No matter how strong, clear, and professional your polished resume may be, you'll still need to support your job search with an effective cover letter. And on top of that, you'll need to back up these all-important documents with a networking strategy that helps your potential employers attach a face and personality to your written credentials. Here are a few networking and follow-up tips that can bring your profile to life.
1. Ransack your contacts list.
Reach out boldly and directly to anyone who can give you an in with your target employers. And don't just limit your scope to close friends. Find second- and third-degree contacts as well, including former employees of the company who can be found among your personal and professional connections.
2. Ask for advice, not favors.
As you reach out to these network contacts, keep your messages (both voicemail and email) short and purposeful. Don't just ask for help and leads—ask for advice. What does it take to find success in this business, and what specifically will you need to do to win over this hiring manager and land a position with this company? Let the person know that you respect their expertise and consider them a valued source of information. At the same time, if you need a recommendation, state this clearly and let the person know what you'd like them to say about you and to whom.
3. Follow up with strategy and style.
The first rule of following up is simple, but not always familiar to job seekers: know the difference between recruiters and actual employers. With employers, keep your follow-up messages polite and respectful, but also regular and relentless until you receive the answers and information you need.
With recruiters, ease up. Recruiters are hired and paid by their employer clients, not by job seekers, so relentlessly tracking them down and leaving dozens of repetitive voicemails won't improve your prospects and will only annoy and alienate a potential job-search ally. If they have something to tell you, they'll call you. Meanwhile, be patient and resilient.
4. Help yourself by helping others.
When you're targeting a potential contact who might be able to help you land the job of your dreams, stop and think before you reach out. Before you walk over to the person at a party, or cold call them on the phone, or send them a friendly email, ask yourself the following questions: what does this person want? What problems do they have that need to be solved? What kinds of issues, challenges, and goals do they face on a daily basis? And what can you offer this person that might make his or her life a little easier?
Think hard. The more you focus your approach on the other person instead of yourself, the greater your chances of success.
Start with a Strong Resume & Build from There
A great networking strategy can help you seal the deal, but in order to launch your plans, you'll need to start with a complete and polished resume. Expect your phone call or pleasant conversation to end with a statement like "send me your resume and we'll talk." And when that happens, you'll want to be ready. Visit LiveCareer for resume tips and techniques that can create a solid foundation for your search.