This is a guest post by Malinda Coler, CEO and Founder of LessonsUp, who helps underrepresented people generate higher income. If you are interested in contributing to our blog with a unique story to share let us know.
We’ve all heard that networking is the number one way to land a job - but how and where to start? I’m excited to share a few proven tips for effectively driving your job search by leveraging the power of networking. Ready? Let's go!
Key Ingredients of an Effective Job Search
No one should job search alone. Whether you opt into a formal job search boot camp, join a virtual or in-person job club, or simply connect with a few people in your life who are also on the search, having a dedicated group to keep you motivated and accountable during your journey can be a key to success. Participants in the LessonsUp Job Search Boot Camp say that meeting once a week with their cohort gave them the confidence to power through. Boot Camper alum Carrie specifically said: “I loved the elevator pitches, repeating it every week made me way more confident in answering the 'tell me about yourself' questions because I felt really confident in doing so! Getting laid off is a huge hit to your confidence, but repeating my pitch out loud was almost like an affirmation that I had the experience and was a valuable candidate.”
Follow a strong job search process built on insider knowledge of how hiring works at top companies. For example, instead of focusing on getting a job, lay out the milestones for your job search and focus on one milestone at a time. You are never trying to get a job, you are always trying to move to the next stage in the process.
A Simple Process May Look Like:
- Calls: Schedule networking calls that lead to warm referrals for jobs
- Referrals: Land warm referrals for job opportunities
- Phone Screens: Ace initial phone screens to move on in the hiring process
- Hiring Manager Interviews: Stand out from other candidates during your first interview with the hiring manager
- Panel Interviews: Prepare for and ace your interviews with all members of the interview team
- Offers: Build relationships along the way to negotiate the best offer
When it comes to results, networking is the number one job search tactic. When asked, 53% of people who recently landed a job said they got it through networking.
Top 5 Advanced Networking Tactics:
- Networking Blurb: Craft a blurb about yourself and post it in communities so that people in your industry reach out to you to schedule calls. We recommend posting your networking blurb 5 times a week in various Slack communities, Facebook groups, and other spaces relevant to your industry.
- Reach Out to Leaders: When you send a well-crafted email to C-level or other leaders at companies, they will often forward it to the talent team. When this happens, your resume goes to the top of the review pile. One of the biggest challenges for job seekers is that only 25% of resumes get reviewed by hiring managers.
- Reach Out to Employees: Remember that everyone who has a job is incentivized to refer you to open roles at their company. Hiring Managers and HR constantly ask their current employees to refer people to open roles. When you give someone the opportunity to refer you to a role, you are helping them impress leaders at their company. Sometimes companies even give people a monetary bonus when they refer candidates, so don’t be shy about reaching out to people at your dream company to schedule a networking call and get a warm referral.
- Reach Out to Recruiters: Recruiters are actively trying to fill their candidate pipeline, and do a lot of cold outreach to get candidates in the door. This means they are open to cold outreach from you, and may even be able to recommend the best roles for you at their organization. Recruiters (and others) who have the “Hiring” halo on their LinkedIn profile are a great place to start.
- Reply to People Who Post Jobs: Leaders and employees are posting thousands of jobs a week in their favorite professional spaces like Slack, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Reach out to them when they post to make sure that your resume gets reviewed.
Note: These tactics return results when you craft compelling verbiage that fits the culture of the spaces where your industry spends the most time. We have proven templates for each type of outreach, and recommend keeping your messages short and casual to begin.
I hope these tips have helped you create some clarity around how networking can help you level up your job search. If you are interested in learning more about how you can master the art of networking, interviewing, and negotiating, check out our 10 week Job Search Boot Camp.
A Powerful Success Story
Tash, a single mom in Brooklyn, was laid off from her Marketing Liaison job at NYC Hospitals during the pandemic. She was unemployed and actively job searching for a year. Tash had stellar achievements and work experience, but was under titled, underpaid, and underselling herself. Not uncommon for women, and especially women of color.
Good news: Tash pivoted to tech and landed a contract role at TripAdvisor 10 weeks after joining LessonsUp. How did she do it? Tash met with her Job Search Boot Camp cohort every week for 10 weeks to master the art of networking, interviewing, and negotiating.
- Weeks 1-3, Foundations: Tash revised her career story using proven tactics for resume, LinkedIn and networking blurb. She went through exercises to identify her big achievements and most valuable skills, and how to word them to compete in the talent market.
- Weeks 4-7, Networking: Tash used 5 advanced networking tactics every week to land networking calls and build relationships with key industry contacts. She also practiced interviewing with her cohort, and most importantly, practiced her elevator pitch out loud every week with someone new in her cohort.
- Week 8-10: Interviewing: Tash honed her interviewing skills, leveraging insider knowledge of the interview process at top companies. For example, the first interview in every process is typically a phone screen, and almost every company asks you the same 5 questions.
Tash’s About Statement on LinkedIn - after revising it with her cohort
"I create designs and marketing campaigns that win hearts and get results. For every campaign - down to the most nuanced artistic decisions for graphics, colors, and outreach strategy - I put my target audience first. I get to know them, and I create for them. I recently led a campaign for NYC Health+Hospitals to increase flu shots among children in low income areas. I developed illustrations and copy customized for children and their families, and employed various outreach tactics - digital, mailings, and on-site branding. Result: 30% increase in flu shots in the first 3 months."
Malinda Coler is the founder of LessonsUp, a career accelerator to help underrepresented people generate higher income. Questions? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.