Once you have compiled your list of target organizations where you think you would like to work, you are ready to focus your networking efforts to find and connect with contacts inside each target organization. There are a number of important steps in this process, including:
Reach Out to People You Know
Make a list of everyone you already know who works inside your target companies or may know someone who does. As job search strategist Hannah Morgan points out (How to Find Contacts at the Companies You Want to Work), your best contacts are the ones that you have some connection with, such as former colleagues, friends, family or neighbors. Since you have a direct relationship with these contacts, they are more likely to be willing to help you.
Reach out to each person on your list and ask them who they know who works in the target companies you have listed. Follow up with every name and request a short informational meeting or phone call to learn more about the company. According to recruiter and career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine (How To Find A Contact At Your Dream Company: Six Ways To Get Insider Information), your ideal contacts include the decision makers for the role you want – the hiring manager, that manager’s boss, the HR contact and any other people who will weigh in on the final hiring decision. However, no matter what position the person has, he/she may be able to provide helpful information or insight into your target company. It’s always best to have multiple contacts inside a company working on your behalf as allies or sources of information.
Use LinkedIn to Broaden Your Contact List
- Research and follow your target companies to find recruiters, hiring managers and other potential contacts on LinkedIn.
- Invite target company contacts to connect. Look for the strongest/best connections, such as someone you know or is in the department/area where you want to work.
- Get introduced to 2nd-degree connections. If you don’t have any 1st-degree connections to target company contacts, you probably have 2nd-degree connections, such as people who know the people you’d like to connect with. You can choose someone who has a similar title to the job you are looking for or reach out to someone who can connect you to a hiring manager or recruiter in your target organization.
- Check Groups and Education. Sharing groups with others in your target companies and departments provides another opportunity to interact with potential contacts. Visit the groups and look for active conversations your target contacts may be participating in. Filter your search to include your alma mater and connect with those who work in your target company and you already have a connection.
See Leveraging LinkedIn Could Open the Door to Your Next Job on the Tri-Valley Career Center blog to learn more about how LinkedIn can support your job search.
Use Social Networks
Find and follow people across social media platforms you use. When searching for company contacts to follow on each platform, you may want to add relevant job titles or departments of interest to you in your search criteria to pare down the results. Before you start following every profile, review each one to determine why you want to follow them and what you expect to learn from them.
- Twitter If you have a Twitter account, use the search bar at the top to search for contacts you are interested in connecting with. Find “Who to Follow” recommendations for users with connections to your industry. Follow job search experts to keep your feed constantly updated with new advice and inspiration. You can also search Twitter bio information by using FollowerWonk.
- Facebook Expand your network of connections on Facebook, including friends from high school and college, friends who you might not interact with on a regular basis and friends of friends. Let your connections know that you are interested in exploring opportunities at various companies (your target list) and ask if anyone has contacts within those companies. You never know who might have connections at your target companies.
See Make the Most of Social Media to Boost your Job Search and Career on the Tri-Valley Career Center blog for additional information and ideas on how to use social media to boost your job search.
Not all contacts inside your list of target companies will necessarily respond to your request for an informational meeting or phone call, but if you stick with the process, you will get results. Hiring managers will often meet with people even if they don’t have any current openings because good managers are always scouting for quality candidates to fill their future needs. Remember, you won’t know who may respond to your requests unless you ask. Persistence and focus may well be the keys to landing the right job in a company you want to work for.