networking is a conversationWhen you are looking for work you should keep in mind that networking still beats online applications. A personal reference is typically more successful than a piece of paper, so you want to network, network, network, while applying to online those jobs.  In my blog post on informational interviews, I described one type of networking that you can try. Keep this in mind while reading the post below:

Keep picking up the phone

Working as a recruiter, I was often asked and still am today, if I can help a friend or family member find a job. I get referrals all the time. While I might not be able to help each of these people find the job they are looking for, I can still help them by referring them to someone I know. As a job applicant, this can get frustrating if this happens to you several times. Just be patient with the process and keep picking up the phone no matter what. The time you invest in networking will pay you back ten fold. The relationships you develop can lead to not only job opportunities, but new side projects, friendships and more.

Each call presents an opportunity

Think of each referral as an opportunity to see into the world of that person’s corporate culture. Each conversation is a way of getting closer to the right position for you. You may find yourself speaking to people from all walks of life and really need to treat each person like a gold mine. An accountant may have had lunch with her friend in the engineering department and guess what? That engineer has a friend in ABC Company on the other side of town. Everyone knows someone and if you don’t ask who or what they know, you will miss opportunities and stay stuck in what I call “the online black hole.”

Types of questions you might ask if the person is in the same profession you are:

  • Do you know if your company is currently hiring?  If so, who might I contact to inquire?
  • Can you be a personal reference for me?
  • Have you heard of anyone else that is looking for XYZ positions now?
  • What is the process to get hired at your current company?
  • Have you ever worked with a recruiter? If so, can I get that person’s contact information?

If the person is not in the same profession as you, try these:

  • Do you know who might be in charge of the XYZ department at your company?
  • Would you be willing to reach out to the ABC department and inquire if you can refer me to a current or future opportunity?
  • How does your company usually hire people? Do they do it through a recruitment firm, the HR office, situational interviews…?
  • Who do you know in the HR department that I might be able to speak with?

Always start with your friends, family and neighbors, and they will help you branch out from there. What types of questions or techniques have you used before when networking?