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Getting A Job Without a Connection

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Getting a Job Without a Connection

Q: How can I get my dream job without knowing someone who works at the company?  It's what I need right now! I've been trying to search for Human Resources people on Google to contact them directly, but other ideas would be helpful!  A friend told me that she has never gotten a job without knowing someone at the company, or getting a recommendation from someone who knows someone else. Also, the two people who were recently hired at my old job had connections. What advice can Careerzimg offer?

 

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Photo: Mary Zager

 

Benton Says...

If someone wants to go full-out to establish a network in the field, it will take a bit of work and focus.  Here are my suggestions...

Join Groups on LinkedIn:

First, and easiest, search for LinkedIn Groups that focus on your field and join them.  The groups can be in any region...but, focus on the geographic regions that you would consider working in.  Once you join, monitor the group regularly (ever day or every other day would not be too frequently).  See what topics are hot and what issues you want more information about.  Be a regular blogger on the group, ask questions, or offer opinions.  If you find that someone wants to link with comments on your comments, you can move to establish a closer connection by either connecting with them directly, or engaging in a dialogue with them on the LinkedIn group. 

Groups are used by recruiters as candidate sources. Some recruiters advertise openings on the group site.  Be a regular contributor so you can become known as someone who is interested in and committed to the field.  It also builds your on-line brand and makes you findable.

Join Professional Organizations:

Join professional organizations in your field and contact members through the organization.  Some organization sites also serve as blogging sites where they invite comments on articles and issues. Work this the same way you work the LinkedIn Group participation.

Go to Meetings:

Attend professional organization meetings and presentations.  This is a good marketing opportunity. Bring a bunch of resumes and professional business cards.  Many of the organization conventions and meetings are regional, so just because the meeting is in Orlando, it does not mean only Orlando companies attend.  Many conventions publish their company attendee list in advance.  If a company you are interested in is attending, contact the company and find out the name of the company representative organizing the event.  Let that person know you attending and that you would love to meet company representatives to find out more about their products and career opportunities.  Don't attach a resume with your first email. If the company rep. offers you an opportunity to reply to that contact directly, then attach your resume.  If it is a telephone contact, ask if you can send an advanced copy of your resume and ask the organizer if she would either give you the contact within the company to send your resume to, or if she would be ok with emailing her a copy of your resume.   When you get to the convention, market yourself like crazy and meet everyone you can. Everyone you meet is a networking opportunity. Always offer to people you meet a business card and get their business card...then follow up with a nice "thank you for the opportunity to meet".

These are the steps that I believe would best open up the job market to you and allow you to build a professional network. 

Carol Says...

I agree with everything Benton suggests. It's all about raising your profile. You are lucky in that so much of this can be done behind the computer.

You should find local networking opportunities as well. Check out the Chamber of Commerce or other organizations where local business people meet. Don't be intimidated.  I have often encountered job seekers at these meetings and they are received openly.

Sometimes the Chambers and other professional network meetings host free or low-cost workshops on professional skills such as Sales Techniques, Networking Skills, Follow Up Skills and many others. These may not relate specifically to your field, but they are good skills to pick up for any job you may get. And they may even help you make more connections.

Don't let the fact that you might have a "day" fall-back job and feel you can't attend meetings stop you. These local network groups are designed to accommodate all schedules. They have breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour gatherings. Pick the one that's best for you.

Bring that pile of personal business cards with you. Even though few people you meet will want to see your resume, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a few on hand if someone takes a deeper interest in your background or offers to make an introduction for you. You could also include your basic resume in a QR code on the back of your card that your connection can lift with his smart phone.

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