How many times have you heard, “Jobs come from connections, not just cold applications.” So for those of us who don’t have huge networks, who are introverts, or who are just interested in positions that are outside of people we know, this saying almost instantly knocks us out of the running.
But here’s a little known secret – jobs can actually come from anywhere.
Knowing someone at a company, or networking your way into a company, will definitely put you ahead of the crowd, but it’s not the only way to “get your foot in the door.” When I tell clients this, they usually respond with skepticism: why is your advice so different than the other talking heads?
Here’s why: I have gotten just about every job, through cold applications. Yep, you heard me right – I found a job that was interesting, submitting my resume, and was hired. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t network the heck out of the recruiter; I simply applied.
Sometimes your reputation and/or resume speak for itself.
There is a reason that there are accreditation’s for resume writers. It’s an art form. And having a resume that clearly shows your body of work and what you bring to the table, can trump a network connection.
The recruiter/hiring manager is looking for something. Just because a person they know handed them a resume, doesn’t mean that you are going to be that something. Instead, focus on how well your resume materials reflect not only your unique selling features, but also what they are looking for.
For the love of Nancy, if I have one more person tell me that they applied to 10 jobs and never heard back from them but didn’t follow-up, I’m going to start pulling my hair out. Remember, the first person to screen your resume is usually a computer. But a human is the ultimate gatekeeper.
When you follow-up, you can actually level the playing field of a personal connection. You are introducing yourself, after the fact – and ensuring that your resume and experience is the level to compare everything else to.
You have a built-in reason to “network.” You want the job, so tell the person who can help you get the job.
If they haven’t hired someone yet, then that person isn’t within their network currently.
This is something we all usually take for granted. If the recruiter/hiring manager actually knew someone for the role, the position wouldn’t be available (minus the mandatory listing period). That means that they need new connections and applications, to fill their need.
Get that? You don’t have to know someone for a posted position – they want to know you because they clearly don’t already.
When you do “know someone,” you often hear about positions before others. Perhaps your connection was in a meeting where a different department was talking about a future need for a role; or the budget was expanded for headcount. These are positions that aren’t yet posted or public, but can turn into real opportunities.
This is when it’s best to know someone. Before there is a position. Once it’s posted, it’s free game and the rules above apply. But beforehand, your network is a great job connector.
Knowing that, it’s time to start expanding your network to position yourself for a “pocket position” in the future. Maybe not for your current job search, but in case you’re ready to look for something new further down the road.
Cultivate these connections and relationships like you would a new friend. Get to know them, build a friendship, so when they do hear of something in the future before it’s listed, your name will be at the top of the list.