Networking isn’t a fad despite the popularity of the term. It’s a real thing with real results. In fact, it’s become an unwritten expectation of many recruiters that you attend any events they host and talk to employees inside the company. And by the way, HR will rather look at the 15 resumes sent over by employees than at the online submissions, which can be in the hundreds if not the thousands. For HR, a referral is more valuable because it saves them time and its coming from someone from inside their company whom they trust.
So how do you get your resume forwarded to HR or a hiring manager? First of all, you shouldn’t go in asking for a recommendation. Your goal is to make a positive impression and develop a relationship. You make a positive impression by looking sharp, being on time, accommodating your contact in every way and asking quality questions. Try to get to know the person and ask them questions relating to their experience, making them feel important goes a long way in getting them to help you.
So what’s the first step, how do you get your coffee date with this person? It’s simpler than you think. There are a number of avenues including LinkedIn, alumni databases at school and company websites. Follow these steps to LinkedIn networking:
1.) Go on LinkedIn and search for alumni working in companies or fields you’re interested in. So, if you wanted to get into a KPMG, for example, you’d type in: University of Toronto KPMG. On the left side, after running your search, you’ll see some advanced search options, use Company to select KPMG only and then under School select your school, that should narrow the results further.
2.) Invite the person to connect. Now, you can go a few routes here, one is guessing the persons work email or using the invitation to type in a polite note asking them to meet for coffee or simply waiting for them to add you and then sending them a message. Personally, we’ve had more success guessing emails, especially when looking for a faster response.
I see that you’re an accomplished U of T alumni, I’m a current student (or alumni) my self. I’m very interested in your line of work and I was wondering if I could please ask you a few questions some time? I’d appreciate the opportunity to chat.
Thanks in advance for your time,
3.) Once they reply, thank them for their reply and be as flexible as possible. If they wanted to chat over the phone at whatever time do that and if they invite you to go for coffee then go.
Image source: Coletivo Mambembe
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