.
Look for fellow alums who are working in your target profession, industry, and/or for your target employers. A quick way to find them is through LinkedIn. Simply search on the school name or the technical training name, like a certification, in LinkedIn to find other alums. Also search through Facebook, and check out LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups for your schools.
2. Networking Through Former Colleagues and Other Former Employees of Current and / or Former Employers
Another excellent source, particularly if you have worked for a large employer, are “corporate alumni” groups. These are networks, often with directories, meetings, and websites, of people who have worked for the same employer at some point in their career. They don’t all know each other, but they do have the common experience of working in the same large organizatio
Find these former colleagues through social media and in face-to-face meetings like professional/industry association gatherings or corporate alumni reunions. Like school alums, there is a common ground for discussion and connection among people who worked for the same employer, even years apart.
Sometimes these groups are sponsored by the employer, and even include current employees, because they can be an excellent source of “boomerang” hires.
Again, search through LinkedIn and Facebook to find these organizations.
3. Networking Through Professional or Industry Associations
These can be gold mines for both professional growth and networking! Many associations have (no surprise) LinkedIn Groups where information is shared, events are promoted, and jobs are even posted.
Attend local events – bold job seekers who are experts on some relevant topic may speak at an event. Less bold job seekers can join the program committee to help plan programs, meet other committee members, and grow their network.
Many, if not most, professional associations have job boards connected to their websites. Usually, these job boards are free for both members and non-members to use, and the jobs posted there may not be widely posted elsewhere.
4. Networking Through Informational Interviews
This is often a misunderstood and badly used method, but it is so successful when done correctly, as originally described by Dick Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? Like an industry or professional association, information interviews can be an opportunity to learn and to network at the same time.
Informational interviewing can also help a job seeker avoid a mistake – like working in the wrong job or for the wrong employer. Remember, this is research, not a job interview. Do not hand over a resume during an informational interview
I have spoken to several job seekers who practiced Dick’s classic approach to great success. They learned a great deal and made connections that ended up helping them land a job.
- Approach “workers” and hiring managers.
- Prepare a list of questions for the interview, like: How did you get into this field? What do you like most about this job?
- Limit the interview to 20 minutes or less.
If the person being interviewed asks for a resume, offer to email or send it later. Also consider asking about connecting via LinkedIn. Read How to Do Successful Informational Interviews for more details.
5. Networking Through Other Local Groups
See the earlier post, Better Than a Job Board: Local Networking Groups, for additional sources, like MeetUp.com and more. Attend more than one meeting, and introduce yourself to other meeting attendees. Help other members, and become known as a reliable source of good information.
A fast and painless way to meet other members, particularly if you consider yourself shy or introverted, is to become a volunteer, helping the group. My favorite job is checking people in for meetings. In that job, I get to meet everyone and welcome them to the meeting as I hand them their name tags which makes it much easier to talk with them during the meeting.
Networking is the most effective way to land a job. Job boards have millions of job postings available today, but the best way to use them is for research – what jobs are growing in demand, who is hiring what, where.
More About Successful Networking
About the author…
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 2011, Susan has been editor and publisher of WorkCoachCafe. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan also edits and publishes Job-Hunt.org and is a columnist on HuffingtonPost and LinkedIn. Follow Susan on Twitter (@jobhuntorg) and on Google+.