By JAMES SWANWICK
DID you know that only ten percent of people find a job by applying directly to an employer?
By that, I mean sending in a resume and hoping for the best.
But a full 50 percent of people find their job through a personal connection or referral.
So wouldn’t it make sense to increase and improve your personal connections?
Use your personal connections
Twenty years ago, I wanted to learn how to become a journalist.
Ask any working journalist today how they got their job, and I promise you half of them will say it was through a personal connection or a personal introduction.
So how do all of us use our personal connections to get a job? Well, for starters, ask your friends if they know anyone who works in the field you want to get into. If it’s in journalism, great. If it’s in accounting, no problem. If it’s entrepreneurship, find an entrepreneur. Then connect with that person and offer to buy them a cup of coffee. Ask their advice.
Let me stick with journalism as an example. If you’re an aspiring journalist, ask who the editor is at the newspaper, radio or TV station you want to work at. Then contact that person. Make that person your friend. Then, when the time comes for the media organization to hire, they know you. Your chances of getting a job this way can literally multiply by 500 percent.
Most job seekers will spend hours or days writing a nice resume, sending it off to countless media organizations with a nicely-worded cover letter asking to be considered for a position. But the truth is that countless studies have shown that more than 50 percent of jobs are filled through referrals.
Employers fast-track job candidates who are recommended by current employees
In the networking book, Never Eat Alone, author Keith Ferrazzi, says: “Personal contacts are the keys to opening doors. Often the most important people in our networks are acquaintances. Weak ties are more important than those you consider strong. Acquaintances represent a source of social power and the more acquaintances you have the more power you have.”
Again, using journalism as an example, post on your facebook page: “Hey, I’m looking for a job in journalism. Anyone work in journalism or know any journalists?”
Do the same on LinkedIn and twitter. See who comes back to you. Maybe someone will refer you to a friend they know who just happens to work at the New York Times or CNN or ESPN or Vogue. That’s all you need. That’s your in.
Then you contact that person, saying that your friend suggested you contact them. They are more likely to take you seriously then and are almost obligated to speak to you.
Offer to buy them a cup of coffee to ask their advice. Ask them if they’re hiring in their organization. Offer them story ideas. Become that person’s friend. As Ferrazzi says, “people do business with people they know and like.”
People do business with people they know and like
So, start to get interested in the people who do the hiring in the jobs you’re going after.
Find out what his / her interests are, so when you do get to talk to them about a job, you can chat to their about their interests. Be genuinely interested in these people, and be likable.
Now, I want to hear from YOU!
Let me ask you ONE question:
1. When have you used a personal connection to get a job?
Leave a comment in the comment box below and I’ll respond.
Author, Insider Journalism Secrets