At this point in your job search, you've likely created an employer target list with 10-20 companies that you would love to work for.
A great way to increase your chances of getting a job interview at a dream company is to have a contact who works there. So today, you will use a variety of techniques to find connections at your target companies, and reach out to them.
How Contacts Can Help Your Job Search
Having a contact at a company (whether a current or former employee) is a great way to get your foot in the door. A contact will be able to help your candidacy for employment in a variety of ways. Contacts can alert you to job opportunities that might not be listed online.
They can also personally mention you to a hiring manager, or (depending how well they know you and your work) write a personal recommendation for you. Even simply mentioning your connection at the company in your cover letter can help move you along in the hiring process.
How to Find Contacts
Here are some techniques for finding contacts at your target companies.
- Follow your target companies on their LinkedIn Company Pages. The page will list all of your LinkedIn connections at each company. It will also list your second-degree connections (people who are connected to your connections), which might help you find other acquaintances.
- Search Facebook Groups by each company name. Some companies have Facebook Groups for current and former employees. Look at these lists, and see if you have any Facebook friends in these groups.
- Use Twellow to search for Twitter contacts by industry or by specific company.
- If you are a college student or graduate, contact your career services office or alumni office. These offices typically have databases of alumni and/or parents who are willing to help with career networking. Search the database by industry or company name to find potential contacts.
How to Reach Out to Your Contacts
Reach out to your contacts at each dream company, expressing your interest in the company and asking if they can help.
Here are some sample letters asking for help from network contacts.
Networking is not a one-way street. If you ask for a LinkedIn recommendation, be sure to offer to write one for the other person. If your connections need advice or referrals in the future, return the favor.
A career network only works when you are willing to give help and advice as well as receive it.