Job searching doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to do it the right way. Unfortunately, most people’s job search strategy involves looking at online job postings and submitting their resumes, only to hear nothing back.
When I talk with people in the midst of a job search who are frustrated by the lack of results, one question I always ask is, “Are you currently networking?” You would be surprised at how many times I hear,”Nope.” The thing is, most people know how important networking is but they still hate it and don’t want to do it. But, it doesn’t have to be hard and awkward. Networking can actually be fun and exciting.
THE VERY BEST job search strategy is to surround yourself with the people already doing the work you want to do. The more time you spend with them, the more opportunities will come your way. Do this, and you will find that your job search gets easier and more fun.
Here are three job search strategies to find the people you need to surround yourself with:
1) Network Within LinkedIn Groups
If you have your LinkedIn profile up but aren’t networking on LinkedIn, you are missing out! Try joining LinkedIn groups for your career or industry and search for people in your location with the job titles that you want to have. If you are in the same group as them, you can send them a message inside of LinkedIn even though you aren’t personally connected.
Important: Don’t ever connect with someone you don’t know. This could backfire on you because they could notify LinkedIn that your message was SPAM. But, it’s perfectly fine to send a message to someone that you don’t know instead.
One powerful reason for joining a lot of groups is that you can message people directly even if you are not a first-level connection without spending money on an Inmail. To do this, go to members page, highlight the person by hovering your mouse over his or her name. Then, you will see on the right-hand side two-hyperlinked choices – Invite to Connect and Send Message. It’s really that easy! If you join 50 groups with 1,000 prospects each, that’s 50,000 more people you can message! Try using messages to ask for informational interviews with people in jobs you find fun and exciting.
Action step: Join a group you are interested in and message one person in that group to ask for an informational interview.
2) Ask for What You Want
Many times we are afraid to ask for what we want, but people can’t help you if you don’t ask! They don’t know what you need or how they could even help you. So this step is plain and simple – just ask! Try asking your social media connections for help. Inform people what you are doing and what you are looking for. Talk to people. Tell them what you need. Anyone and everyone. Don’t be embarrassed, just do it!
When I started asking for help in my job search, I realized that everyone truly wanted to help me! I thought I was just being annoying, but people were very happy to help. I think you will find the same thing.
Action step: If you can be public about your job search, post a Facebook or LinkedIn status update informing your connections you are on the job hunt and looking to make connections with people in your desired industry. Then, watch the responses and connections flow in! If you have to perform a secret job search, send out a personal email to a friend, former colleague, or family member asking for the same exact thing.
3) Host a Party
Instead of going to a networking event hoping to find the right people, why not host your own job searching party! Invite people who are in the career you want to come to a cocktail or dinner party and get to know them. These people you invite will benefit by expanding their contacts and networking with other interesting people that can be of value to them. The key is to do your research and only invite 6-8 of the people that you think would make an excellent and fun dinner party.
At the end of the party, make sure you give a little presentation about who you are and what you could do for their companies. The emphasis here is on how you can HELP them. Also, ask each of them to connect you with one other person that they know and invite them to your next cocktail party.
Do this monthly and you will quickly expand your network of awesome people that you want to be like. Don’t be scared…just do it. Especially you introverts…you have control over this one! (I know this because I am one too!:) Introverts are often scared to go to a networking event in fear that they won’t know anyone. This option is great because you are in total control. You know exactly who will be there and you can practice exactly what you will say beforehand. Easy!
OK, I know what you are going to say. This is job search strategy is an expensive option. Wrong! I have hosted a cocktail party for 15 people and only spent $60. All you need is a free room and then purchase some appetizers and wine at a grocery store yourself. I found that people always ate less than I expected as well.
You can also ask people to just pay for their own dinners because to have met a good group to network with is totally worth it to them. I asked 8 people to a lunch one time and they all came and paid for themselves. I just told them ahead of time that was the deal so everyone was prepared with their credit card. Just try it. You never know until you try! Just remember that every dime you spend is going to be worth it in the end.
Sometimes it is also a mindset block. Make sure you change your mindset from, “This is going to be hard and expensive!” to “This is going to be a blast!”
Action step: Start planning a party! Make a list of the people you would invite, find a venue, and start sending out invitations by email.
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