Want to know the best way to land a job? Experts maintain that targeted networking is the key — a technique proven time and again to be the most predictable and fastest route to a new position. And this approach is particularly effective if you are a job-seeker of maturity.
Older applicants face a number of potential roadblocks due to that one pervasive and persistent bias: ageism. But a nod of approval from a trusted colleague, employee or friend will go a long way to counteract any negative stereotypes based upon your age. Therefore, the older you are, the more you need to reach out and connect with people in your chosen field.
The technique of informational interviewing has been around for years. It has, however, all too frequently been misused — leaving interviewees with the impression that their time has been wasted. (Not a particularly good outcome if you were hoping for a recommendation.) So, if you want your networking efforts to be successful, you will need to get things right.
In this and subsequent articles, we will cover the ways to ensure that you conduct informational interviews that will:
- Make a powerful first-impression
- Build solid and influential connections in your chosen line of work
- Demonstrate why you are the consummate candidate: skilled, enthusiastic, confident, poised and professional
The following are the first three ways to begin the process:
Step 1: Start by targeting your search; make a list of 10 companies where you would like to work
- Research the various organizations and determine how your career path might fit within their overall structure and goals.
- Identify how your skills, knowledge and experience would best serve this employer.
- Determine their profitability, financial outlook, growth potential and future hiring needs.
- Research recent developments in the field and consider how these trends might impact your selected target companies.
- Identify any additional factors you should know.
Step 2: Begin the process of networking your way into your target companies
- Write up a list of personal and professional contacts — begin with your friends and then move on to your business contacts. Don’t forget to include professionals who work with the public (e.g., accountants, lawyers, sales people, hair stylists, etc.). They can often be great sources of leads.
- Contact them and let them know of the companies you are targeting. (You don’t want to overwhelm them with 10, so cherry-pick 3 or 4 of the most appropriate for each contact.)
- Ask them if they know anyone who works at one of these firms or even if they know someone who might know of an employee who works there.
- If they provide you with a referral(s), ask if you can contact these people and use their name.
Check back on Friday for the second part of this 2-part article. It will provide the details you need to approach your contacts in a way that will immediately engage their interest. If you are in a job search or know someone who is, you won’t want to miss it!