Network Your Way Into Your Next Start-up Job | Fusion - WeRIndia

Network Your Way Into Your Next Start-up Job

Network Your Way Into Your Next Start-up Job

Networking is about relationships. Networking is about creating new relationships based on existing ones.

Based on the relationships you have already established, you might ask someone to recommend a person to help you with your car, your lawn or anything else.

Chances are you’ve heard the phrase, “I’ve got someone for you …” That’s networking, and to some extent we all do it, all the time.

The first inclination of almost every job seeker is to look online for a job and submit a resume.

It might be directly at a company’s site, through Indeed or another job board, or through LinkedIn. Some people are lucky, and that’s all it takes. But most aren’t, because the odds are always stacked against the job seeker who only uses this channel to get his or her resume in front of a hiring authority.

When you just keep submitting resumes online without success for a period, frustration begins to dominate your psyche. At this point you might throw up your hands and think: “I’ve done what I’m supposed to to get a job. I don’t know what else to do. Maybe I need a recruiter to get a job for me.”

It’s true, of course, that as a result of the work done by recruiters people get jobs. But they look at it differently. They are tasked to find talented people for employers.

So, while they want to make sure that one of their referrals gets the job, they typically don’t care which one, and they are far more concerned about the employer’s interests than the job seeker’s. Recruiters work for the company that hires, and never for the job hunter who seeks employment.

So, if you can’t count on the job boards and recruiters, to whom should you turn? You need to look inward to yourself, and outward to your network of family, friends, business contacts, fellow college alumni and everyone else with whom you might be connected. All these people are your network.

There’s no doubt that some people are closer to you than others. Some who are in your network you might never have even met, or had contact with for decades. Your network is people you know in life, but also others with whom you are connected online through sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. But still, they are all a part of your network.

You might think that networking is about going to people to ask for help in getting a job. Wrong. That’s begging and showing desperation. And if that is how you are going about things, stop!

Figure out what you’re searching for

Before embarking, plan. Think about the industry, company size, role, salary, culture and other priorities. Write down the things that matter most to you.

Decide in advance whether to cast a wide net or to go laser-focused on one role. Most experts will tell you that focusing is a more effective approach, but be careful about closing doors too early.

Networking has gone virtual

By far, the largest business network today is on LinkedIn. You connect with someone, and then you have a relationship to all the people they know – your second-degree connections, and to all the people your second-degree connections are connected to – your third-degree connections.

You might have hundreds of thousands or millions of people in your LinkedIn network depending on the people with whom you connect.

LinkedIn tells you not to connect with anyone you don’t know, but in reality, doing so is commonplace. Why connect with someone you don’t know? Because it enlarges your ability to reach out to people to build those real relationships.

It may give you a way to talk with people to find out who works at one of your target employers, or even identify an employer as a target to begin with.


Network everywhere

Try to contact people in your LinkedIn network with whom you have loose connections to make them real. Find out about what life is like in their company, the issues their company faces and so forth.

When they’ve given you enough information to let you really understand the situation, only then ask if they have an employee referral program and if forwarding your resume might be helpful to them.

And, when you meet new people at networking events and parties, make sure to follow up and invite them to link online. That way you’ll be able to learn more about them by reading their profiles, and understand how best you can help each other.

Remember that the vast majority of jobs are obtained through networking, but that networking is about building your relationships and not asking for help right off the bat.

Show that you’re prepared. In job interviews, mention who you’ve spoken with and the specific things they said about the company (especially the positive things). Candidates who do their homework have a huge leg up, so don’t be afraid to play up your effort and your intimate knowledge of the company.

Showcase a giver mindset in your interviews. Rather than just touting your credentials, ask “What’s your biggest problem? I want to solve it.”


Ask the right questions

At the meeting, after a few minutes of chit-chat, tell your friend what you’re looking for and why. Then ask questions. Ask about their experience in a particular role, company, or industry, openings at their firm or others they know of, general career advice, or all of the above.

Some of my best meetings were ones where the person didn’t suggest a single job, but gave me insights and asked deep questions about my longer-term career outlook. Before the meeting ends, do three things:

First, ask if your contact can offer you the names of two or three other people they think you would benefit from contacting. Second, save a few minutes to ask how you can help them. Giving is not a one-way street. Third, when the bill comes, pick up the tab.


Stay thankful and organized

Write an email (or even better, rediscover the lost art of a hand-written letter) thanking your friend and mentioning the specific job ideas or introductions she offered, and keep her posted as your process continues.

Update the spreadsheet at the end of every day, otherwise you’ll lose track of the opportunities.

Photo by Anton on Unsplash (Free for commercial use)

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