In every job search, writing a resume should be the second most important step. The first one is to build a connection and gather information about what skills employers are seeking. As a job seeker, you should also learn which skills should be prioritised and which ones can be the nice have. Gaining such information could help you stay out of the crowd as you have what your targeted organisation needs.
Although the information of skills could be gained from the job ad description, it might not be enough to get you in the loop of recruiters and stand as an excellent job seeker. You should go beyond just finding information on the internet and build a professional connection with recruiters directly by networking and conducting informational interviews.
Networking and informational interview
Networking is an organised way to make links from the people you know to the people they know. It is a process of linking contacts together to form a ‘net’ of personal contacts who can provide support and information.
Informational interview is a process of talking to people who may or may not work in the fields of your interest. These people might know about something you don’t know and might help you connect with someone who provides a job of your interest. Remember that an informational interview is not about asking people for a job, but advice. Through friends, acquaintances and advice-givers, you can reach out to a wider scope of professional circles that you would like to interview. In other words, it works like a chain where one person can put you in contact with several others.
Who should you talk to?
There is no limitation to whom you should talk to. It could be your brother’s hairstylist or your neighbour who may know someone you should talk to. But in general, getting in touch with people whose job involves a lot of contact with other people can be particularly helpful. If you know any teachers, social workers, religious leaders or community leaders, you can try to approach them and share your skills and job search goals.
Start networking by making a list of people you know and decide which ones to contact first. This will help you stay organised in your networking strategy.
How should you contact them?
The best way is to talk to the people you meet in your daily routines, such as someone you know from a coffee shop or family gathering. Get to know them, then share with them about your job search. You can also call or arrange to meet people you have met before. Depending on how confident you feel and how much time you have, you may arrange to be introduced to the people you are referred to, or you can call them yourself.
What should you say when contacting people?
When you are talking to people you know personally, you can tell them about your job search and describe the types of work you are looking for. You can also tell them about your training and related experiences. Then, ask if they know any suitable employment opportunities and ask them to refer you to someone else who might know about those opportunities.
If you are calling by phone or starting a conversation with people you have never met, it will be wiser to make it as brief and to the point as possible. Here is the best approach you can try:
Explain who referred you
Share your intention of calling them
Ask for a short meeting or, if appropriate, you may ask questions directly during the call
What if you should contact employers directly? If it is the employer himself that you want to connect with, there are general basics steps you should follow:
Identify potential employers
Choose appropriate ways to contact them (best at their convenient)
Identify the specific person you should contact
And follow up